Frequently Asked Questions

International Student Enrollment

Maintaining Status
How do I maintain my status?

The staff at the OISS is here to assist you; however, it is your responsibility to maintain your immigration status. When you sign your I-20 and use this document to enter the United States in F-1 status, you certify that you understand the terms and conditions concerning your admission to stay in the United States. Violation of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations will result in the loss of your student status and may result in deportation.

What will happen if I fail to maintain status?

An F-1 student who fails to maintain status must apply for reinstatement. The USCIS district director will consider reinstating a student to F-1 status if the student can prove the following:

  • The student has not been out of status for more than five months prior to filing for reinstatement (unless he or she can show that there were exceptional circumstances that prevented the student from filing during the five month period)
  • The student does not have a record of repeated violations
  • The student is pursuing, or will in the next available term be pursuing, a full course of study
  • The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment
  • The status violation 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 Designated School Official (DSO), but only if the violation relates to something that would have been within the DSO'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.

The following items are required for the reinstatement application:

  • Current I-20
  • Form I-539, Click here for form and instructions
  • Original I-94 card
  • Cashier's check or money order for $300.00, payable to Department of Homeland Security
  • Student and Exchange Vistor Information System (SEVIS) fee (if applicable): $200, Click here for online and paper-based payment options, additional information, and frequently asked questions.
  • Copy of current passport (must be valid for at least six more months)
What is considered a full course of study?

Note: Only one online class (or up to three credits) per semester is allowed to count towards the full course of study requirement for an F-1 student.

Undergraduate

  • 12 credit hours minimum in both fall and winter
  • Summer semester enrollment is not mandatory; the summer semester is considered annual vacation for undergraduate students

Master's

  • 6 credit hours minimum (3 credit hours minimum during dissertation/thesis or qualifying exams)
  • Important: If a program requires enrollment that exceeds the enrollment specified here, then the student must comply with the program specific policy.

Doctorate

  • 1 doctoral level class or enrollment in dissertation/thesis
  • Important: If a program requires enrollment that exceeds the enrollment specified here, then the student must comply with the program specific policy.

Annual Vacations

Annual vacations are taken in the summer semester except for the following program:

  • Business School - Master's Program (Day and Weekend)

This program requires that international students complete three consecutive semesters before taking a vacation break. Business School students who wish to take a vacation must also complete a Reduced Course Load (RCL) form.

What if I cannot maintain a full course of study?

Immigration regulations require international students on an F1-visa to maintain a full course of study. However, the OISS may authorize reduced enrollment for the following reasons:

  • Initial difficulty with the English language or reading requirements
  • Initial unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods
  • Improper course level placement
  • Last semester at Nova Southeastern University
  • Illness or medical condition *

Reduced enrollment for any of the reasons listed above is only available for one semester (except for illness/medical condition.) Students must resume a full course of study at the next available semester. The reduced course load must consist of at least half the credit hours required for a full course of study.

* A reduced course load (or, if necessary, no course load) may be authorized due to a student's temporary illness or medical condition for a period of time not to exceed a total of 12 months. In order to authorize a reduced course load the student must submit a Reduced Course Load Authorization Form along with documentation from a licensed physician for each semester requested.

A student who drops below a full course of study without prior authorization will be considered out of status.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is a government-mandated, Internet-based system that provides users with access to information regarding F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. SEVIS links educational institutions authorized to admit and enroll international students to U.S. Embassies, Consulates, ports of entry, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How does SEVIS work?
  • Once a student is admitted to Nova Southeastern University, the student's information is entered into SEVIS and a bar-coded I-20 is issued.
  • The student then visits a U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad to acquire the F-1 visa. The Consulate/Embassy confirms that the I-20 is valid and issues the visa.
  • When the student enters the U.S., the immigration officer records the event in SEVIS.
  • The student then reports to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at NSU to confirm arrival so that we can notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), that the student has begun classes.
  • NSU continues to provide regular electronic reports to USCIS throughout the student's academic career.
  • Finally, when the student completes his or her program of study and any practical training, the departure from the U.S. is recorded in SEVIS.

