Travel and Visa Renewal

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    Mathieu Milani

    B.A. in Environmental Studies

    France

    There were many universities to choose from for my major but I chose to come to HPU because it was the best choice for me. This is my first time studying abroad for a lengthy period of time and I chose HPU because of its great reputation, environment and for the way that the Environmental Studies program allows students to study a mix of both science and business.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Visa

Q

What are my obligations as a student on an F-1 visa?

A

Students on an F-1 visa must follow the regulations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to these regulations, you must:

  • upon arrival, attend a check-in session. Please bring your passport, I-94 card, form I-20, proof of health insurance.  Provide your address in the U.S.
  • register for classes at the university which issued the I-20
  • be enrolled as a full-time student while you are in the U.S. (undergraduate- total 12 credits with at least 9 in-class credits, graduate- total 9 credits with at least 6 in-class credits)
  • follow the required procedures and authorizations before requesting permission to work off-campus.
  • request assistance from your International Student Advisor if you wish to transfer from one university to another.

What are my obligations as a student on a J-1 visa?

Students on a J-1 visa must follow the regulations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. According to these regulations, you must:

  • upon arrival, schedule an appointment with your International Student Adviser, by calling 808-356-5299. Please bring your passport, form DS-2019, I-94 card, proof of health insurance to the appointment.  Provide adviser  with your address in the U.S.
  • register for classes at the university which issued the DS-2019
  • be enrolled as a full-time student while you are in the U.S. (undergraduate- total 12 credits with at least 9 in-class credits, graduate- total 9 credits with at least 6 in-class credits)
  • for work authorization and transfer from one school to another, contact the International Student Services.

How long can I stay in the United States?

The I-20 indicates the length of time you can stay to finish your course of studies. You may stay 60 days after the last day of class.
(J-1 DS 2019 may stay 30 days).

Q

If I cannot complete my studies in the required time, may I stay longer?

A If you need a longer time to complete your studies, an International Student Advisor at the International Student Services (UB 200) will help you apply for an extension. If you have completed your studies, you are not allowed to continue to stay in the U.S. with that I-20, even if it has not expired.
Q

If my visa expires, how do I renew it?

A The visa is an entry document only. The visa needs to be valid only at the time you enter the U.S. It does not need to be renewed if you stay in the U.S. However, you may wish to visit Canada, Mexico, or your home country during vacation periods. If your visa has expired, ask your International Student Advisor to provide complete information about how to renew your visa. You may then apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country you are visiting.

Q:

Have there been any recent changes in visa issuances at U.S. consulates?

A:

No new laws have been made, but you should expect that applications will now be going through an extensive screening process. Some embassies no longer offer "mail-in" services and will now only allow appointments to be scheduled to process applications. Some embassies have closed in certain countries. Delays can be expected to take six - eight weeks. Due to the delays, please allow yourself ample time for the application processing when planning to travel.

To find out how applications in your home country are being processed, access the U.S. Department of State Web site: www.state.gov and select a particular consulate office. This site will also list travel advisory warnings, if any.

Q:

What documents should a student have ready to show when they are applying for a visa renewal?

A:

Students will need to go through the same process as if they are applying for a student visa for the first time.

They will need:

  1. Unexpired passport
  2. New SEVIS I-20 – complete with 3 pages intact
  3. Current financial support documents
  4. Recent transcripts
  5. Registration for the next available term
  6. **A verification of enrollment from the Registrar’s office or Center for Graduate Studies**

** Not required but suggested**

Transcripts are not usually required, but may help your application. The consulars would like you to
 prove that your visit to the U.S. is temporary, that you have no intention of abandoning your citizenship in
your home country. They would also like to make sure that you are traveling to the U.S. for the purposes that you have indicated.

Q:

What is a 3rd Country visa?

A:

A 3rd Country visa is when you apply for a visa in a country other than your own. Because of political unrest, many countries are reluctant to take applications from citizens of other countries. Consulars may also be unaware of particular forms/laws applicable in your home country.

Q:

What is the Department of Homeland Security?

A:

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against America on September 11th, 2001, President George W. Bush decided 22 previously disparate domestic agencies needed to be coordinated into one department to protect the nation against threats to the homeland. The new department's first priority is to protect the nation against further terrorist attacks. Component agencies will analyze threats and intelligence, guard our borders and airports, protect our critical infrastructure, and coordinate the response of our nation for future emergencies.

Q:

What is the USCIS?

A:

USCIS is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. USCIS is the sector that will process and adjudicate all applications for benefits submitted by nonimmigrants. USCIS falls under the new Department of Homeland Security.

Q:

What is the USCBP?

A:

USCBP is the United States Customs and Border Protection. On March 1, 2003, the border inspection functions of the U.S. Customs Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, along with the U.S. Border Patrol, were transferred to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Q:

What is the USICE?

A:

On March 1, 2003, functions of several border and security agencies including the U.S. Customs Service, Federal Protective Service (FPS), and former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) were transferred into the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security within the Department of Homeland Security. As part of this transition, these agency functions were reorganized into the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE).

Q:

What is SEVIS?

A:

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), which provides tracking, monitoring, and access to accurate and current information on non-immigrant students (F and M visa) and exchange visitors (J visa). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit electronic information and event notifications via the Internet to the USICE and the Department of State throughout a student or exchange visitor’s stay in the United States. SEVIS allows for the printing of appropriate forms and provides reminders, alerts, and basic reporting capabilities. SEVIS is a source of timely and accurate information for educational institutions and government agencies which are tasked with assisting and overseeing the many international visitors who have chosen to pursue an education in this country.

Q:

How do I apply for permission to transfer schools?

A:

You must be a full time student in good academic standing. You must notify your current school of your intent to transfer. You must ask the school that you plan on attending to accept you into their institution, and issue you a new Form I-20. You must sign and date the I-20 and give it to your new designated school official (DSO) within 15 days of transferring. The designated school official (DSO) should give you 3 pages, and forward a copy of the new I-20 to your prior school.