F-1 International Students

Maintaining Status

Electronic I-94

The I-94 Form is issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prove your legal entrance into America on your arrival.  It also contains information about the length of your visa.  If you arrived in the U.S. in May 2013 or later, you will have an electronic I-94. (If you arrived before May 2013, you filled out a paper I-94 that was stamped and stapled to the inside of your passport.

When you arrive in the U.S., you must find and print your I-94 arrival information on the website.  Click on “Get Most Recent I-94” from the top bar.

Please print the I-94 form immediately after your arrival because this form is important in your future staying in America.  Also, student will need this form to apply for social security number, state driving license, OPT, etc.

Student should print TWO copies:

  1. Keep one for your personal records; keep with the immigration documents such as passport, and the I-20/DS-2019.
  2. Bring a copy of the I-94 form to International Center located in Blum 210.

United States taxes can be complicated. The tax filing deadline is typically in mid-April, and you need certain documents in order to file. You may receive a W-2 form from the Payroll Department via email. You will want to have a good idea of how United States taxes work before you begin filing. You need to know:

  • The tax filing deadline is April 18
  • You will file taxes for the previous year, which means this year (by April 18, 2022), you will file taxes for 2021  
    • If you started your studies in the United States in spring 2022, you are not obligated to file taxes this year
      • Taxes you paid in 2022 (especially if you received a full scholarship for room and meals) will be filed in the 2023 tax season
  • All international students are responsible for filing a form with the IRS even if they did not earn any income nor receive any scholarships   
  • You will receive an email with tax information from GLACIER because the University uses GLACIER to file its taxes
    • Note: You will not use GLACIER to file your taxes
  • For international students filing taxes, we strongly recommend you use Sprintax unless you have lived in the United States for more than 5 years
    • You can file tax with tax experts at Turbotax, H&R Block, etc. if you have lived in the United States for more than 5 years
    • Your residency status for tax purposes can be determined through the Sprintax software
    • If you have lived in the U.S. for fewer than 5 years, do not file with Turbotax, H&R Block, etc.
      • They do not know how to file taxes for international students; you will pay them, but they may file your taxes incorrectly
    • We strongly recommend you use Sprintax  
      • All you need to do is:
        1. Register and follow the simple instructions
        2. Complete the online questionnaire
        3. Sprintax will prepare your tax return
      • Finally, once you complete the preparation process in the Sprintax software, you must print, sign and mail your documents to the IRS.
        If you have any questions, the Sprintax team will be happy to help via their 24/7 live chat. 

        1. You will pay a service fee for Sprintax to file your taxes
          • Note: Americans typically pay a fee for someone to file their taxes unless they are accountants themselves. Do not be surprised when you need to pay a fee to Sprintax.
  • If you do not have Social Security Number, you will need to apply for an ITIN

FAQ

See the following resources for more information:

Sprintax also offers free webinars:

You may wonder what the U.S. tax and tax charge are on your student account. You are claiming 2021 tax for this tax season and will claim the 2022 tax return next tax season in 2023! Please take the time to read this message and attend one of these free webinars from Sprintax. They are the experts and know how to file your taxes.

Disclaimer: No one on campus is a tax expert and they do not know how to file taxes for international students. They will not help you file taxes. This is why we recommend you attend the Sprintax free webinar and file using Sprintax.

Apply to extend your I-20

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status.
  • Be making normal progress toward completion of your program of study.
  • Have a compelling academic or medical reason for a program extension (such as changes of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or illness documented by a medical provider).
  • Request the extension at least 3 weeks before your current document expires.
  • Provide proof of funding that covers your program extension.

You need to know:

  • Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extensions [8 CFR 214.2(f)(7)(iii)].
  • Extension requests will not be granted solely due to delays caused by employment such as Curricular Practical Training.
  • If your program end date has expired or you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, it will be necessary to file for reinstatement to F-1 status with USCIS, for which you will have to pay a substantial fee.

How to request an extension:

  • Contact your academic advisor to discuss your need for a program extension.
  • Fill out Academic Advisor’s Recommendation for Extension of Time for a Program of Study Form.
  • Print out your unofficial transcript printed from Goldlink
  • Provide proof of funding that covers the estimated costs for two semesters (9 months).
    • Financial document should have official letter head and signature. It also need to be written in English.
    • All certified financial documentation and financial statement forms submitted must be dated no more than six months prior to the submission date.
    • If the bank statement is not under your name. You also need to submit Letter of Financial Support.
    • If you are Government Sponsored Student, Please provide updated Financial Guarantee letter valid through upcoming semester.
  • Global Center will review your completed form, and you will be emailed when your new I-20 is ready

To Apply, go to Concurrent Enrollment

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be enrolled MWSU student, in good standing.
  • Be undergraduate students who enroll in a minimum of 9 credits or Graduate Students enroll in a minimum of 6 credits at MWSU.
  • Total combined enrollment from MWSU and other U.S. SEVIS-approved school must meet the full-time requirement.
    • Undergraduates = 12 credits, Graduates = 9 credits
  • Be enrolled in full-time by the Add/Drop deadline of each semester at MWSU.
  • Verify with an academic advisor that the concurrent courses meet you degree requirements and that the courses will transfer to your specific degree program.
  • Check with the school you wish to enroll for their admissions requirements for students who wish to concurrently enroll.
  • Submit transcripts from every college attended at the end of the semester even if courses have been withdrawn.
    • Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

How to Apply Concurrent Enrollment:

  • Enroll in a minimum credit hours at MWSU (Undergraduate 9 credits/Graduate 6 credits)
  • Fill out Concurrent Enrollment Request Form
  • Provide a Proof of registration in classes from the concurrent school to Global Center
    • Letter must indicate that you are enrolled

