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Immigration

Immigration and Legal Information for International Students

The Office of International Student Services is dedicated to helping international students and scholars at The University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). The staff is available to guide students and scholars on Immigration matters (visa document questions and all other governmental paperwork, work authorization process, invitation of family members to come to the U.S.), to present orientation and special programs, to help with planning, promoting and presenting social events, and to provide cross-cultural counseling and academic and financial advising.

Immigration regulations may change during your stay at UIS. We will notify you of pertinent changes through our office newsletter and our website.

Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Inspection Service (USCIS) Regulations

The following information lists the USCIS regulations affecting international students on F and J visas. IT IS VITAL THAT YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND ALL THE REGULATIONS LISTED ON THESE PAGES. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FOLLOW THEM AND TO KEEP UPDATED ON ANY CHANGES, WHICH MAY OCCUR DURING YOUR STUDIES.

SEVIS (Student Exchange Visitor Information System)

The SEVIS system is a federal government program that will link every US embassy and consulate with every port of entry into the USA and with every institute of higher learning that has been authorized to issue I20s. It is meant to track F-1 (and J-1 and M-1) visa holders from the time that they are admitted to a school and issued an I20 to the time that they end their studies. Schools, ports of entry and embassies/consulates process the bulk of the work involved with SEVIS. There is little that needs to be done by the visa-holding student.

UIS has been approved and entered into the SEVIS system. As of Feb. 15, 2003 we are required to issue the SEVIS I20 for any new students as well as for any current student when there is a reportable event such as requests for practical training, extension of program, reinstatement, etc. Current students who will be traveling out of the USA and who need to obtain a new visa will need to have a SEVIS I20.

UIS will be required to report to the USCIS through SEVIS:

  1. New students who have entered the USA on an I20 issued by UIS who enroll or who donít enroll for the first semester of their study.
  2. Every reportable action – practical training applications, students who fall out of status, etc.
  3. Students who drop below a full course of study or who fail to register for a full course of study.
  4. Students who have not registered for the current semester. Under this provision it will no longer be possible to postpone registration until the end of the semester, as some students have done in the past. You will need to be registered by the end of the second week of classes, when the university runs its term enrollment report.
  5. Student mailing/living address changes. You must inform our office of a change in address within 10 days of the change. We will then have 21 days to enter this information into SEVIS. We suggest that you submit your change of address by email or in written form so that there will be a hard copy for your files. Do not submit your change of address verbally either in person or through the telephone.
  6. Students who have completed their degrees.

Maintenance of Status

Failure to maintain F-1 status may result in deportation. You must meet all the obligations below in order to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 status:

  1. Have a valid passport at all times;
  2. Complete a full course of study each Fall and Spring Semester. Full time: 9 hours for Graduate and 12 hours for Undergraduate students.
  3. Attend the school you are authorized by USCIS to attend;
  4. Meet with the International Student Adviser for I-20 processing within 15 days after a change of program level (i.e.-Bachelors to Masters);
  5. Follow USCIS procedures to transfer to another school (see Transfer of Schools section);
  6. Apply for an extension of stay, if necessary (see Extension of Stay section);
  7. Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session;
  8. Refrain from unauthorized employment; and
  9. Report any changes (i.e.-address, social security number, or name) to the Office of International Student Services and the Office of the Registrar at UIS.

F-1 students who fail to maintain a full course of study without the approval of the DSO or otherwise fail to maintain status are not eligible for any grace period and must leave the USA immediately.