Maintaining F-1 Status
To request a new I-20 or DS-2019, complete the SEVIS Update/I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form.
Change of Major, Finances, or Legal Name
Changes in major, finances, or your legal name should immediately be reported to the CIS for SEVIS update by completing the SEVIS Update/I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form.
The CIS staff will receive your request and email you within 2-3 days when your new I-20 is ready to be picked up.
Note: You should retain all I-20’s issued to you PERMANENTLY.
If the travel signature lines are filled, you will need to complete the SEVIS Update/I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form.
The CIS staff will receive your request and email you within 2-3 days when your new I-20 is ready to be picked up.
Note: You should retain all I-20’s issued to you PERMANENTLY.
When F-1 students want to transfer to another university, they must request that their SEVIS record be transferred. Students who wish to transfer must complete a formal Transfer-Out Request on Truview. Click on ‘Registration,’ then click on ‘F-1 Student Forms.” The Transfer-Out Request will appear. Only the school that holds a student’s SEVIS record can create an I-20 for that student.
F-1 and J-1 students must be registered in SEVIS each semester within 30 days of the beginning of classes. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours, and graduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours each Fall and Spring semester.
Truman defines registration as:
- Enrollment in at least 9/12 credit hours (unless authorized for fewer, see Reduced Course Load).
- Fees are paid, either in full or, if paying by installment, at least the first installment.
- No registration holds.
- Current U.S. residential address has been updated using the SEVIS Address Update*.
* The Registrar’s Office also requires that students complete an address update. This is a separate update from the SEVIS address update. International students are required to complete both.
How do I register in SEVIS?
Click here. Complete the form.
You will need your residential address in Kirksville, a phone number, and your SEVIS ID number. This number is on the first page of your I-20 above your name and begins with an “N”. For J-1 students, the number is in the top portion of the DS-2019.
IMPORTANT: If you have problems with the form, please contact the CIS at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately!
When do I have to register in SEVIS?
Immigration regulations require that all F-1 and J-1 students complete their SEVIS Address Update within 30 days of the beginning of classes. Students who fail to do this will be subject to automatic termination of their SEVIS records and required to leave the United States.
Can my friend do this for me?
No! Only you can register in SEVIS. If your friend makes a mistake with your information, your SEVIS registration will not be accepted.
What if I am unable to pay my bill by this time?
You can still register in SEVIS using the SEVIS Address Update form. For students who are unable to access their funds in time to meet university deadlines, they need to contact the office of Student Accounts in McClain Hall and the CIS.
What happens if I do not register in SEVIS before the deadline?
The CIS will make every effort to ensure that students register in SEVIS. Once classes have started, all international students will receive emails detailing the SEVIS Address Update process. As the deadline approaches, students who still have not complied can expect to receive classroom visits, calls to family members, etc. in order to prevent termination of their SEVIS record.
However, the CIS can only do so much. It is up to the student to actually complete the address update and maintain their legal status. Students must be conscious of their responsibilities.
The federal government uses the SEVIS system to regulate F and J non-immigrant visa categories. The CIS is charged with updating SEVIS records; however, certain SEVIS functions occur automatically. The CIS has no control over these automatic functions. One of these functions is termination for students who fail to register in SEVIS. SEVIS automatically terminates any student records that have not been registered 30 days after classes begin. Students with terminated SEVIS records are no longer legally allowed to be present in the United States.
The CIS’s goal is to assist all students in maintaining valid student status. The CIS will make every attempt to notify you (normally via email) if you are in danger of losing your status. All students MUST check their Truman email regularly. You are responsible for all of the information in your email inbox.
I submitted my SEVIS Address Update. Will you email me to confirm that you got it?
No. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of update forms that the CIS receives, it is not possible to email every student.
If you complete your update, but still receive an email saying that you have not yet done it, make sure that you have completed the correct form. The registrar also has a required update form that is completely separate from the SEVIS update. International students are required to do both.
If you receive an email saying that you still need to complete your update, even though you have already done that, you might need to do it one more time. If you have to update more than one time, please email the CIS to make sure that they received it.
