Students who are admitted to the United States for study in approved universities and colleges must follow certain rules and regulations in order to maintain legal immigration status. The NMU International Programs office can answer your questions about student status in the U.S. and clarify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations.
United States immigration law is subject to frequent change; information should always be verified by your international student adviser. Your friends and family members are just that: they should not be considered a reliable source of information regarding your particular student status.
Most NMU international students enter the U.S. with F-1 or J-1 student status. Visa status of accompanying dependents is linked to the type of visa the student carries. All international students must pursue a full-time course of study while in the United States.
VISA: A visa is your permission to apply for entry into the United States. As long as a student remains in the United States, in legal immigration status, it does not matter if the visa has expired. There are several kinds of student visas.
F-1 VISA: Most students, at NMU, fall into this visa category. F-1 status is given to international students who wish to enter the U.S. solely for the purpose of study. The F-1 visa denotes non-immigrant status and is, therefore, considered a temporary visa.
J-1 VISA: The J-visa carries many of the same requirements and privileges as the F-1 with an important distinction: it is intended for the purpose of study and promotion of inter-cultural exchange. The J visa program is administered through the U.S. Department of State.
I-20, or "CERTIFICATE OF ELIGIBILITY FOR F-1 NON-IMMIGRANT STUDENT STATUS." The I-20 is issued to academic and language students who have qualified for admission to an approved U.S. university or college. Students must take the I-20 and apply for a visa at the United States Consulate serving their home country. Additional proof of financial support, significant ties to the home country, and proof of non-immigrant intent may be required at the time of the Consulate interview.
DS-2019: The equivalent Certificate of Eligibility for J-1 students and scholars. The process for application and entry to the United States is the same as for the F-1 student.
I-94 ARRIVAL /DEPARTURE CARD: The white Arrival/Departure Record is issued to international travelers who intend to enter the United States. It is usually a small, white card issued by the USCIS Officer at the port of entry (or, POE). The form I-94 conveys your legal status during your stay in the United States. It must be surrendered each time you depart from the United States (a new one is issued upon your return). International Programs at NMU advises you to staple the form I-94 directly into your passport, along the side edge of the photo visa page.
ADMISSION NUMBER: Upon your entry into the United States, the USCIS office will issue you a unique 11-digit admission number. The number is intended to assist the Immigration service in tracking student arrivals, departures, field of study, employment authorization and subsequent change in status. This number does not change during your time as a student; it should be entered on every new I-94 you are issued during travel to and from the United States.
DURATION OF STATUS: An international student's permission to stay is defined as "Duration of Status." The status is usually noted as "D/S" on the student's form I-94. It relates to the expected date of completion for your program of study
PRACTICAL TRAINING: International Students who remain in good immigration status during their academic program in the United States may be eligible for practical training. It is a BENEFIT to international students who remain in good status. There are two types of practical training: Curricular (CPT) and Optional (OPT). CPT is generally taken during the program of study, while OPT is typically a post-completion benefit.
DESIGNATED SCHOOL OFFICIAL: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services authorizes universities and colleges to administer regulations related to the F-1 visa program. Each university informs the USCIS of employees who function as DSOs. NMU appointed DSO's in International Programs are Marcelo Siles, John Mallo and Angela Maki.
60 and 15 day grace periods: Preparation for departure. An F-1 student who has completed a course of study and any authorized practical training following completion of studies will be allowed an additional 60 day period to prepare for departure from the United States or to transfer. An F-1 student authorized by the DSO to withdraw from classes will be allowed a 15 day period for departure from the United States. However, an F-1 student who fails to maintain a full course of study without the approval of the DSO or otherwise fails to maintain status is not eligible for an additional period for departure.