Emergency Information

Hurricane Emergency Evacuation
If I am required to evacuate the university and/or place of residence, what items should I take?
  1. Take all important documents with you, including your passport, visa, SEVIS I-20 (or DS-2019), I-94 and Social Security cards, financial records, plane tickets, checks, and credit cards.
  2. Take a list of contact numbers and email addresses. If you are displaced, let our office know by contacting us at intl@nova.edu or 1-800-541-6682, ext. 27240. If you cannot get in touch with our office, please contact the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at sevis.source@dhs.gov or call 1-800-961-5294 and let them know where you are and how to contact you.
  3. In the unlikely event that circumstances require you to transfer to a different school, check the SEVP Web site at www.ice.gov/sevis/ or call 1-800-961-5294 to determine if your new institution is on the list of certified schools.

Employment

On-Campus Student Employment
Can international students work on campus?

Nonimmigrant students in F-1 or J-1 status are eligible to work at the school which they are attending and which issued them their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-20 (F-1) and SEVIS DS-2019 (J-1) Forms. To be considered eligible for on-campus employment, a student must be in lawful F-1 or J-1 student status and enrolled full-time.

Your eligibility for on-campus employment is in effect ONLY as long as you are maintaining lawful nonimmigrant F-1 or J-1 student status (refer to Rules for Maintaining Lawful F-1 Status in the United States and Rules for Maintaining Lawful J-1 Status in the United States). If you violate your status, you become ineligible for on-campus employment, because on-campus employment is a benefit granted only to those students who maintain lawful status.

If you were to violate your status and continued working on-campus, you would be engaging in illegal employment, and would potentially risk deportation. You would also jeopardize your eligibility for any future benefits from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS), such as "practical training," "academic training," and/or adjustment to another non-immigrant status.

How soon can I work on campus after I have arrived in the U.S.?

A student who enters the U.S. on an "initial attendance" I-20 may begin employment on campus no more than 30 days before the start date listed on her I-20. Transfer students may begin on-campus employment within the same 30-day period, but only after completion of their legal transfer to Nova Southeastern University. (Transfer students should confirm directly with the ISO that their transfer is complete before engaging in on-campus employment.)

Off-Campus Student Employment
How can I learn more about my eligibility to work off-campus?

Off-campus employment is available to nonimmigrants in F-1 and J-1 student status under certain conditions. You may begin off-campus employment only AFTER you have obtained authorization to do so.

Options for F-1 students

Optional Practical Training (OPT): Optional practical training is off-campus work authorization that may be obtained from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) to accept employment in your academic field. You are eligible to apply for OPT once you have maintained your F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year. F-1 students are eligible for 12 months of optional practical training in their program of study. New regulations allow F-1 students to apply for a second period of OPT based on a second degree at a higher educational level (example: a student who has already completed a U.S. bachelor's degree who goes on to pursue a master's degree). However, there are very specific restrictions and timetables stipulated in the new regulations related to this benefit.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): CPT is off-campus work authorization that may be obtained from the International Student Office to accept employment in your academic field. You are eligible to apply for CPT once you have maintained your F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year. CPT requires that you receive academic credit for the work experience for which you are requesting authorization.

Economic Hardship: Work permission based on unforeseen severe economic hardship is available to students who have maintained lawful F-1 status for a minimum of one academic year and who can demonstrate that they have suffered an unforeseen change in their financial circumstances. For more information, please call the OISS at (954) 262-7240 to schedule an appointment.

Options for J-1 students

Academic Training: Academic Training allows students in J-1 status to gain practical experience in their major field of study. Academic Training authorization permits you to take a job that is directly related to your field of study and appropriate to your educational level. You may apply for academic training either prior to or after completion of studies. Please schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor for questions regarding academic training.

Economic Hardship: Work permission based on unforeseen severe economic hardship is available to students who have maintained lawful J-1 status for one academic year, are currently in good academic standing, can demonstrate that they have suffered an unforeseen change in their financial circumstances, and have found that on-campus work opportunities are not available or adequate. For more information, please call the OISS at (954) 262-7240 to schedule an appointment.