Maintaining F-1 Legal Status
Students bear full responsibility for maintaining their F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status while in the U.S. The Center for International Students (CIS) can provide international students with guidance and resources on how to maintain status; however, the CIS is not responsible for maintaining status for the student. Students MUST regularly check their Truman email. Important notifications from the CIS, professors, and other offices will be delivered via Truman email. All students are responsible for knowing information delivered to them via Truman email.
The F-1 and J-1 visa regulations require that all students be enrolled full-time for any semester they are in the United States. Full-time means enrollment in at least 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and at least 9 credit hours for graduate students.
- Truman’s academic year is composed of two semesters. Students must be enrolled full-time during the Fall and Spring semesters (one-semester exchange students are the only exception). For students who have completed at least two semesters in the U.S., enrollment in summer classes is optional.
- Undergraduate students are encouraged to limit their first semester to 12-14 credit hours, in order to make allowances for academic, social, and cultural adjustments.
- International students are required to notify the CIS of any of the following circumstances (prior notification is required when at all possible) as well as complete any university forms:
- Drop ANY class that would reduce enrollment below 12 credit hours (or 9 for graduates).
- Add/Change a major or minor
- Withdraw completely from Truman classes
- Transfer to another school (For instructions, see the Transfer Information Page)
- Work off-campus (DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT PRIOR AUTHORIZATION!)
- Travel outside of the U.S.
- Change of nonimmigrant status (e.g. F-1 to J-1, H4-F-1, F-1 to LPR, etc.)
- Request any kind of exception to a full course of study/reduced course load.
- Move – Changing apartments, dorm rooms. Any address change must be reported within ten days using Address Verification on Truview. Navigate to Update and View My Personal Information, select Verify Local Address and Phone. Even if you have already completed this at the beginning of the semester, it must be done again if your information changes.
- Change/modify sources of funding/sponsorship.
- Are involved in legal proceedings or commit a crime.
- If students fail to maintain status:
- Students who are currently following all requirements of the F-1 or J-1 visa are considered to be “in-status” and their SEVIS records are considered “active.” Students who do not comply with F-1 or J-1 requirements will be considered “out of status” and their SEVIS records will be “terminated.” Any student who violates the requirements of his or her visa status is subject to termination. Students with terminated SEVIS records are no longer legally allowed to be present in the United States and must immediately apply for reinstatement in order to remain in the U.S.
- Any F-1 or J-1 student must contact the CIS as soon as his or her status is terminated. These students must meet with a professional staff member to discuss options. In some cases, the CIS may be able to help a student apply for reinstatement. To be eligible for reinstatement at Truman, a student must be eligible to continue studying in the next term and prove that their loss of status was beyond their control.
- The CIS will attempt to warn students before their status is terminated; however, that is not always possible. Status may be terminated without warning (though status will NEVER be terminated without proof of a violation).
- The CIS has the right to notify the sponsor when a student’s violation results in SEVIS termination.
- Any student who is enrolled in less than a full-course load without prior authorization is considered Out of Status and subject to termination.
- It is the responsibility of each student to regularly attend classes, complete homework and assignments in a timely manner, and study for exams and quizzes. No one can make students do these things; they must take responsibility for their own time management.
- It is the responsibility of each student to make normal progress toward his or her degree or program objective. This includes maintaining a sufficient GPA, following the degree plan when choosing courses, and doing everything possible to ensure a timely graduation. J-1 students are also required to make academic progress toward the objective of their programs.
- It is the responsibility of the CIS to help students understand the terms and requirements of their visa status and provide advice and assistance to comply with these requirements. This is done most often through the information provided on the CIS website and emails. It is NOT the responsibility of the CIS to make a student check their email or the website.
- It is the responsibility of each student to maintain their own F-1 or J-1 status. International students should contact the CIS for any questions regarding maintaining F-1 or J-1 status. The CIS can make recommendations, but only the student is responsible for following these recommendations.
F-1 Visa Stamp
The F-1 visa entry stamp is your “ticket” into the U.S.
You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.
Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for your visa application and allow sufficient time for processing a new visa. The documentation you may need for a new visa includes, but is not limited to the following:
- A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO (see your DSO before you travel)
- Original evidence showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
- Evidence showing your intention to return to your home country upon program completion, including evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country
- If you have applied for or had optional practical training (OPT) approved, bring a copy of your Form I-20 endorsed for OPT and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if you have one
The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State (DoS) website at http://travel.state.gov/.
