Immigration Information

Immigration stampStudents 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 Education Services 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: This process is now done electronically and you can access your I-94 information at The Arrival/Departure Record is issued to international travelers who intend to enter the United States. The form I-94 conveys your legal status during your stay in the United States. Canadian citizens are normally issued a multiple entry paper I-94.

ADMISSION NUMBER:This is the 11 digit number that appears on your electronic I-94. The number changes each time you enter the US except if you have a multiple entry I-94.

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 (DSO): 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 Education Services are Angela Maki (PDSO), Lila Isleib (DSO) and Mary Brundage (DSO).

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.