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Immigration

The UW Oshkosh Office of International Education advises exchange students on issues related to and affected by student non-immigrant status in the U.S.

It is the individual student’s responsibility to know the laws that apply to their student visa AND to follow those laws. Students are required by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to maintain “lawful status” at all times.

Your responsibilities as a student on a non-immigrant visa are to:

  • Enroll in a full course of study at the beginning of every session (excluding authorized break periods);
  • Consult with your Immigration Advisor if you feel you meet federal requirements for dropping below a full course of study;
  • Report address changes to your Immigration Advisor within 10 days of the change;
  • Report any change in sources of financial support to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Seek the approval of your Immigration Advisor/USCIS before engaging in employment or academic training;
  • Report any changes in program of study to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Report any change in academic status to your Immigration Advisor;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor prior to traveling outside the United States;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor upon applying for change of nonimmigrant status;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor upon approval of an adjustment of status to an immigrant;
  • Consult with your Immigration Advisor to extend your program;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor if you intend to transfer;
  • Notify your Immigration Advisor about changes in dependent status.
Information
Office of International Education Responsibilities

It is the Office of International Education’s responsibility to provide information on laws and regulations, to provide information on UW Oshkosh processes that help students remain “in lawful status”, and to advise students on these processes.

Advising takes place

  • Through written information on the Office of International Education web site;
  • Through written materials emailed to students prior to arrival in the U.S.;
  • Through an extensive, mandatory International Student Orientation prior to each semester;
  • Through periodic email announcements; and
  • Through individual advising, following a student’s attendance at orientation and after a student’s thorough review of written information.
Lawful Status

A student who is “in Lawful Status” is following all laws related to being in the U.S. on a student visa.

General Guidelines

To stay “in lawful status”, students with a J-1 student visa must:

  • Be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits each semester;
  • Attend the school that issued the DS-2019 you used to apply for your visa;
  • Meet all deadlines, including application deadlines and deadlines to depart the U.S.;
  • Work only when authorized;
  • Limit on-campus employment to twenty (20) hours per week when school is in session;
  • Report any change of address within 10 days.

Consequences of Being “Out of Status”

Students who do not maintain lawful status are said to be “out of status”. Consequences include:

  • being required to leave the U.S. “Out of Status” students who fail to leave the U.S. may be deported;
  • Potential denial of re-entry to the U.S.;
  • Potential inability to move from undergraduate to graduate status;
  • Potential denial of requests for practical training;
  • Potential denial of requests to change visa status;
  • Potential denial of all future visa applications.

The Office of International Education is required by federal law to report status in SEVIS.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is a web-based system that allows schools, U.S. Embassies and consulates and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to exchange information on the visa status of international students for the duration of their stay as a student in the U.S.

Your SEVIS record includes information such as:

  • Biographical details, including your name, date of birth, gender, country of birth and current citizenship;
  • The first date on which you are expected to arrive at UW Oshkosh;
  • The first date of each semester that you will attend UW Oshkosh;
  • Your current address in your home country and in the U.S.;
  • The final date on which you attend classes at UW Oshkosh
    • in relation to your graduation or transfer out of UW Oshkosh, this is EITHER the final date of the 14-week semester or, if you take an interim class, the final date of the 17-week semester
    • in relation to a withdrawal or other early departure, this is the actual date on which you attended your last class
  • Authorized enrollment at fewer than 12 credit;
  • Data which indicates that you are not "in lawful status" (you are not following U.S. visa laws), for example:
    • Unauthorized enrollment at fewer than 12 credits;
    • Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction;
  • Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extensions, changes in level of study, and employment authorizations (CPT/OPT).
Provide Up-to-date Information to the OIE
Change of Address

You must submit your new address to the OIE within 10 days of moving. You must ALSO change your address in TitanWeb.

If you change your address in TitanWeb only, the Office of International Education will NOT be notified and your SEVIS record will NOT be updated.

Use the Office of International Education "Change of Address" form to report your new address.

Update your address in TitanWeb. (Do not complete the form linked here; instead, view instructions at the BOTTOM of the linked page.)

Change of Major

If you change your major, add a second major, or add a minor you must meet with an advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Resource Center AND, per federal regulations, you must also inform the Office of International Education so that your SEVIS record can be updated.

Submit the "Change of Major" form within 10 days of changing your major, adding a second major, or adding a minor.

