Immigration Information - Shorter University

Before coming to the United States, check out the following links for important information.

All information for studying in the United States can be found here:

Embassy Info

Watch a Video “Visit America: It’s Easier than you Think”


Getting a visa:

Visa bulletin:

Visa denials:

Fees for visas:

Photo requirements:

Airport Security & Information

Travel Issues

Port of Entry Fact Sheet:

What is an I-94?

Tips for Students and Exchange Visitors Upon Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) Forms & Application Status

The 30-day period before program start date

F-1 students may be admitted to the United States no more than 30 days before the program start date that is stated in SEVIS and in the Form I-20.

Now that I am in the United States, what do I need to know?

You need to report immediately to the Registrar’s Office.

What does SEVIS mean?

SEVIS is the Student Exchange Visitor Information System used by the federal government to monitor your visa status.

What’s an I-94?

March 21, 2013 – CBP announces Automation of Form I-94 Arrival / Departure Record
Eliminates Paper Forms, Streamlines Admission Process

Find out more at:

My responsibilities as a F-1 student

It is extremely important for an F-1 student to maintain his or her status.  Failure to maintain the status could result in deportation.

To maintain F-1 status, students MUST:

  • Report to the Designated School Officer (DSO) no later than 30 days after the program start date; and each semester thereafter, no later than 30 days after the each next session start date
  • Pursue a full course of study (12 credit hours as a minimum at Shorter University), unless approved in advance by the DSO
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study
  • Keep the I-20 valid if you extend your stay, change level of education, or transfer to another school
  • Report a change of address within 10 days to the DSO
  • Not work off-campus unless specifically authorized under regulations
  • Not commit any crime. The school must report on SEVIS any disciplinary action taken by the school against the student as a result of being convicted of a crime

Employment in F-1 Status

There are 5 types of employment available for F-1 students:

On-Campus Employment

You can work on campus part-time while classes are in session (20 hours per week) and full-time during breaks (40 hours per week). Of course, you have to maintain your F-1 status to do so. You don’t have to ask for authorization by your DSO, and it is not a SEVIS-reported event. If you would like to work on-campus, you must go to Financial Aid. They will give you all the information you need regarding on-campus jobs.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

This is off-campus work permission that is granted in conjunction with an internship in your field of study. In other words, it has to be a curricular requirement. It also needs to be approved by your academic advisor. Students have to be enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a year before applying for CPT permission. CPT permission can be granted part-time (20 hours per week) or full-time (over 20 hours per week). Students can only use the CPT permission for the specified employer. This permission is reported in SEVIS. The use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates the possibility of using OPT.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

This is one year of off-campus work permission granted for each level of study obtained in the United States. The goal of this permission is to allow students to gain practical training in the field of their major areas of study. It is available both before and after the completion of the program.

Students may work 20 hours per week if they are doing the OPT while pursuing the full course of study. Students are allowed to work full-time during school breaks or after graduation. The USCIS grants the OPT work permission and issues the Employment Authorization Cards.

Important: The OPT is terminated if the student transfers to another school or begins study at another educational level (for example, advancing from the Bachelor to Master level).

Employment Authorized Due to Economic Hardship

In order to apply for work permission due to economic hardship, the student has to be enrolled one year before applying for such permission. The student must present his/her case to the USCIS showing that the economic hardship was caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control.

Employment with an International Organization

F-1 students can work for recognized international organizations. (Please visit the Office of International Programs for information regarding the international organizations that qualify within this category.) Students are eligible as long as they maintain good standing in their status. This work experience can be part-time or full-time.

Spouses and Dependents: F-2

The spouse and the unmarried minor children of F-1 students may come to the United States with the F-1 student.  They will have F-2 status.

F-2 visa holders cannot work.  F-2 visa holders cannot engage in full-time study.  F-2 children can study full-time only if the study is in an elementary or secondary school.

After completion of F-1 studies


1.  Apply for OPT after completion of studies.  See Optional Practical Training.

2.  Depart the United States within 60 days of completing the studies

3.  Continue to be a F-1 student by continuing to study at the same institution or another institution

4.  Change the immigration status within 60 days of completing the studies

Disclaimer:  The above information is based on the information of NAFSA Adviser’s Manual of federal regulations affecting foreign students and scholars, ISBN 0-912207-63-9. The immigration information on this website aims to provide quick and easy information to students.  All F-1 students should interact directly with the Office of International Programs before making any decisions.  In the event that a student makes a wrongful decision based on this website’s information, Shorter University would not be responsible.