General Visa Information
New International Students
Once students are admitted to the University of Redlands, they will be issued an I-20 Form. Students will need this form in order to apply for F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy in their country. We will provide students with information on the procedures for applying for the visa, paying the SEVIS fee as well as the documents required for entry into the U.S.
New Transfer International Students
Students currently studying in the U.S. who transfer to the University of Redlands will be issued a new I-20 Form. Students must contact the International Student Analyst to complete the transfer within 15 days from the Program start date. Students who wish to transfer out to other institutions must inform the International Student Analyst of their intent to transfer and provide the complete name and the school code of the school to which they are transferring.
How to Maintain Your Student Status
It is extremely important for all F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors to maintain their status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status is one of the grounds for deportation from the United States. Students must maintain their status by doing the following:
- Report to the International Student Analyst to have their SEVIS record registered in SEVIS no later than 30 days after the program start date and each semester thereafter.
- Attend the school listed on the visa stamp and on the I-20 or DS-2019.
- Pursue a full course of study every semester, unless approved under specific exception, in advance, by the International Student Analyst.
- Make normal progress towards completing the course of study.
- Keep I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay, change in educational levels or program, and transfer of schools.
- Keep passport valid at all times.
- Report a change of address to the International Student Analyst within 10 days of occurrence, so that SEVIS can be updated.
- Not work, either on campus or off campus unless specifically authorized.
Students who fail to maintain their student status may be reinstated to lawful F-1 status at the discretion of USCIS, but only under the following limited conditions:
- Student has not been out of status for more than 5 months prior to filing for reinstatement
- Student does not have a record of repeated violations
- Student is pursuing, or will in the next available term be pursuing, a full course of study
- Student has not engaged in unauthorized employment
- Student is not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation for which reinstatement is being requested
- Status violation has resulted from either:
- Circumstances beyond the student’s control; or
- Failure to apply in a timely manner for a reduced course load authorization from the International Student Analyst, but only if the violation relates to something that would have been within the International Student Analyst’s authority to have approved, if it had been timely done, and that the student would experience extreme hardship if the application were not approved.
Form I-539 required to apply for Reinstatement is available on the USCIS site.
Change of Status
Please check with the International Student Analyst at (909) 748-8716 for advising on change of status to F-1 or J-1.
Employment for F-1 Students
F-1 students in good status can be employed in the U.S. during and after completion of studies only with authorization. F-2 dependents may NOT accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
- On Campus Employment: Basic guidelines: Students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session. They may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the student’s annual break. F 1 students should report their work to the International Student Advisor and receive a certification letter to present to the Social Security Administration in order to be able to receive a social security number. Not complying with these guidelines for on-campus employment may be a violation of status that could result in the student having to leave the United States.
- Curricular Practical Training (CPT):
- For Undergraduate F-1 students: May be authorized after being registered for full time for one full academic year.
- For Graduate F-1 Students: May be is authorized before being enrolled for one academic year. This is only if the graduate program requires its students to engage in training prior to the one year condition.
This type of employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum: (off-campus job, or an internship as required by the student’s program.) Employment can be approved for 20 hours per week when school is in session, and more than 20 hours during school breaks. If students work full time during CPT, they lose eligibility for Optional Practical Training after completion of study. A written offer of employment is necessary.
- Optional Practical Training (OPT): This type of employment is optional for students who wish to work full time after graduation for 12 months, provided that it is used within 14 months of completion of study. However, OPT could be authorized before completion of studies (part time only) during school session, and (full time) during school breaks. Student must be enrolled full time for one academic year to be eligible for part time pre-completion OPT. Any full time OPT authorized before completion of studies will be DEDUCTED from after completion OPT. OPT must be closely related to the student’s field of study. A job offer is not necessary.
Deadline for Applying for OPT
F-1 students may apply for post-completion OPT up to 90 days before their program end date and up to 60 days after their program end date. Application must be properly filed within 30 days of the date the student’s DSO recommends OPT in SEVIS.
