The F-1 visa is intended for non-immigrants wishing to pursue academic studies and/or language training programs for a period of time in the United States. The F-1 visa program is managed by a shared database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). F-1 students are granted permission to remain in the United States until the completion date noted on the Form I-20 plus 60 days provided they remain enrolled full-time and meet all other terms and conditions of the F-1 status.
Form I-20 (Certificate of Visa Eligibility)
Students who (1) are fully admitted, (2) need a student visa to enter the United States to study at Norwich (except Canadian citizens), and (3) have documented their ability to finance their education will receive a Certificate of Visa Eligibility, Form I-20. This document certifies eligibility for an F-1 visa. You must apply for the F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, and must show Form I-20 to the immigration inspector when you enter the United States. The I-20 is processed and issued through SEVIS (the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System).
The initial I-20 that you used to enter the United States and which was stamped by the Department of Homeland Security is an important immigration document. Copy all pages, and keep them with your records. If you lose your I-20, alert the Norwich University’s International Center.
The Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant J-1 Exchange Visitor Status is the Form DS-2019. This document is issued by the program sponsor (the university, government agency, or other organization sponsoring the visit) through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for presentation at a U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. It must also be presented to an immigration inspector upon entry into the United States. You must keep all DS-2019s issued to you.
The initial DS-2019 that you use when you enter the country and stamped by the Department of Homeland Security is an important immigration document. Copy both sides to keep with your records. If you lose your DS-2019, alert the Norwich University International Center.
Form I-94 / Admission Stamp
All international travelers will be provided with proof that they have entered the country legally: an admission stamp in their passport marked “D/S” for duration of status and an electronic form I-94.
You can access your electronic I-94 entry record online and print a paper version of your I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/i94. The International Center will require you to submit a copy of your admission stamp and a copy of your entry record at the start of each semester. If you feel your record is not accurate, please notify the International Center so our staff may help you correct it.
- Common examples of errors include
- incorrect birthdates
- incorrect arrival or departure dates
- incorrect arrival or departure cities.
Often confused with the visa. Your immigration status (F-1 or J-1) is determined when you enter the United States by an immigration inspector and is indicated on the I-94 or on the admission stamp in your passport. You may have many visa stamps in your passport, but upon entry into the United States, an immigration inspector can admit you in only one immigration status. Verify that the correct status is indicated on your I-94 card or in your passport. Unlike your visa, your immigration status may be changed in the United States. The U.S. State Department provides further clarification on visas and visa status.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
SEVIS is a data-collection and monitoring system that interfaces between institutions of higher education, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Consulates, and ports of entry. Schools must regularly update student information in SEVIS each semester for each student, such as enrollment status, changes in address, changes in level of study, employment recommendations, and school transfers.
Students in F-1 or J-1 immigration status must maintain passports valid at least six months into the future. You must extend your passport through your embassy or during a trip home.
Your visa is issued by a U.S. Consulate abroad and placed in your passport. A visa permits you to apply for admission to the United States. The visa may expire while you are in the United States, but your permission to stay in the United States remains valid. All international students (with the exception of Canadian nationals) who request F-1 or J-1 immigration status must have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa in their passport at the time of entry to the United States.
Your visa specifies the type of immigration status you will hold (F-1 or J-1), the date until which you may enter the United States, and the number of times you may enter the United States before you must apply for a visa. The length of validity of each visa type is determined by an agreement between your home country and the U.S. government, and is not related to the length of your program of study. Please refer to the U.S. State Department Visa Reciprocity Tables for more information.
ALTHOUGH F-1 VISAS MAY BE ISSUED BY U.S. CONSULATES UP TO 120 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE PROGRAM START DATE, U.S. IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS DO NOT PERMIT F-1 AND J-1 STUDENTS TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES. MORE THAN 30 DAYS BEFORE THE PROGRAM START DATE. If you currently hold a valid F-1 or J-1 visa, you will not be permitted to apply for a visa renewal until 30 days or less before your current visa's expiration date.
F-1 or J-1 visas cannot be obtained in the United States You must apply for a new visa in person at a U.S. consulate abroad. The validity period of your visa does not determine the length of time you may remain in the United States. Your length of stay is determined by the completion date of your program that is indicated on Form I-20 or the DS2019. You are admitted to the United States for "duration of status," noted "D/S" on your I-94 card.