How many hours per week am I eligible to work? If I am doing Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and on-campus work, does the same weekly limit apply?

All forms of employment (both on-campus and off-campus) are limited to a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session. For example, if a student has two jobs and works 12 hours/week at the first job, he may only work up to eight hours/week at the second job.

The 20-hour limit applies each week, meaning that a student can work no more than 20 hours in any given week. For instance, a student cannot work 23 hours one week and 17 the next (which averages out at 20 hours/week); to do so would constitute illegal employment, as the student worked more than 20 hours in the first week. Students who are maintaining their status are eligible to work full-time during holidays and annual vacation periods, provided they intend to register for the next academic session.

Do I need to get work authorization for unpaid internships or volunteer opportunities?

Because the U.S. government's definition of "employment" is relatively broad, the vast majority of off-campus professional opportunities will require some form of legal authorization well in advance of participation. When in doubt, please make an appointment to meet with an OISS advisor to discuss the nature of your prospective opportunity.

Social Security and Tax Issues

Social Security for International Students
What do I have to do to work in the United States?

If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact the Office of International Student and Scholars (OISS). OISS can tell you if you are eligible to work on campus. Also, OISS may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. If OISS authorized you to work on or off-campus and you meet Social Security's eligibility requirements described in the next section, you can get a Social Security number.

How do I apply for a Social Security number?

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. To apply for a Social Security number:

  • Complete an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
  • Show original documents proving your:
    • immigration status,
    • work eligibility,
    • age, and
    • identity.
  • Take your completed application and original documents to your local Social Security office.

Immigration status

To prove your immigration status, you must show your Social Security Office the current U.S. immigration document, I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to you when you arrived in the United States. If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show your I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show your DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from OISS that identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing. The Social Security Office will also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • your job,
  • your employment start date,
  • the number of hours you are, or will be, working, and
  • your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must present your Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by an OISS official.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student and are authorized to work off-campus, you must present the Employment Authorization Document (I-766 or I-688B) you received from DHS.

If you are a J-1 student, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

Age

You must present your birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, the Social Security Office can consider other documents, such as your passport, or a document issued by DHS, to prove your age.

Identity

The Social Security Office can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information, and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable immigration documents include your:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport),
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport, or
  • Work permit card from DHS (I-766 or I-688B).

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. They also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document. Social Security may use one document for two purposes. For example, they may use your DHS work permit as proof of both work eligibility and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Do I need a Social Security number before I start working?

The Social Security Office does not require you to have a Social Security number before you start work. However, the Internal Revenue Service requires employers to report wages using a Social Security number. While you wait for your Social Security number, your employer can use a letter from Social Security stating that you applied for a number. Your employer may use your immigration documents as proof of your authorization to work in the United States.

How do I contact Social Security?

Social Security's Web site is a valuable resource for information about all of its programs. There are a number of things you can do online.

In addition to using the Web site, you can call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. Automated phone service is available 24 hours a day. You may use this service to update your address. To speak to a customer service representative call between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Social Security Office closest to the main campus is located at:

3511 North Pine Island Road
Sunrise, FL 33351
Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday - Friday.
Click here for map to office

Tax Issues for Nonimmigrant Students

The staff at the Office of International Students does NOT give tax advice. For detailed tax information, please go to the Internal Revenue Service Web site at www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040.

Who needs to file a return?

If you are a nonresident alien doing business in the United States, you are required to file a tax return regardless of your income. (To "file a return" means to send it to the IRS, either through the mail or electronically.) You are considered to be engaged in business even if you are an employee working for wages. If you are a student or scholar visiting the United States on an F, J, M or Q visa, and are classified as a nonresident for U.S. tax purposes, you are required to file a tax return each year you are here if you have any income subject to U.S. income tax. Even if you are an exempt individual, you are required to file Form 8843 regardless of your income. Here is a description of the forms you are required to file:

  • Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, or, if you qualify, Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens with No Dependents
  • Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition, is required if you are an "exempt individual." This does not mean you are exempt from paying U.S. taxes, but that you are exempt from the substantial presence test for determining residency status.
What happens if you don't file?

