FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I plan to travel home and need a new F-1 entry visa stamp to reenter the U.S. What should I do?
You will need to present a newly prepared SEVIS I-20 to the visa officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate. In addition, you will be asked to document your resources, your intent to return to your home country and you may be asked for a transcript from each school you’ve attended in the U.S. If your visa application is subject to a Security Check, it could take a few months before you receive a decision. Determine if you need to prearrange an appointment at the embassy/consulate. See the International Student Services Coordinator for a new I-20 at least one month before your travel; she will need to see your passport so be sure you have it with you.
How do I change my status to F-1?
You will need to be admitted to a program of study at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and be issued a Form I-20. A change to F-1 status can be done either through reentry into the U.S. after having obtained an F-1 entry visa stamp from a US embassy/consulate or by submitting an application for a change of status to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. See an International Student Services Coordinator for further information on procedure.
I am not able to complete my program by the completion date noted in item 5 of my I-20. What should I do?
You must apply for a program extension before your I-20 expires. Do not allow your I-20 to expire without completing your program. That will result in the automatic loss of your legal status. See an International Student Services Coordinator regarding the procedure to apply for a program extension.
I have changed my degree program. Should I get a new I-20 to reflect the new degree I am pursuing?
Your I-20 should always reflect your current degree program. Please see the International Student Services Coordinator regarding the new I-20. 5. I have changed my major. Should I get a new I-20 that reflects my new major? Yes. Your I-20 should reflect your current program. See the International Student Services Coordinator regarding the new I-20.
I am not able to enroll for a full-course of study this semester. What should I do?
If you are an undergraduate, a non-degree seeking, or a first-year graduate student, please see an International Student Services Coordinator before making the decision to register for less than a full course load or withdrawing from a class which will result in less than a full course load. The International Student Services Coordinator will be able to determine if your reason for falling below full-time enrollment is valid under F-1 visa regulations. You will be asked to complete an Exception from a Full Course of Study Form and to obtain a letter from your academic adviser verifying your specific situation.
I want my spouse and/or children to join me in the U.S. What do I need to do?
You will need to request a dependent I-20 from the International Student Services Coordinator. Your dependents must apply to the US embassy/consulate for F-2 entry visa stamps.They must present the dependent I-20, evidence of financial resources, and evidence of intent to return home. They may also be asked to present a copy of your transcript and evidence of your current enrollment.
My F-2 spouse wants to take classes. Can s/he do this?
Your spouse is not able to enroll for classes as an F-2. Individuals in F-2 status can apply for admission to a program of study and file for a change in status to F-1 before the program begins. F-1 status will need to be approved by USCIS before the spouse can enroll.
My F-2 spouse wants to work to supplement our income. Can s/he do this?
No. Individuals holding F-2 status are not, under any circumstances, allowed to work in the U.S. This includes student positions on the campus.
I am an F-1 student and want to work on the campus? Is this okay?
F-1 students holding a valid University of Wisconsin-River Falls I-20 and enrolled are eligible to work on the campus. Students transferring to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls from another U.S. college or ESL program must have their transfer authorized by International Student Services Coordinator before they are eligible for employment. Employment is limited to 20 hours/week while school is in session and up to full time during semester breaks and the summer vacation period.
I am an F-1 student and I want to gain work experience outside the campus in a job related to my field of study. How can I accomplish this?
You may be able to obtain Curricular Practical Training authorization to work in a job related to your field of study. See an International Student Services Coordinator regarding eligibility requirements and the application process.
I am an F-1 student and I will be graduating soon. How can I receive permission to work in the U.S. after graduation?
If you are completing your program of study, you are eligible to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training. This application must be recommended by International Student Services Coordinator and approved by the USCIS. The employment authorization will allow you to work in a job related to your field of study. You may submit your application to International Student Services Coordinator/USCIS 120 days prior to your date of completion. See an International Student Services Coordinator regarding eligibility requirements and the application process.
I have been accepted at another university. How can I transfer my F-1 status to the new school's I-20 program?
You will need to ask an International Student Services Coordinator for a transfer release to the new school. You must be sure of the school you want to attend and you must be prepared to provide a date by which you plan to depart the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. You will be eligible for the transfer release if you have maintained legal F-1 status at UW-River Falls. The International Student Adviser at your new school will not be able to process a new I-20 for you until the transfer release has been electronically input in SEVIS. You may also effect a transfer by using the new school’s I-20 to reenter the U.S. Be prepared to show U.S. inspection evidence of your financial support.
I will complete my program of study and intend to return home. I do not wish to apply for optional practical training or continue on for a new degree. How long can I remain in the U.S. after completing my program?
If you have completed a program of study, you are allowed a 60-day grace period from the date of your completion. During the grace period you can travel within the U.S. but you cannot leave and reenter the U.S. as an F-1 student. You must permanently depart the U.S. within the 60-day grace period to avoid “visa overstay”. Please inform International Student Services Coordinator of your permanent departure and your departure date for SEVIS reporting.