Legal Rights and Responsibilities
The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to all people, not just U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Nonimmigrants in the United States receive many of the same constitutional protections as U.S. citizens; at the same time, nonimmigrants are subject to U.S. federal immigration laws that do not apply to U.S. citizens.
Your Legal Rights
International students enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and other rights included in the U.S. Constitution.
Non-immigrants are protected against discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, color, and national origin. Federal, state, municipal, and university rules exist to protect citizens and nonimmigrants from most forms of discrimination.
Your Immigration-Related Responsibilities
Report Address Changes
U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 and J-1 students to report a change of address within 10 days. You must update your address even if you are switching rooms from within the same building. The International Center will not be automatically notified of your address change so you must always notify us whenever you move.
Access your Norwich email account as soon as possible after being admitted. You will receive periodic emails from the International Center; this is our main method of updating students on important regulations. We will not routinely send emails to personal email accounts unless you cease to be a Norwich University student.
You must maintain a valid passport at all times. This is a requirement of your student visa status while in the U.S.
Report Changes in Academic Program to the International Center
Students must notify the International Center whenever there is a change in their academic program (for example, a change of major or an extension of stay.)
Change of Major [link to form] Extension of Stay [link to form]
Apply for an Extension of Stay Before I-20 or DS-2019 Expiration
Students must apply for an extension of stay before Form I-20 or DS-2019 expires. It is not possible to extend the I-20 or DS-2019 after it has expired.
Extension of Stay [link to form]
If transferring to another U.S. school, request the transfer of your SEVIS Record (I-20 or DS-2019)
Students must request the transfer of the SEVIS record (I-20 or DS-2019) before transferring to another institution. You must transfer your SEVIS record to maintain your immigration status. For more information please click here [link to “Traveling in the U.S./Leaving the U.S.”]
Transfer Out [link to form]
Obtain Travel Signature Before Departing the United States
You must obtain a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 before departing the United States. Failure to do so may cause issues when you attempt to return to the U.S. Travel signatures are valid for 6 months. Visit our office during regular office hours to receive a travel signature.
Depart the United States within your Grace Period
F-1 students: You must depart the United States within 60 days of the I-20 expiration date or your program end date or when you graduate, whichever is earlier, unless you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT). If you are on post-completion OPT, you have a 60-day grace period following the completion date of your OPT.
J-1 students: You must depart the United States within 30 days of the DS-2019 expiration date or your program end date, whichever is earlier.
On Campus: F-1 students in valid status may work a maximum of 20 hours per week on campus during the semester. During spring, summer and winter breaks, students may work up to 40 hours per week.
Off Campus: Off-campus employment requires written authorization from the International Center.
To get forms or to learn more about these topics, click here.
Under U.S. immigration law, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient funds available for study in the United States for you and your dependents, as applicable. Note: If a financial document is under someone else's name, the account holder must sign the Declaration of Finance Form to be submitted with the financial document (i.e. bank statement or letter of loan guarantee)
Students will often be required to submit such documents
1) after admission but before issuance of an I-20
2) after re-admission but before issuance of an I-10
3) to extend your program end date.
Financial documents must clearly state bank name or logo, account number (partial is acceptable), account holder's name, date of statement, and account balance. Date on financial document cannot be more than 90 days ago.
Acceptable Financial Documents *
Unacceptable Financial Documents
*If you have another type of financial document, please submit the financial documentation as requested. We will review your document and let you know if it is acceptable.
Employment and Practical Training
Definition of Employment
Employment is defined as any type of work performed or services provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food, or any other compensation.
Employment Eligibility Verification
Within the first three days of beginning work, the employee and employer must complete a form entitled Employment Eligibility Verification (USCIS Form I-9), which will be kept by the employer. To complete the Form I-9, students may need to show their passports, visa documents or other documents proving that they are authorized to be employed in the United States. The Form I-9 must be updated each time the work permission is renewed or there is a change of employer. Anyone earning income in the United States is required to have a U.S. Social Security Number.
