International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is required to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in SEVIS regarding F-1 students' fulfillment of the following conditions of status:
- Always be full-time.
Enroll for and complete a full course of study (12 credits for undergraduates, 9 credits for graduates, with a maximum of three credits of the total required credits online) every fall and spring semester. For first-semester graduate students, information about the English Language Proficiency policy is located here, and guidance regarding the English Language Communication courses is located here.
- Obtain permission to be less than full-time before you drop, withdraw from, or stop attending a class. If you do not believe you will be able to fulfill the full-time requirement for any reason, contact the ISSS before you withdraw from or stop attending class. There are a few limited exceptions to this requirement for which you might qualify if you obtain permission in advance. Please see our Reduced Course Load Request Form, and contact us for more information.
- Only work as authorized.
Individuals with F-1 status may work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and full-time during official school breaks. These 20 hours include the sum of all hours you work on campus, even the work you do for an assistantship, if you have one. In order to work in a paid or unpaid off-campus job, you must get permission from the ISSS and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Any remuneration (free room & board, etc.) you receive for work is considered payment. Never work without authorization.
- Make sure your program end date on your Form I-20 is accurate.
Your program completion date on your I-20 must always reflect (to the best of your knowledge) the date you will finish your studies. If you do not think you will be able to complete your program by the completion date on your I-20, even if there is just a slight chance of this occurring, you must apply for a program extension before the completion date expires and get an updated I-20; it is not possible to extend your F-1 program after your I-20 end date. If you expect to complete your program earlier than the program completion date, you must get an updated I-20 before you complete your program. To apply for a program extension, you will need the Program Extension: Information and Checklist, Program Extension Request Form, I-20 Application Form, and if applicable, the Financial Information and Affidavit of Support.
- Obtain a SEVIS transfer to attend another U.S. school.
If you plan to transfer to another U.S. school, college, or university (besides Stevens), you must notify the ISSS and be “transferred out” in SEVIS before your status ends. Please see the Transfer-Out Request, and contact ISSS for more information.
- Obtain a change of education level to begin a new program of study.
If you have been admitted to a new program of study at Stevens (for instance, you are completing a master’s and beginning a Ph.D. or just starting a new program at the same level, like a second master’s), you must obtain a Form I-20 for your new program before you complete your current program of study. Please follow the directions on the Change of Level Information and Checklist, which will guide you to the other forms that you need, all of which are located under the Forms portion of this site.
- Depart the U.S. within 60 days of your program completion date or Optional Practical Training end date.
If you have completed your program of study, you must depart the U.S. within 60 days if you are in F-1 status. Likewise, if you have completed your post-completion Optional Practical Training and have no further plans to study or change your immigration status, you must depart the U.S. within 60 days of your Employment Authorization Document’s (EAD’s) end date.
- If you are an F-1 student and plan to leave the U.S. early (before the program completion date on your I-20), you must apply for Authorized Early Withdrawal. An Authorized Early Withdrawal will result in a non-violation termination of your record, and you will have only 15 days to leave the United States. If you plan to take a leave of absence, ISSS will assist you in preparing the documents you’ll need to return to the U.S., which may include a new I-20 and visa, depending on how long you’ll be gone. Please see the Request to Depart the U.S. Early, and contact ISSS for more information.
- Keep your passport valid at all times. You must always have a valid passport. If your passport is going to expire, contact your country’s embassy or consulate in the United States to renew it. If you are leaving the U.S. and returning (for instance, during summer vacation), make sure your passport will be valid for at least six months into the future when you return.
- Report any address or name change to the ISSS within 10 days of making the change. If you change your name, you must first get your passport updated before ISSS can update your SEVIS record and I-20.
- Get an updated Form I-20 when any of its information changes. Notify ISSS if there are any changes in the information on your Form I-20, such as name, citizenship, degree level, major, or funding, and get an updated Form I-20.
- If you would like to have your dependent(s) (spouse or child) join you in the U.S., you will need to apply for an F-2 dependent I-20 so that your dependent(s) can apply for an F-2 visa. The F-2 visa and I-20 allow dependent(s) to travel to the U.S. and reside with an F-1 student while s/he is completing his or her studies, post-completion OPT, or OPT STEM extension. To apply for a dependent I-20, you will need the F-2 Dependent I-20 Application- Information and Checklist, I-20 Application Form, and if applicable, the Financial Information and Affidavit of Support.
- If any of your immigration documents are lost or stolen, report this to the proper authorities, and contact ISSS for assistance. If you lose your I-20, you will need to complete the Document Replacement Request form and submit it to ISSS in order to receive a replacement.
For F-1 student questions, please contact an ISSS staff member as follows:
Elizabeth Gill, Associate Director, if you are/completed your program as:
Caitlin Chavarria, Advisor, if you are/completed your program as:
Important: To ensure your inquiries, requests, and applications (including CPT, OPT, program extensions, change of level, etc.) are handled efficiently, please contact the ISSS staff member responsible for your school, as outlined above. When contacting the ISSS for assistance, you will be asked for the name of your school at Stevens so that you may be directed to the right person. If you are a graduate student and not sure within which school your major falls, please check with either your academic advisor or department.
