United States immigration law places responsibility upon the individual student to know and follow all relevant immigration regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations may have very severe consequences for your ability to study, seek employment, or even remain in the United States. In addition to the information below, be sure to review the Department of Homeland Security fact sheet on maintaining visa status.

    F-1 Visa

    Maintaining F-1 Visa Status

    Make sure that your immigration documents are valid and/or unexpired.

    • An unexpired foreign passport valid at least six months into the future.
    • A stamp in the passport marked “F-1 D/S” (usually appears on the page opposite visa stamp).
    • An unexpired I-20.

    Register for and complete a full course load (12 credits for undergraduate students; 9 credits for graduate students).

    • The minimum number of full time course credits per semester is 12 for undergraduates and 9 for graduate students. You are expected to maintain full-time registration and make normal progress toward your degree.
    • F-1 students are restricted by immigration regulation to ONE online course per semester.
    • Obtain PRIOR authorization from you Designated School Official (the International Student Advisor) BEFORE dropping below full course of study, withdrawing from classes, or taking a leave of absence. There are very limited exceptions to the full-time requirement – so you must consult the DSO in advance of any drop below full-time, or you will be in violation of your status.

    Travel

    • Please review the Reentry Information Section on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website if you are traveling outside the country.
    • Check the travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.  The signature is valid for 12 months unless you are on OPT or Academic Training and then it must be signed every 6 months.  Please schedule an appointment with the ISSS office if you need a signature.  We must confirm that you have been registered full-time each semester before we can sign the I-20.

    Change of Address

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires that you inform the DSO within 10 days of any address change. Contact the ISSS office via email or in person with change of address information.

    Transferring

    If you are planning to transfer to another institution, you must notify the DSO before the end of the semester.  The transfer of the SEVIS record must be completed within a 60 day period after completion of studies or a student’s last enrollment date. Your new school cannot issue you a Form I-20 until we have released your immigration record to them.

    Work Authorization

    Students must be degree-seeking students in valid F-1 status for one academic year to be eligible to apply for off-campus work authorization.  Information regarding Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training is available on the ISSS webpage.

    Optional Practical Training

    Students who are completing a degree program and are planning to do Optional Practical Training (OPT) must make an appointment with an international student advisor to discuss the application process (instructions and required forms are available here).   Applications can be sent to USCIS up to 90 days prior to your program completion date.

    Graduating Students

    Students who have graduated and are not doing OPT must leave the U.S. within 60 days of the completion of the program, or transfer to a higher level of degree program.

    J-1 Visa

    Maintaining J-1 Visa Status

    Make sure that your immigration documents are valid and/or unexpired.

    • An unexpired foreign passport valid at least six months into the future.
    • A stamp in the passport marked “J-1 D/S” (usually appears on the page opposite visa stamp).
    • An unexpired DS-2019.

    J-1 Insurance Requirments

    J-1 Exchange Visitors and their dependents are required by federal law to have sickness and accident insurance for the duration of the academic program.  Minimum coverage requirements must include medical benefits, repatriation, and medical evaluation.   Proof of medical insurance will be required by the International office upon arrival at the University and for travel signatures, extensions or any other J-1 benefits.   Exchange Visitors who fail to maintain medical coverage are in violation of their J-1 visa status.

    The new insurance rates are effective May 15, 2015 in accordance with the amendments to Subpart A of the J exchange visitor regulations at 22CFR62.14.  Students and scholars whose programs at the University extend beyond June 30, 2015 will be required to have insurance policies that meet these new requirements.

    Required Coverage

    Insurance Requirements

    (effective 5/15/2015)

    Medical Benefits $100,000
    Repatriation of remains $25,000
    Medical Evacuation $50,000
    Deductible per illness/accident $500

    Insurance Providers

    Drew University’s student health care plan meets the new J-1 health insurance requirements.  There are also a number of insurance providers in the U.S. that offer plans for international students (see list below).  It is possible to enroll in most plans online using a credit card payment.   Drew University does not offer an endorsemest of these plans.  The Exchange Visitor is responsible for attaining a health care policy that meets the program requirements.

    ISO Insurance

    Visitor Guard

    CMI Insurance Worldwide

    Full-Time Enrollment Requirements
    Register for and complete a full course load (12 credits for undergraduate students; 9 credits for graduate students)

    • The minimum number of full time course credits per semester is 12 for undergraduates and 9 for graduate students. You are expected to maintain full-time registration and make normal progress toward your degree.
    • Obtain PRIOR authorization from you Designated School Official (the International Student Advisor) BEFORE dropping below full course of study, withdrawing from classes, or taking a leave of absence. There are very limited exceptions to the full-time requirement – so you must consult the DSO in advance of any drop below full-time, or you will be in violation of your status.

    Exchange Visitor Program Regulations

    Students should read and thoroughly understand the regulations governing the J-1 Program.  The Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program website offers easy-to-read sections on Common Questions and Regulations.

    To review detailed compliance and regulatory information regarding the Exchange Visitor Program, please refer to the Code of Federal Regulations (22 CFR 62 Code of Federal Regulations).

    Program Extension Information

    Students, Research Scholars (not including the short-term category), and Professors may be eligible for an extension to complete their program objective. If you would like to request a program extension for an exchange visitor from your academic department, please ask the J-1 visitor to make an appointment with ISSS to discuss.  If s/he is eligible, the dean of the school must submit a DS-2019 Extension Form.

    Work Authorization

    J-1 Students are eligible for on campus employment but approval must be granted by the ISSS office before work can commence.  Please make an appointment with ISSS at the Welcome Desk in the University Commons (next to the Bookstore) to discuss both on and off-campus employment (Academic Training) information.