Notes of Caution
One should not assume that students are automatically eligible to work in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services considers unauthorized employment to be the most serious violation of F-1 status. Students should consult the International Center before accepting or beginning any employment. The International Center can help with matters pertaining to applications for employment authorization.
All students are required to have valid health insurance while a student at Norwich University. All international students will automatically be enrolled in the university plan unless you can demonstrate that you have a comparable plan that not only covers you if you are injured or sick but also provides the following benefits:
- Emergency medical and travel assistance
- Medical evacuation
- Repatriation of remains
For more information about the university plan, click here.
Depending upon your circumstances, your procedure for departing the United States may be different. Review the information in the section below that applies to your situation.
Recommended documents to carry when travelling internationally. Only show documents requested.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Card
- Passport valid at least six months into the future
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature.
Information on the I-20 says that the travel signature is valid for one year. However, based on recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidance, the International Center recommends you get a new travel signature if you will re-enter the United States more than six months from your last travel signature.
Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in passport
Financial Documentation (bank statement, scholarship/assistantship letter)
Proof of enrollment (transcript, printout of current enrollment, and next semester’s enrollment, if available)
Renewing a Student Visa
You cannot renew your student visa stamp in the United States. Except in rare cases, you must have a valid visa to re-enter the United States. It is not guaranteed that the U.S. consulate will renew your visa. If your F-1 visa application is denied, you will not be able to re-enter to the U.S. for the purpose of completing your studies.
Visa applicants should note the following:
Applicants are subject to security clearances that may take several months. Background checks can result from arrests in the U.S., field of study, country of origin, or other factors such as being cited for driving under the influence (i.e. DUI).
- If you need a visa and will be traveling on a short trip, remember, you may encounter visa processing delays. Plan accordingly.
- Appointments are required for almost all non-immigrant visa applications. Check the website of the U.S. consulate in your home country to see processing times.
- Graduate students, professors and research scholars who are deemed to be studying certain “sensitive areas of study” may be subject to a security review.
- If you are out of status and will be traveling outside of the U.S., you must speak with an international advisor before you leave the U.S. to make certain you have the required documents for reinstatement through reentry.
Automatic Revalidation for Travel to Canada or Mexico
For most students, travel to a country that is contiguous to the U.S. (Mexico, Canada, St. Pierre, Miquelon, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, Jamaica, Winward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique) with an intended stay of less than 30 days (not applying for a new visa) may return to the U.S. on an expired visa. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.
If you travel to Canada or Mexico, you may need a visa to enter that country.
For more information and restrictions, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visa-expiration-date/auto-revalidate.html
It is important to remember that while you are on a Norwich Study Abroad program you are still a Norwich F-1 student and your SEVIS record will be maintained by the International Center.
Please make an appointment with an International Student Adviser when planning for your Study Abroad experience.
Authorized Early Withdrawal
Want to depart the United States before completing your program? Please make sure you contact the International Center before leaving the country. Departing the United States without completing certain forms could result in a termination of status for Failure to Enroll and can have negative future consequences.
Departure Form [link to form]
Transfer to Norwich University
F-1 students who have been admitted to Norwich University and are coming from another institution are considered F-1 program transfers, which is not necessarily the same as an academic transfer. The students will have to complete the Transfer In to Norwich form along with other forms required for a Norwich University issued I-20.
They must also speak with the international student advisor at their current schools and request that their SEVIS records be electronically released from their current schools to Norwich. Once the SEVIS record is released and all other admissions materials have been submitted, the new Form I-20 from Norwich will be processed and sent to the student by the admissions office.
Note: Students should not ask to have your I-20 released to Norwich University until we have approved the transfer-in.
Transfer from Norwich to Another Institution
F-1 students who have made a commitment to attend another institution must inform the International Center and request that their SEVIS records be electronically released to the new school. It is advised that students discuss their travel plans and new program start dates with the International Center before settling on a SEVIS transfer release date.
Departure Upon Completion of Studies
After you have completed your program, you have a grace period within which to depart the U.S. If you remain in the U.S. after the end of your grace period following the end of your program, you will be unlawfully present in the U.S. Being unlawfully present in the U.S. could make you subject to removal and future bars from entering the U.S., even if you qualify later for a new U.S. visa through study, work, or marriage. Submit a Departure Form [link to form] to before leaving Norwich.