Guidelines for Submitting Financial Documents for I-20 Issuance
International students requesting visa sponsorship must demonstrate sufficient funds to cover Stevens’ estimated expenses for the first year of study, as required by the U.S. government. The ability of students to demonstrate that they will not become a public charge or resort to unauthorized employment in the U.S. for financial support is essential. Information about Stevens’ estimated expenses may be found on the Financial Information & Affidavit of Support. The financial documents submitted to Stevens for the purpose of securing an I-20 (F-1 visa) or a DS-2019 (J-1 visa) will also be required in their original form when applying for a student visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad, and when passing through Customs at the U.S. port of entry.
At the time of the visa application, students will be required to present evidence of sufficient funds for the first academic year, and at the discretion of the consular officer, may also be asked to demonstrate that equal funding will be made available for every year of study in the United States. Financial guarantee documents can come from various sources as outlined below:
Financial Documentation Requirements
- May be photocopies with the understanding that originals may be requested if necessary.
- Must be no more than 6 months old at time of submission.
- Documents must show liquid assets that can be immediately converted to U.S. dollars. Liquid funds are defined as money that is immediately accessible without any restrictions or penalties. A U.S.-based money market account is acceptable if it can be withdrawn immediately as cash in U.S. Dollars.
- Cash in a savings or checking bank account must be in excess of required estimated expenses.
- Joint accounts must include a Stevens Financial Information & Affidavit of Support signed by all account holders.
- All documents must be English.
- Official online bank statements are acceptable if they include the bank's letterhead or logo. Unofficial printouts of screens from an online banking account will not be accepted.
- Any financial document must show the account holder’s name, date, account number, the current balance, and the type of currency.
Acceptable Sources of Funds
Family or Friends
- Bank statement or letter must be on bank letterhead and include the name of the account holder, date, the current balance in the account, and type of currency, and be accompanied by Stevens’ Financial Information & Affidavit of Support.
- A bank statement for a family-owned business accompanied by Stevens’ Financial Information & Affidavit of Support and a copy of either the organization's annual report or copies of relevant support information from the organization's annual report. The employer's financial statement must show income high enough to cover the sponsor's own business plus the amount promised to the student.
- Certificates of deposit(s) in the sponsor’s name with a maturity date no later than the start date of the academic term, accompanied by Stevens’ Financial Information & Affidavit of Support.
- Salary Letter: Students with a U.S. sponsor may provide proof of sponsor’s current annual salary in the form of an employment verification letter from a U.S. employer (issued the same year as the I-20 application). The letter must list the name of the employee, the current annual salary, be on company letterhead and be signed by the employee's supervisor or an individual in the HR department. Funding is calculated as ¼ the salary if the person has zero dependents, 1/5 with 1-2 dependents, and 1/6 with 3-4 dependents.
Self-funding (Personal Funds)
- Bank statement on bank letterhead dated no more than 6 months old at the time of submission showing your name, date, account number, the current balance and type of currency. If you are using a private loan, you must provide a statement from the lender showing your name as the loan holder, the amount of the loan, the date the loan takes effect, and the conditions of the loan.
- Certificates of deposit(s) in your name with a maturity date no later than the start date of the academic term
Government or other Scholarship Funding
- Award letter must be on the organization’s official letterhead, signed or stamped, and specify your name as the recipient of the funding and the amount, terms, and duration of the funding
, (including specific start and end dates).
- Stevens’ Financial Information & Affidavit of Support accompanied by a letter from the employer on company letterhead, signed, and dated within the past six months detailing the sponsor’s financial commitment, and accompanied by either the organization's annual report or copies of relevant support information from the organization's annual report. The employer's financial statement must show income high enough to cover the sponsor's own business plus the amount promised to the student.
Stevens’ Scholarship or Graduate Assistantship
- The award letter must be on Stevens’ official letterhead, signed or stamped, and specify your name as the recipient of the funding and the amount, terms, and duration of the funding (including specific start and end dates)
- Students who will be requiring an I-20/DS-2019 for a dependent must submit additional proof of financial support to cover each dependent. For information on amounts, see the Financial Information & Affidavit of Support. Dependents may self-sponsor, showing proof of funding as described under the Self-funding (Personal Funds) section.
Unacceptable Financial Documentation
- Non-liquid funds such as stocks, bonds, life insurance, auto/land deeds.
- Value of neither property nor the proposed sale of such property or property and tax records.
- Business accounts listed in a company or business name unless they meet the requirements. outlined under “Employer” or “Family or Friends”.
- Solvency and opinion statement such as a bank letter that verifies "sufficient financial resources" is not acceptable form of financial support.
- Retirement funds.
- 401K, IRA or similar accounts.
- Accountant’s letters.
- Loan applications.
- Personal Property (jewelry, vehicles)
- Chartered Accountant Statements or other third party evaluations of funds.