Course Enrollment
Minimum Course Enrollment

Students on J-1 visas must be enrolled in a minimum number of credits each semester in accordance with federal regulations.

  • 14- or 17-week Semester: students must take a minimum of 12 credits during the 14-week semester OR 12 credits during the 17-week semester;
  • Summer I and Summer II sessions: no minimum;
  • January and Spring Interim: not required, provided the student has taken 12 credits over the 14-week semester.
Less than Minimum Course Enrollment

Students on J-1 visas may request to drop below required full-time enrollment ONLY under the following two circumstances.  

  • Academic Difficulties: students who find that their language skills are not adequate, that they are challenged by the U.S. approach to teaching and learning, or that other academic challenges prevent them from being able to successfully attend classes full time may apply for a “reduced credit load” for one semester only.
  • Medical Condition: students with a medical condition, documented by a U.S. healthcare provider, that prohibits them from attending classes full time may apply for a “reduced credit load” for one semester only.

Requests must be made to the Office of International Education and must be approved by the student's home campus.  There is no guarantee that requests can be approved, even with home campus support.  Per federal regulations, students may drop below the required full-time course load, with approval, for a maximum of one semester only.

A course load reduction is not possible under any other circumstances.

Length of Stay in the U.S.
Form I-94 and Length of Stay

When you enter and exit the U.S., border officials now record your entry and exit into an electronic system (formerly this was done on a paper form). This record is called Form I-94.

  • If you arrived in the U.S. BEFORE May 25, 2013 you received a PAPER form I-94. You should keep this in your passport; replacing this form can cost a lot of money!
  • If you arrived in the U.S. AFTER May 25, 2013, you received an "admission stamp" in your passport and an electronic form I-94. You can log in to an on-line system to see your Form I-94.

Form I-94 tells you how long you may stay in the U.S. You are required to leave the U.S. on or before the date that is either recorded on your I-94 or stamped in your passport. If these dates are not the same, you must notify the Office of International Education immediately.

It is your responsibility to review the form I-94 immediately after each entry into the U.S. to confirm accuracy.

Each time that you enter and exit the U.S., you generate a new form I-94. The most recent I-94 is also the only valid/unexpired I-94 that pertains to you.

Duration of Status
Your I-94 and/or passport should have a stamp that says "D/S" rather than a specific date. "D/S" means "Duration of Status". "Duration of Status" means that you may remain in the U.S. for as long as you are in "Lawful Status" (as long as you are meeting all of the conditions of your student visa).

Print or Find Your I-94 Number
Follow these instructions to print your I-94 card.

Visa Expiration Date
DO NOT use the U.S. Visa expiration date to determine your permitted length of stay in the U.S. Your visa gives you permission to apply to enter the U.S. at the U.S. border. If your visa expires, you may legally remain in the U.S. but, if you depart the U.S., you must apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S.

Your DS-2019 Program End Date

Students with a J-1 student visa have a Form DS-2019 which states the final date of their program at UW Oshkosh. This date is called the “Program End Date”.

A student who requests a second semester of exchange must

  • have maintained lawful status for the duration of stay in the U.S.;
  • have permission from their home campus;
  • have permission from UW Oshkosh; and
  • apply for a “Program Extension” at least 30 days before the Program End Date.

Complete the "Program Extension Request" form and submit this to the Office of International Education.

A student who is declined a Program Extension is “out of status” if s/he does not depart the U.S. within 60 days of the Program End Date.

Travel
Travel Outside the U.S.

Students with a J-1 student visa must have proper documentation with them when they travel.

Review this website BEFORE you purchase tickets to travel.

You are REQUIRED to carry the following documents when you travel:

  • Form DS-2019, SIGNED ON PAGE 1 WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF YOUR DATE OF RETURN TO THE U.S. AND SHOWING APPROVAL FOR ACADEMIC TRAINING;
  • Unexpired, original passport (generally must be valid at least six months past your planned date of return to the U.S.);
  • Unexpired U.S. visa, valid past the planned date of return to the U.S. AND with remaining allowable “entries”. In some cases, a U.S. visa may be issued for two, three, or multiple “entries” into the U.S. Once you have entered the U.S. the total number of times equal to your “entries”, you may no longer use that visa even if it is not expired. There are a few exceptions to the visa policy; and
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses.