Studies have shown that most nonresidents either do not file a return, or file incorrectly. However, it has also been shown that there is massive overpayment of U.S. taxes by nonresidents who do not file, rather than underpayment (J.W. Antenucci, "Widespread Noncompliance and Overpayment of Taxes by Foreign Scholars," Tax Notes, May 13, 1996). Just because your employer has withheld tax from your wages does not mean that you have paid the proper amount. You could have a sizeable refund due! If you do not have a tax liability, you might be wondering what will happen if you do not file a return. Well, the IRS will not impose penalties if no tax is due. However, the terms of your visa require you to comply with all laws of the United States, including the requirement to file an income tax return. You might be required to show proof that you filed if you wish to change your visa status, obtain permanent residency, or regain entry into the United States once you have left. Don't risk your visa status by failing to comply with this requirement.

When and where to file?

If you received wages subject to U.S. tax withholding, the due date for filing your tax return is April 15 of the following year. If you did not receive taxable wages during the year, the due date for filing your tax return is June 15 of the following year. Your Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ (including Form 8843) must be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service Center
Philadelphia, PA 19255

How to choose a paid preparer?

If your tax situation is complex, seek the aid of a professional tax preparer. Unfortunately, there are relatively few preparers who have experience in returns for foreign nationals. Be sure to ask prospective preparers if they are familiar with Form 1040NR and the rules applicable to F-1 and J-1 visa holders. Do not engage a preparer who is not. The professional designations of "Certified Public Accountant" or "Enrolled Agent" are indications of a preparer's competency, but are not guarantees. Most tax preparers charge on a per hour basis rather than a fixed fee. If a preparer will not state an exact fee in advance, you should at least be told the maximum amount that you might have to pay. Even if you are planning to hire a preparer, it's best to learn as much as you can on your own.

How to file your own return?

The first thing you must do is to determine whether you are a resident, a nonresident, or a dual-status alien for tax purposes. These titles do not relate to your immigration status. Even though you are a citizen of another country, you might still be considered a U.S. resident for U.S. tax purposes. This is an important first step because it determines whether you must file, what form to file, and whether you are eligible for treaty benefits. The first few pages of IRS Publication 519 explain how to determine your residency status.

If you determine that you are a nonresident or a dual-status alien, most information you will need to complete your nonresident return is contained in two U.S. Internal Revenue Service booklets and the instructions to forms 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. The IRS booklets are Publication 519 (U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens) and Publication 901 (U.S. Tax Treaties). If you are a resident of Canada, you will also find Publication 597 (Information on the United States-Canada Income Tax Treaty) helpful. All of this material can be obtained from the IRS Web site at Forms and Publications. Here is a complete list of all the forms and publications you should need.

  • Form 1040NR and Instructions or Form 1040NR-EZ and Instructions
  • Form 8843
  • Form 843 (for improperly withheld social security tax)
  • Publication 519
  • Publication 901
  • Publication 597 (if you are from Canada)

Reading the first page of the instructions to Form 1040NR-EZ will tell you if you can use this shorter form. If you do not qualify, use Form 1040NR.

Travel

F-Nonimmigrants: Entry and Exit

Reentry For F-1 Nonimmigrants Traveling Outside The United States For Five Months or Less

What are the basic requirements for an F-1 to reenter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business?
  • A Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your Designated School Official (DSO)
  • You have been out of the United States for less than five months
  • A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry. You may find detailed passport information and relevant updates at http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
  • A valid, current visa
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses

Bringing your most recent I-94, Departure Card, will facilitate your reentry, if reentering through a land port of entry (POE). If you are flying, the airline will collect your I-94 prior to departure and you will complete a new one upon reentry.

What if I have an expired passport or one that will expire in less than six months?

You must renew your passport before reentering the United States. In most cases, to enter the United States, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or reenter.

However, some countries have an agreement with the United States that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration.

Try to keep your passport current at all times. You need to determine your country's requirements for renewing passports as well as the time it will take. Many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the United States. The other alternative is to renew your passport when you return home for a visit.