You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until DoS issues your visa. In some cases, this could take several weeks if DoS requires a background check. If DoS denies your visa, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the DoS website for specific information pertaining to each embassy or consulate.
If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.
International Students on F-I and J-I visas are allowed to work on campus without any type of special work permit from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to take these steps to obtain on-campus employment:
You cannot begin your employment until you have completed all 1-3 steps below:
- Find an On-Campus Job
Start your job search for available job openings on TruPositions or contact various campus offices to see if anyone is hiring.
You must seek and obtain your own employment. The Center for International Students (CIS) does NOT place students in jobs.
Look for the type of payment offered:
- I – Institutional pay: Hourly pay that new and returning international students are eligible for
- S – Scholarship renewal: Available only for your second year to renew your scholarship
- W – Workstudy: U.S. Federal aid for American citizens only
Tips on applying for an on-campus job:
- Submit your application on TruPositions.
- Sodexo Food Service and the Truman Bookstore qualify as on-campus jobs but NOT for scholarship renewal. These jobs are not listed on TruPositions. You will need to apply for these positions to each company directly.
- Apply for all jobs that interest you and have the payment type you are eligible for.
- Wait to be contacted for an interview.
- Check in with an employer in 2-3 days in person or by email.
- Be hired and obtain a job offer letter: here is a sample Employer Letter.
- Obtain a Social Security Card
You will need to complete the following to obtain a Social Security Number:
- Obtain the Social Security Number Application Packet.
- Get an Employer Letter from the department that hired you. Email the letter to email@example.com.
- Request a Social Security Letter from the CIS. The CIS staff will email you within 2-3 days when it is available for you to pick-up.
- Complete the Application for a Social Security Card and print it.
- Go to the Kirksville Social Security Office (1305 Crown Drive, 888-386-2705) and bring these items:
- Completed Social Security Application
- Employer Letter
- Social Security Letter from the CIS
- Passport & Visa
- Most recent I-94
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- The Social Security Card will be mailed to you and should arrive within 5-7 business days.
- Get Cleared to Work
Go to the Payroll Office (McClain Hall 105) and bring these items:
- Completed Form W-4 and Form I-9
- Social Security Card
- Most recent I-94
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
Submit a Clearance for your hiring department:
- Log in to TruView, click on the “Student” tab:
- For Institutional employment:
- Navigate to the “Student Employment” section, select “Institutional Clearances” under “iClearances.”
- For a Scholarship employment:
- Navigate to the “Student Finances” section, click on “Scholarships, Financial Aid, & Loans,” click on “Renew Scholarship Online,” click on “Renew Scholarship Online,” and complete the form.
- Make sure to select the academic year, accept the student employment policy, click the semester you will begin your work, click “Original Renewal for Term,” click “Renewal of Scholarship with Service,” select “On-Campus,” select your hiring department, in the proposed service section write your position title, write your supervisor’s name and email, and then click DONE.
- For Institutional employment:
- You will receive an email when your department approves your clearance.
YOU MAY NOW BEGIN TO WORK!!
More information about on-campus employment:
- You will need a social security number to track wages and income as is required upon employment. If your employment is authorized, Social Security contributions should NOT be withheld from your wages if you have F-I or J-1 status. However, all wages are subject to Federal Income taxes.
- Students are limited to working 20 hours per week during the academic year and 39 hours per week during breaks and holidays by both the USCIS and the University.
- Most employers will NOT offer 20 hours per week. The general number is 4-10 hours. Additionally, we do not recommend that first-year students work 20 hours per week due to all of the other demands on their time.
- Make sure your Timecard is active in TruView and you report your work hours regularly. Log in to TruView, click on the “Student” tab, go to the “Student Employment” section, click on the “Student Timecard.”
Off-Campus Work Permit Based On Severe Economic Hardship
If you are experiencing severe economic hardship based on an unforeseen change in your financial circumstances, you may submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for permission to work off campus. You will be required to document the change in your financial situation and your economic need. Examples of changes in financial circumstances are tuition increases of 30 percent or more, loss of a sponsor, severe illness in the family, etc. Permission to work off-campus based on severe economic hardship allows you to work in any type of job.