Students with APPROVED Academic Training should also carry:

  • A copy of your internship offer letter, showing an internship offer AND an internship end date after your return date to the U.S.;
  • A copy of the letter of recommendation from your UW Oshkosh academic dean or academic advisor; and
  • A copy of the letter you wrote to the OIE requesting Academic Training.

You are RECOMMENDED to carry the following documents when you travel:

  • A copy of your electronic Form I-94;
    • Print your Form I-94 from the internet and carry this with you. If border officials cannot find you in their system when you exit the U.S., present your printed Form I-94.
  • An unofficial copy of your UW Oshkosh transcripts showing enrollment in the semester after your return to the U.S. (or showing enrollment during the current semester if traveling during a mid-semester break);
  • For students who must apply for a new visa before returning to the U.S., carry financial documentation confirming your means of support;

Getting Your Form DS-2019 Signed for Travel

  • If your DS-2019 has not been signed within the 6 month period prior to your RETURN to the U.S., drop off BOTH your DS-2019 AND a copy from TitanWeb of your course enrollment for the semester after travel in the Office of International Education.
  • An Office of International Education staff member will sign your DS-2019.
  • Return to the Office of International Education to pick up your DS-2019.
  • NOTE: you do not need an appointment to have your DS-2019 signed; your DS-2019 will be ready for pick-up within a day or two, provided OIE staff are in the office and available. Plan ahead for travel and give staff at least one week to sign!

Third-country Visas

You may also need to apply for a visa to enter countries other than the U.S. Review the U.S.-based website of the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit as far in advance as possible. Reviewing the website hosted IN THE U.S. will ensure that you have access to requirements for U.S. F-1 student visa holders who apply for a third-country visa from the U.S.
Departure from UW Oshkosh
Request a Transcript

To transfer credit from UW Oshkosh to your institution, you must request a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh transcript.  Transcript requests must be placed well in advance of the date needed to ensure adequate time for processing; transcripts will not be issued to students who have any outstanding financial obligations to the University.  To order a UW Oshkosh transcript, see

Order your UW Oshkosh Transcript

NOTE: Check the appropriate box under "Hold for Grades In Progress."  (If you check the wrong box or don't check any box at all, your transcripts could be sent to you before grades are posted.  If you're not sure which boxes to check, please ask in the Registrar's Office on the first floor of Dempsey Hall.)

Final Departure from the U.S.
Final U.S. Departure Date

In addition to the final date on which you may stay in your on- or off-campus housing, you must also plan for your departure from the U.S.

Students on a J-1 student visa whose program has ended may remain in the U.S. for a maximum of 30 days following the final date listed on the DS-2019. The final date listed will be one of the following:

  • the final day of the 14-week semester; OR
  • the final day of the 17-week semester (only allowable if you are enrolled in a course during interim); OR
  • the final day of the summer session (only allowable if you are enrolled in a course during the summer session); OR
  • the final day of Academic Training/internship (only allowable if you are approved for Academic Training).

The default end date given to students at the beginning of their stay at UW Oshkosh is normally equal to the date at the end of a 17-week semester (including interim). The OIE is required to change the end date on your DS-2019 in the following circumstances:

  • When a student is not enrolled in an interim course during the final semester at UW Oshkosh, OIE must change the end date on the DS-2019 so that it is the same as the last day of classes in the 14-week semester.
  • When a student will depart UW Oshkosh after a different term than originally indicated on the DS-2019, the OIE must change the end date on the DS-2019. See "Academic Training" for more information.
I am out of Lawful Status. What do I do?
What does "out of status" mean?

“Out of status” means that a J- visa holder has failed to follow one or more of the federal regulations that pertain to their visa.

Exit the U.S.

Generally, a J- visa holder who is “out of status” must exit the country immediately.  You may then apply for a new visa using an updated, valid DS-2019.

Reinstatement

A J- visa holder who is “out of status” may apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for “reinstatement”. If circumstances beyond the visa holder's control caused the visa holder to be “out of status”, DHS may consider these circumstances and may allow the visa holder to remain in the U.S. A  visa holder who receives approval to remain in the U.S. is then considered to once again be “maintaining lawful status”.

If the violation that caused the  visa holder to be "out of status" occurred 5 or more months prior to application for reinstatement, or if the  visa holder has worked without authorization, the DHS will not consider the request and the request will be declined.


Contact Us

Office of International Education
Dempsey Hall, Room 202
General: 
Phone: +1 (920) 424-0775
Fax: +1 (920) 424-0185

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