F-1 Students: 60-day grace period
If you wish to remain in the U.S. lawfully, you must do one of the following:
- Apply to the USCIS for a change of visa status before the end of your grace period
- Be accepted into a new degree-seeking program and receive a new I-20 before the end of your grace period
- Depart the U.S. before your grace period ends.
J-1 Students: 30-day grace period
If you wish to remain in the United States lawfully, you must do one of the following:
- Depart the United States before your grace period ends.
- Apply to the USCIS for a change of visa status before your grace period ends.
Travel after Graduation while on Optional Practical Training
If you plan to travel outside of the U.S. and then return for Optional Practical Training (OPT), we recommend you carry:
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Proof of employment (letter from your employer) or if you are not yet employed, have proof that you are actively seeking employment (proof of resumes sent, rejection notices from companies, and so on.) If you do not have a job, you may not be permitted to reenter the United States
- I-20 signed for travel
- Passport valid at least six months into the future
- Valid student visa
An International Driver’s License will be valid for up to six months, as will certain foreign or out-of-state licenses recognized by the state of Vermont. After six months of residency in Vermont, you need to apply for a state license at a Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) location. The closest location is approximately 10 miles away in Montpelier, Vermont.
A license will be issued after you pass the vision, written and road tests and pay the fees. Generally, the permit and road test are done on separate days. Usually, you will not be able to make an appointment for the road test until you have already passed the permit test. If you are taking the driving test, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver at least 25 years of age. The car you use for the driving test must have a valid vehicle registration certificate and be in good mechanical condition. An automobile insurance identification card is also required.
Please note: The Vermont DMV must verify your Social Security Number (SSN). If you are a temporary foreign national not authorized for employment, you are required to present documentation from Social Security Administration (SSA) verifying you are not eligible for a Social Security number.
To obtain this documentation, you must first make an appointment with the outreach coordinator in Norwich University’s International Center to request a letter for the SSA. Once you have this letter, you must visit the SSA to obtain the proper documentation for the DMV. The closes SSA location is also in Montpelier, Vermont. For location and hours, please visit https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp and input your zip code.
Additional information for obtaining a Vermont driver’s license:
- Montpelier DMV location and hours: http://dmv.vermont.gov/locations/Montpelier
- Foreign licenses recognized by the Vermont DMV: http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/Drivers/Foreign
- Please read this information for students who are non-U.S. citizens applying for Vermont driver’s licenses
- If you need to complete a driver’s education course, a list of driver training schools is at http://dmv.vermont.gov/safety/training/drivers. Information on how to make an appointment at a local VT DMV office is at http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/drivers/2085
- Vermont state licensing requirements is online at http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/drivers/requirements/identity#Lawful
- License, ID and permit fees: http://dmv.vermont.gov/fees/license-permit-id
- Proof of identity is required and shall be one primary document and one secondary document. A list of documents accepted as proof of your identity is at http://dmv.vermont.gov/licenses/drivers/requirements/identity
- Vermont drivers’ manuals are available at all DMV locations.
Social Security Number
In the United States, a Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary (working) residents. The number is issued to an individual by the Social Security Administration. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. Social Security numbers are available only to those international students and scholars who have secured employment in the U.S. If you have previously applied for and been granted an SSN, this number is yours for life. You should not apply for a second number.
Students and Scholars who are required to file a tax return, but who are not eligible for a social security number, may need to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
If you will be employed while in the United States, you must apply for an SSN in person at the local Social Security Office. Before applying, you must check in with the International Center. After submitting the application to the Social Security Administration, you will receive a written notice with estimated processing time.
Students or scholars with on-campus employment must request a Social Security Number letter from the International Center. To do so, please contact the International Outreach Coordinator. Typical processing time for your letter is one to two business days after your request has been submitted. You will receive an email when the letter is ready to pick up.
Although an SSN may be requested for other services such as banking, utilities, cell phones, etc., it is only required for employment. For purposes other than employment, ask the service provider about acceptable alternative identification numbers.
All F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors must file federal tax forms every year that they are in the U.S. The deadlines to file the forms are April 15, if U.S. money is earned, and June 15, if no U.S. money is earned. Please contact the International Center for resources to assist you with this.