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Student Immigration Guide

CSI Services
Student Advising
The international advisor is available Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, to schedule an appointment, please call (208)732-6235.
Essential Documents

Your passport must be valid for 6 months into the future at all times while in the U.S. If it is expiring, you should contact the embassy/consulate office of your home country within the U.S. to start the renewal process.
Foreign embassy/consulate offices in the U.S.:

F-1 Visa Stamp
Your F-1 Visa stamp is just permission to enter the U.S. as an international student. It has nothing to do with your authorized length of stay in the country. Your Visa can be expired while you remain in the U.S. to pursue your program of study. A Visa can only be secured at a U.S. embassy/consulate office overseas. It is always recommended that you apply for a Visa in your home country.

I-94 Card
It’s a very important document for your status. Your I-94 card for "F-1 D/S" and a current I-20 are what allow you to remain in the country as an F-1 student. D/S stands for "duration of status" meaning that you are permitted to stay in the U.S. as long as you pursue your program of study that is documented on your I-20.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records. Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.If travelers need the information from their form I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number and other admission information they are encouraged to get their I-94 number by clicking here.

Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility
An I-20 is issued by the U.S. school you attend and allows you to: 1) apply for an F-1 Visa; 2) enter/re-enter the U.S. to pursue your program of study; and 3) receive other immigration benefits. The I-20 must remain current at all times throughout your study. If you cannot complete your program before the end date on the document, you must apply for a program extension with the International Student Services office prior to the end date. Similarly, if any of the information on the document changes (i.e, legal name, major, and source of funding, educational level) you must obtain a new I-20.

Address Update

You must report your current residential address to the Immigration Services within 10 days of a move. Addresses you provide in MyCSI are automatically sent to the Immigration Services via SEVIS. Please update your local address in MyCSI when you move.


Full Course of Study
F-1 students must pursue a full course of study each semester to maintain lawful status. "Full course of study" is defined as 12 semester credits for undergraduate students.

Only one on-line course (or 3 credits) can be counted toward the full-time course load. Students are eligible for summer vacation if they intend to enroll in the following fall semester.

Concurrent Enrollment
If you plan to concurrently enroll for a few credits at another U.S. institution (e.g. junior college) during the regular academic year, you must contact the International Student Services office advisor in advance to complete necessary paperwork to ensure you maintain the full course of study.

Reduced Course Load (RCL)
Students may enroll part-time due to valid academic/medical reasons during the regular academic year if they obtain a Part Time Request Form authorization from International Student Services Office in advance. You must meet with the International Student Services office advisor to determine if you are eligible for the benefit.

Request to Add/Drop/Withdraw
After the 10th day of each semester, a registration hold is placed on all F-1 students. This is to prevent students from inadvertently falling below the full-time course load without RCL authorization.
In order to add, drop, or withdraw from courses after the 10th day of the semester, you must complete a request form at International Student Services Office. You will not be able to change your course schedule on-line.

Academic Deficiency
Academic deficiency affects your lawful F-1 status. If you become deficient, you must seek academic reinstatement through CSI Student Advising & Registration Center in order to continue at CSI. Meet with an International Student Services office advisor to discuss your options following deficiency or reinstatement denial.

Cancellation of Enrollment
To cancel all your courses in the middle of a semester, you must complete an on-line request form at MyCSI. You must also notify the International Student Services office of your cancellation during the academic year. Once your cancellation is approved, you must depart the U.S. within 15 days to maintain status except for authorized medical RCL.


Your current F-1 program terminates if your absence from the U.S. is over 5 months unless you have been authorized for study/research abroad.

Travel Endorsement
You need to obtain a signature from the international program office advisor on page 3 of your current I-20 in order to travel outside the U.S. and re-enter as a continuing F-1 student. Although a travel signature is valid for one year from the date issued, the International Student Services office recommends that you request a new signature if the previous one will be over 6 months old at the time of reentry. Allow one week for a travel endorsement request.

Required Documents for Reentry

  • Valid passport.
  • Valid F-1 Visa (except for short trips to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands).
  • Current I-20 with a travel endorsement.
  • Financial documentation (e.g. bank statement, assistantship/scholarship letter).

Automatic Revalidation
Most lawful F-1 students are eligible for automatic revalidation of Visa. This allows students to travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands (except Cuba) and reenter the U.S. on an expired F-1 Visa as long as the trip does not exceed 30 days and you have an I-94 card in your passport.
The following individuals are not eligible for the automatic revalidation.

  • Any F-1 students who apply for a new visa in Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Islands.
  • Citizens of "state sponsors of terrorism" designated by the U.S. Dept. of State;
Social Security Number

F-1 students are eligible to apply for a social security number (SSN) only if they have secured on-campus employment or obtained employment authorization (e.g. Curricular/Optional Practical Training). Please check with the International Student Services office about the SSN application procedures. 

All international students and their accompanying dependents must comply with the U.S. tax regulations regardless of their income status in the U.S. International Student Services Office provides tax resources each spring prior to the tax filing deadline on April 15.
Please read the Immigration Advisories for tax-related information and updates.


Definition of Employment
"Employment" is any work performed or services provided in exchange for money, compensation or other benefits.

On-Campus Employment

  • May work up to 19 hours per week while school is in session (full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during the annual break).
  • Students should report their work to the International Student Services s office and receive a certification letter to present to the Social Security Administration in order to be able to receive a Social Security number.

Off-Campus Employment
All off-campus employment requires prior authorization either from International Program Office or the Immigration Services. You must meet with an International Program Office advisor to discuss your off-campus employment eligibility in advance. In most cases, you must be a full-time student in lawful status for one academic year before you are eligible to apply for off-campus employment authorization. Most common types of off-campus employment authorization for F-1 students are Curricular/Optional Practical Training.

Departure From CSI

Completion of Program
F-1 students who successfully complete a program of study have 60 days to take one of the following actions unless you have applied for an Optional Practical Training prior to degree completion.

  • Depart the U.S.
  • Initiate the SEVIS transfer or change of level to begin a new educational program
  • Change non-immigration status to remain lawfully in the U.S.

School Transfer
If you intend to transfer to another U.S. school, you must complete a Transfer-out Request Form. Once an International Student Services Office advisor verifies your eligibility for school transfer, your SEVIS record will be released to a new school. Then the new school issues you an I-20.