Limits imposed on off-campus work are:
- Students authorized for off-campus employment by the USCIS may not work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. During vacations and breaks, students may work full-time if not enrolled in classes.
- Remember you can only work a total of twenty hours per week while school is in session. So, if you have a on campus job for 10 hours per week, you may only work off campus for 10 hours. Scholarship service hours count toward this total as well.
You are eligible to apply for off-campus work permission based on severe economic hardship if you meet the following conditions:
- You have been in F-1 status for a minimum of nine months
- You are currently in legal status and carry a full course of study
- You have made a good effort to find employment on campus
- You are able to demonstrate unforeseen severe economic hardship
- You are in good academic standing (Grade Point Average is at least 2.0)
Students who are interested in applying for for the Need-Based Work Permit must attend a CIS workshop that will explain in detail the process of applying, what kinds of work are permissible, and other important regulations. These workshops will be announced in the CIS weekly announcements, so be sure to check them!
Once students have attended the Need-Based workshop, they will complete the Application for Need-Based Work Permit and submit all necessary documents to the CIS.
The following documents are required for the application:
- Check made payable to Department of Homeland Security for $410.
- Two identical passport-sized photographs with your name and I-94# written in pencil on the back
- Completed SEVIS Release Form
- Completed I-765 Form
- Copies of all passports that you have ever used (including a current one valid for at least six months into the future)
- Copies of all visas that you have ever used
- Most recent I-94
- Copies of all I-20s
- E-notification Form (Suggested, not required)
- Documentation of the Unforeseen Financial Need
The immigration liaison will explain the application and make sure that it has been correctly filled. Once the application has been reviewed by the immigration liaison and the international student advisor, the student will receive an new I-20. A copy of this I-20 is also required to go with the Need-Based application. Students should be sure to send a copy, not the original I-20. The student will also receive a pre-addressed envelope to mail the application to USCIS. USCIS will send a receipt for the application with a tracking number within a few weeks of receiving the documents. Students can use this number to track the status of their applications.
It generally takes approximately 90 days from the date the application is receipted (the day that the receipt of the application is registered in USCIS system). Approval can occasionally take longer than 90 days. It some cases it can take less than that, but those are extremely rare.
An application must be receipted within 30 days of the date of the new I-20 issuance. Note that ‘receipted’ is not the same as received. Just because the online tracking information shows that the package was delivered does not mean it has been receipted. It can take up to one additional week for USCIS to record that they have received the application.
Once the application is approved, USCIS will issue an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card. It will arrive at the CIS. For students in Kirksville, they can pick it up at the CIS office. CIS staff will make a copy of the card and ask the student to sign and date the copy. For students outside of Kirksville, the CIS will mail the card to the student at the expense of the student.
If you plan to travel outside the United States, reentry on an F-1 or J-1 visa requires a valid I-20 or DS-2019, passport, F-1 or J-1 entry stamp, and an endorsed travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.
If you need a new entry visa stamp
If the entry visa stamp in your passport has expired, you will need to apply for a new stamp at a United States Consulate in your country before you reenter the United States It is not possible to renew the entry visa stamp in the United States. To obtain a new visa stamp, you must take the following to the United States Consulate:
- A current or new SEVIS, Form I-20 or DS-2019 with updated academic and financial information, endorsed by the International Student Advisor within the last six months.
- Documentation of funding. For example, a signed bank statement verifying amount in the account, a letter and bank documents from a sponsor, proof of employment on campus, scholarship letters, etc.
- Evidence that you intend to return to your home country when you complete your studies.
- Updated transcript and a printout of courses for which you are enrolled for the next semester.
- All visa applications require a personal interview at the consulate. It can take several weeks to schedule an interview. DO SO EARLY!!!
When applying for a new entry visa stamp, there is always a risk that it will not be granted. If you are in good academic standing and in the middle of your degree program, you will probably be able to obtain a new visa. If you are on OPT, your visa application may be denied. If you are married to, or intend to marry a United States citizen or permanent resident, it is possible that your F-1 visa request will be denied. Denial means that you will not be able to enter the United States as an F-1 visa holder. If you have concerns about your visa application, discuss them with the International Student Advisor before you make your final travel plans.