17 Months Extension of OPT for F-1 Students with a STEM Degree: To find out if your degree is on the STEM List please go to this website: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm
F-1 students who completed a bachelor’s, or master’s, degree in a STEM field and are currently engaged in post-completion OPT may apply for the STEM extension if they have a job or job offer from an E-Verify employer.
Deadline to Apply for OPT Extension
The student must ensure that the Form I-765, the supporting evidence and the fee payment reach the proper USCIS Service Center before his or her current OPT expires. USCIS recommends that students file within 90 and 120 days of the expiration date of the current OPT.
Student responsibilities while on STEM extension OPT
A student pursing a period of STEM extension OPT must:
Work in a paid position for an E-Verify employer at least 20 hours per week
Work in a position related to the STEM degree
Report to the DSO within 10 days of:
- Legal name change
- Change in residential or mailing address
- Change in employer, providing the employer name and address
- Loss of employment
- Send the DSO a validation report every six months starting from the date the STEM extension starts and ending when the student’s F-1 status ends or the STEM extension ends, whichever is first. The validation report is due to the DSO within 10 days of each reporting date and must include the student’s:
- Full legal name
- SEVIS identification number (if requested by the school)
- Current mailing and residential address
- Name and address of the current employer
- Date the student began working for the current employer
Limits on Periods of Unemployment during OPT and 17-month STEM OPT
Students on post-completion OPT may accrue up to 90 days of unemployment.
Students who receive a 17-month STEM OPT extension are given an additional 30 days of unemployment for a total of 120 days over their entire post-completion OPT period.
Employment for J-1 Exchange
Visitors J-1 students may engage in employment as described below. J-2 dependents are eligible to apply to USCIS for employment authorization so long as the employment is NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUPPORTING THE J-1 STUDENT.
The two types of employment available to J-1 students are:
- On-campus employment related to scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships could be authorized for 20 hours per week during school sessions and full time during school breaks.
- Academic training related to the student’s field of study (a letter of recommendation from the student’s academic advisor is required.) Academic training could be authorized for part time or full time. It could be authorized during student’s studies or commencing not later than 30 days after completion of studies.
Travel Requirements for F-1 Students
Documentation Required for Travel and Reentry for F-1 Active Students
F-1 students, who wish to travel into any country other than their home country, must check with the Embassy of the country they would like to visit to inquire about specific entry procedures. Review information provided by foreign embassies in the United States prior to your travel.
An F-1 student returning to the United States from a temporary absence (vacations or school breaks) must submit the following documents at the port of entry:
- A valid passport
- A valid visa
- A current I-20 Form signed by the International Student Analyst/DSO for re-entry within the preceding six months.
- If a student has transferred schools in the U.S., an F-1 student may re-enter with an unexpired F-1 visa and Form I-20 from the new school without having the new school’s name annotated on the visa.
Documentation Required for Travel for Students on Optional Practical Training
An F-1 student who is engaged in OPT following completion of studies who travels outside the U.S. temporarily (less than 5 months) can be readmitted to resume employment for the remainder of the period on his or her EAD card, provided the student is returning to resume employment and presents:
- Form I-20 signed by the DSO within the preceding 6 months.
- An unexpired EAD.
If the students OPT has been approved and they depart before they get a job, their OPT ends and they cannot re-enter. It is advisable to have a job offer letter to present at port of entry.
Departure and Reentry While OPT is Pending
If an F-1 student needs to travel temporarily while OPT application is in pending status, the student may present the I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) as a proof of eligibility for visa and re-entry to the U.S.
Travel Requirements for J-1 Exchange Visitors
Documentation Required for Travel and Reentry for J-1 Active Students:
- A valid passport
- A valid Visa
- A valid Form DS-2019, signed recently for reentry by the RO/ARO. The validation will be valid for up to one year for all programs except short-term scholars which is only valid for six months.
If the exchange visitor’s visa in the passport is no longer valid, the student must apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in the student’s home country. If the student is traveling only to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean for 30 days or less, the student might be allowed to return to the U.S. in the same status J-1 without having to obtain a new visa. This is known as automatic extension of visa validity.