You may want to delay leaving the United States until you have renewed your passport. You will not be able to reenter the country without a valid passport.

If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use it if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you reenter the country.

What if my F-1 student visa has expired?

You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.

Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for your visa application and allow sufficient time for processing a new visa. The documentation you may need for a new visa includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • A SEVIS Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO and your original Form I-20 (see your DSO before you travel)
  • Original evidence showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
  • Evidence showing your intention to return to your home country upon program completion, including evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country
  • If you have applied for or had optional practical training (OPT) approved, bring a copy of your Form I-20 endorsed for OPT and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if one has been issued

The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State Web site at www.state.gov and enter "visa application forms" in the search box.

You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until your visa has been issued. In some cases, this could take several weeks if a background check is required. If your visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the Department of State Web site for specific information pertaining to each consulate.

If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.

I wish to travel to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands (other than Cuba) adjacent to the United States. Can I return if my visa is expired?

Yes, in most cases. You can usually revalidate an expired visa automatically when returning from a visit of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States (other than Cuba) provided that you have a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.

However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically revalidate your visa.

  • You applied for a new visa and it has not been issued
  • You applied for a new visa and were denied
  • You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status
  • You have been out the United States for more than 30 days
  • You are a citizen of one of the following countries:
    • Cuba
    • Iran
    • Iraq
    • Libya
    • North Korea
    • Sudan
    • Syria
Which islands are defined as "adjacent islands"?

The adjacent islands are:

  • Saint Pierre
  • Miquelon
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • The Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Other British, French, and Dutch territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea
Do I need a valid visa to visit Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

No. You will need a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.

How do I know if I have a terminated record in SEVIS?

Your Designated School Official (DSO) can tell you what your SEVIS record status is and give you appropriate travel-related advice.

I want to travel outside the United States, but my SEVIS record has been terminated. Can I return if I travel?

If you need to travel on a terminated record, you must visit your DSO. If your school has requested a data fix, the DSO will put your help desk ticket number on your Form I-20 and report your pending travel to SEVP.

There is no guarantee you will be readmitted to the United States if you travel on a terminated record. In most cases, inspectors will allow you to reenter the United States if you are otherwise admissible and your DSO has properly annotated your Form I-20. It is likely, however, you will be sent to secondary inspection while border officials determine whether you are eligible to return to the United States.

Can I travel outside the United States if I have a Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjustment of Status Application) pending?

No, not without advance permission. If you depart the United States with a pending I-485, you have abandoned your application unless you receive permission in advance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to return to the United States. This permission is called Advance Parole. See the USCIS Web site for more information. You need to plan in advance. You can check the USCIS Web site to find out the processing time at the various Service Centers.

You may also be considered ineligible to return to the United States as an F-1 student, because your application to change status to that of a permanent resident is evidence of intent to immigrate, which is inconsistent with nonimmigrant student status.

Can I reestablish F-1 student status by obtaining a new initial Form I-20 and reentering the United States?

Yes. However, you will be considered an initial student for SEVIS purposes. You will have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and any time that you have accrued towards qualification for training or employment is lost.

You must have the new SEVIS Form I-20 showing that you are entering on a new SEVIS ID number.

You should be aware that the border inspecting officer will determine whether or not to admit you to the United States with the new SEVIS Form I-20. If you did not comply with the terms of your status during a prior stay in the United States, CBP may decide that you are not eligible to reenter.

Can I reenter if my request for OPT is pending?

Yes, you may reenter to search for employment.

Can I reenter if I left while on OPT?

If your OPT has been approved and you depart before you get a job, your OPT ends and you cannot reenter unless you have a written job offer.

If you have a job, you may travel and reenter to resume work at the same job or you have a written offer for another job.

Are there any other requirements for travel outside the United States?

The questions above outline the general requirements for reentry for F-1 students. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult your Designated School Official (DSO), embassy, or legal advisor before traveling. If you discuss your travel plans as soon as possible, this will allow time to ensure you have proper documentation for travel.

If you are not returning to your home country, you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries will require a visa. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Be sure to check before you travel. Most countries have immigration Web sites that provide visa information.

