This section contains important information and terminology for current students. You are responsible for understanding the laws and maintaining your immigration status. If you have questions about anything related to your immigration status, please contact ISSO.
- Form I-20 – the “Certificate of Eligibility” that allows you to apply for an F-1 visa. It contains information about your school, your program, and how long you are allowed to stay in the United States. Contact the ISSO if you need to make any changes to this document. Keep all I-20s that you are issued.
- Form DS-2019 – the “Certificate of Eligibility” that allows you to apply for a J-1 visa.
- SEVIS – the “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System” – The government database that tracks international students. ISSO is required to keep student records up-to-date in SEVIS. Only certain Clark University employees in the ISSO can access SEVIS.
- Visa – the stamp placed in your passport by a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. Your visa is like an entrance ticket – it lets you travel to the United States to request entry. Your visa stamp does not need to remain valid once you enter the US, but you must have a valid visa to re-enter the country.
- Status – the conditions under which you are granted permission to enter the United States. International students are granted either F-1 or J-1 status (generally F-1), and this status will determine how long you can stay in the US and what rules you need to follow while you are here.
- I-94 information – an official record of your immigration status entered into SEVIS by Customs and Border Protection when you enter the United States. It is the official record of your immigration status. Print your I-94 information every time you enter the U.S. to verify that everything is correct. You can access the system at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
- SSN – Social Security Number – you are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number if you have a job offer. Not everyone needs to get a SSN, but you will need it if you have a job so that you can be paid and your employer can withhold taxes.
Maintaining your status
As an international student, you must follow certain rules to maintain your F-1 or J-1 immigration status. Violating these rules can result in an immigration status violation that can have serious negative consequences, both immediately and in the future.
- Check in with the International Students and Scholars Office before the first day of classes. All incoming students are given a designated date and time to check in with ISSO.
- Enroll in a full course of study each semester—a minimum of 3 units each term. In most cases, summer enrollment is not required. Exceptions to this are when summer is your first or last semester.
- If you must enroll in less than a full course of study, talk to your ISSO advisor prior to the start of the semester to request authorization. Do not drop below full-time without speaking to ISSO first!
- Only one unit out of the three required can be an online course.
- Do not work off-campus without specific authorization. Review the employment section of our website to learn when and how you can work off-campus.
- Maintain a valid passport! Your passport should always be valid for at least 6 months into the future. If your passport is going to expire, contact the Embassy/Consulate of your home country to renew it in a timely manner.
- Make sure your I-20 or DS-2019 is accurate and up-to-date. Never let your I-20 or DS-2019 expire. If you need to extend your stay, contact ISSO to request an extension at least 30 days before the date of expiration.
- Contact ISSO if you have any questions about your immigration status. We are here to help.
You may remain in the U.S. up to 60 days after the day you graduate. You may not work or study, and you may not reenter the United States during this grace period.
You may remain in the US on a Clark-sponsored F-1 visa if you:
- Have applied for Optional Practical Training (You must attend an ISSO information session before applying.)
- Have been admitted to Clark for study in another degree-seeking program
Many students are interested in the H-1B visa or another employer-sponsored visa after graduating or after completing their OPT. Learn more about temporary non-immigrant, employment-based visas at the USCIS website.