Entry at the border
United States Customs will require that you present your I-20 or DS-2019 along with your financial documentation as you reenter. They may also want to review any previous I-20 or DS-2019 documents.
If your current entry visa stamp will be valid at the time you reenter the United States, you will not need to visit the United States Consulate.
For reentry you will need the following:
- Valid I-20 or DS-2019 that reflects your current program as well as a completion of studies date that is in the future
- An endorsed travel signature for reentry by the International Student Advisor on your I-20 or DS-2019 (to make a request for a reentry signature, present your I-20 to the Center for International Students at least two weeks before departure from the U.S.).
- The endorsed travel signature is valid for one year and must be renewed if it has expired or will expire soon.
If you are planning a trip to Canada or Mexico
If you wish to visit Canada or Mexico, find out what the entry requirements are far in advance. You can find more information at the following links.
If you are currently pursuing OPT and plan to reenter the United States, you must present the following documentation for reentry:
- A valid I-20 that has been signed for reentry within the last six months.
- Passport with valid entry visa stamp, unless you are reentering from Canada or Mexico (see previous).
- Your EAD card.
CAUTION: If you are on OPT and need a new entry visa stamp, be aware of the risk that your visa request may be denied. Consulates do not like to issue new visas for OPT.
Dependent (F-2 or J-2) Entry and Reentry
F-2 or J-2 entry and reentry requires a valid I-20 or DS-2019 issued at the request of the F-1 or J-1 student and an updated signature by the International Student Advisor. Individuals eligible to hold F-2 or J-2 dependent status are the spouse and minor children of the F-1 or J-1 student.
Travel within the United States
Students and their families who plan to travel within the United States need no special permission for travel. However, individuals should carry their passports, I-94’s and I-20 or DS-2019 documents in the event that the authorities do require verification of legal status. If you do not have these documents with you, you could be fined or detained.
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Preparing Before Graduation
- Apply to Graduate
- Complete the Graduation Application by going to TruView under your Student Tab/Student Data/Registration/Apply to Graduate/”Undergraduate Graduation Application”
- Complete the Graduation Clearance Form
- Complete the Graduation Clearance Form by going to TruView under your Student Tab/Student Data/Registration/Apply to Graduate/”Graduation Clearance Form”
- You CAN NOT receive your diploma if you do not complete this form!
- Contact the Registrar’s Office for questions about graduation, commencement, and/or your diploma.
- Talk with your Academic Advisor during your last semester:
- This is a requirement!
- There may be classes that you have missed or a hold on your account.
- Your Academic Advisor can confirm if your Degree Works is correct and whether you are ready to graduate.
- Pay your Student Account Fees!
- There will be a hold on your account if you do not pay your fees.
- If there is a hold on your account, you will NOT receive your diploma!
- Complete your Senior Test
- Contact Assessment and Testing at 660-785-4140 if you have any questions.
- Submit your Portfolio
- See http://portfolio.truman.edu for assistance.
- Complete the information under “Career Center”
- This is available in TruView under your Student Tab/Get Involved
- Complete the Graduating Student Questionnaire
- The GSQ is available online at http://gsq.truman.edu (Note that passwords containing <, >, and & will not work)
Upon completion of your program of study, you have a 60 day grace period during which you can stay in the United States.
Your program end date is the official date listed on your current I-20. When Truman grades are made official and your degree has been conferred, the International Student Advisor will shorten your Program End Date to the reflect your graduation date.
You may not depart and return to the United States during your grace period. If you depart the United States before the end of your grace period, the rest of the grace period is lost.
If you wish to extend your stay in the United States, you may apply for the following options before the end of the 60 day grace period:
- Obtain OPT work authorization
- Transfer to another school and begin a new program of study.
- Change your education level (for example, bachelor’s to master’s degree).
- Change your status to another visa status.
The computer programming classes that I’ve taken have taught me new skills that I’m going to use in my future occupation as a software engineer. The jobs that I’ve committed myself to and the obligations that I’ve taken up have provided me with real life work experiences that are going to be crucial in my life after Truman.