Renewing Your F-1 Student Visa
Can I stay in the United States if my student visa has expired?

Yes, as long as you are student in good standing and have not violated your status, you may legally remain in the United States with an expired F-1 visa.

Can I renew my student visa while in the United States?

No. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State Web site at www.state.gov.

Can I renew my visa while outside the United States in a country other than my home country?

Yes, but the Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State Web site at www.state.gov/.

Before you travel to a country other than yours to renew your visa, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If you exit the United States and apply for a visa, you cannot return to the United States until the visa is issued. This could require a lengthy stay. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student.

Can I go to Canada or Mexico and apply for a new visa?

In some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the United States until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State Web site at www.state.gov.

Applying for a new visa is not the same as automatic visa revalidation. You cannot apply for a new visa and take advantage of automatic visa revalidation at the same time.

What is automatic visa revalidation?

Automatic visa revalidation allows most F-1 students to take a trip of less than 30 days to countries contiguous to the United States and reenter on an expired visa provided the student has proper documentation and has not applied for a new visa during the visit. This process revalidates a student's visa (making it eligible for the single trip), but does not renew it.

Reentry for F-1 Nonimmigrants
What documents do the spouse and minor children of a continuing F-1 student need to reenter to the United States after traveling abroad?

If you are the spouse or minor child of a continuing student you need to have the following:

  • A current SEVIS Form I-20 in your name (and one for each M-2 traveling)
  • A valid passport unless you are from a visa exempt country
  • A valid visa unless you are from a visa exempt country or, in some cases, you are traveling to a contiguous country

The primary (F-1) must be in active student status - check with your Designated School Official (DSO) before traveling to verify the primary's status

Do F-2 nonimmigrants have to travel with the primary (F-1)?

No. However, you must be able to show that your primary (F-1) has been admitted and has maintained student status. We recommend that you consult with the DSO from your primary's school to ensure the F-1 is in status before traveling.

If your primary (F-1) has a request for optional practical training (OPT) pending or approved, you will need additional documentation. Make a copy of the primary's Form I-20 with the page 3 annotations and/or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and be prepared to present it at the consulate and your point of entry.

If the primary (F-1) travels, can the F-2 nonimmigrant family members remain in the United States?

F-2 nonimmigrant family members may stay in the United States without the primary if the primary:

  • is in valid status
  • will return after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number
Are there any other requirements for F-2 nonimmigrants to travel outside the United States?

The questions above outline the general reentry requirements for F-2 nonimmigrants. If you have questions, consult with the Designated School Official (DSO) at your primary's school or seek advice from your embassy or legal advisor. However, if you are not returning to your country of citizenship, you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries will require a visa. You may also need a visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Be sure to check before you travel.

Your Payments

How do I know how much I owe?

Bills are sent in the middle of each month to your NSU email in the form of an e-Bill. You will receive an email with a link to sign into a secure site and view your billing information. Credit card and electronic check payments can be made from this site.

How do I give access to other people to view my account?

If you wish to have another individual view your student account balance and details, you must authorize that individual. After you sign into eBill on the top menu bar click "Authorized Users." You will put in the individuals email and level of authorization. The individual will then get an email where they will create their own PIN. When the eBill is generated, all authorized users will receive an email notification sent to their email address. You can have as many Authorized Users as you wish, but YOU MUST SIGN THEM UP.

What are the steps I need to follow if I am being sponsored?

If you have a Sponsor who is financing your education and requires an invoice of costs, you must contact the Office of the Bursar EVERY time you register. The best way to do this is by visiting the One-stop-shop at the Horvitz Building, or you can also e-mail bursar@nova.edu to let them know that you have registered. When you write your message, please include your NSU ID! This action will automatically generate an invoice that will be sent to the sponsoring institution. PLEASE do this every term to avoid unpaid accounts, and not being able to register for the next term's courses (And, as a result, jeopardizing your immigration status)

Where do I get additional information?

Additional Bursar policies and payment information can be found at: http://www.nova.edu/bursar/payment/index.html. If you have any questions contact bursar@nova.edu or call 1-800-541-6682 ext. 25200.