Full Course of Study Exceptions

To Apply Reduced Course Load (RCL)

To be eligible, you must be experiencing:

  • Academic Difficulties:
    • Initial difficulty with the English language (only acceptable in your first year on campus)
    • Initial difficulty with reading requirements (only acceptable in your first year on campus)
    • Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods (only acceptable in your first year on campus)
    • Improper course level placement
  • Illness or Medical condition
  • To Complete Course of Study in Current Term

You need to know:

  • Academic Difficulties – Can only be used one time per degree level. You must remain in at least half of your full-time enrollment requirement.
  • Medical condition:
    • May be used for up to 12 months, but must be applied for each semester.
    • May enroll in any number of credits your medical professional recommends for you unless your medical professional recommends you to enroll in 0 credit hours.
    • Licensed U.S. medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist can recommend you for medical reduced course load.
  • Final Semester of Study- If you need less than a full-time course load to complete your program of study in your final semester. (If you are enrolled in summer semester that is your final semester.)

How to apply Reduced Course Load:

  • To request RCL under academic difficulties or Final Semester of Study, Contact your academic advisor to discuss your academic situation.
  • To requested RCL under illness and medical conditions, Contact your Licensed Doctor to seek suggestions
    • A letter from a licensed medical physician, doctor of osteopathy or licensed clinical psychologist recommending a RCL on the basis of a medical condition for which you have and are receiving care.
    • The letter does not need to detail the diagnosis or treatment but must specify whether the recommendation is for part-time study or no study (0 credits).
    • The letter cannot be dated more than 30 days before the start of the term for which the RCL is requested.
  • Fill out “Recommendation for a Reduced Course Load” Form.
  • Global Center will review your completed form, and you will be emailed when your new I-20 is ready.

How to Apply for AEW

To be eligible, you must:

  • Able to share reason(s) to take off a required semester, abruptly end their studies, or depart the US for an emergency.
  • Inform Global Center prior to your departure from the U.S.
  • Purchase flight tickets to leave the United States and provide to Global Center.
  • Depart the US within 15 days of the approval.
  • Submit withdraw form to the Registrar’s Office and notify academic department of leave of absence.
  • Understand AEW does not relieve students of academic or financial obligation.

You need to know:

  • SEVIS record will be “terminated” for an “early authorized withdrawal” within 5 business days.
  • MAY NOT be registered in classes in the U.S. nor live in the U.S. during your absence. If I do not leave the U.S. within the stated times, you will be out of status and in the country without authorization.
  • CAN NOT use your student visa to enter the U.S. until your SEVIS record be reactivated.
  • Need to contact Global Center one month before I plan to return or before my visa appointment to place a request to reactivate your SEVIS record to “active” status. I also will share the flight itinerary with Global Center.
  • MUST return to the U.S. within 5 months to keep your immigration status & begin classes at the next available session.
  • Any absence from the U.S. of more than 5 months will require you get a new I -20 and visa if F-1 visa is expired.

How to Apply for AEW:

  • Print out your unofficial transcript printed from Goldlink
    • Proof of course withdraw
  • Copy of flight itinerary

Off-Campus Employment

To apply Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status.
  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time for one full academic year.
    • Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training for all students in the program.
  • Be making normal progress toward completion of your program of study.
  • Continue to be enrolled for a full course of study.
    • Unless they are in their last semester and have been approved for less than full-time enrollment.
  • Alternative work/study, internship is “an integral part of an established curriculum” directly related to your major field of study.
    • Be enrolled and receiving credit for this Alternative work/study, internship.
  • Have an offer of internship employment to apply.
  • Available only while student is in F-1 status, before completion of the educational objective.

You need to know:

  • A student may begin curricular practical training only after receiving his or her Form I-20 with the DSO endorsement.
  • Use of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training. Use of part-time CPT (20 hours or less) does not affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
    • Full-time employment on CPT is defined as 20+ hours/week
    • part-time employment is 20 hours or less
  • Can be paid internship or unpaid internship
  • There is a risk a student will have their OPT application (post-completion employment authorization) denied if they cannot prove to USCIS that the CPT was an integral and required part of their program necessary to graduate.

How to request a Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

  • Contact your academic advisor to discuss your need for Alternative work/study, internship.
  • Fill out the CPT Academic Advisor Authorization form
  • Print out your unofficial transcript printed from Goldlink
    • Proof of enrollment for Internship course
  • Global Center will review your completed form, and you will be emailed when your new I-20 is ready

To apply Optional Practical Training (OPT)

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status.
  • Have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time for one full academic year.

You need to know:

  • Processing time can take up to 5 months, so it is important to apply early.
  • USCIS allows students to apply for OPT up to 90 days before program completion.
  • Field of work must be directly related to the student’s major field of study.
  • Standard OPT is available for a cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level.
    • A 24-month extension of post-completion is available to certain STEM degree recipients.
    • May become eligible for another 12 months of OPT if he/she advances to a higher educational level.
  • No offer of employment is required to apply for standard OPT, but the student is expected to work during the OPT EAD validity period. Students on post-completion OPT are limited to an aggregate maximum of 90 days of unemployment.

How to apply an Optional Practical Training (OPT):

  • Must attend or watch mandatory workshop for students to complete prior to applying for OPT.

To apply STEM OPT

To be eligible, you must:

STEM Designated Degree Program List

  • Pursue their practical training through an employer that is enrolled in USCIS’ E-Verify employment.
  • Select employers that can guarantee the student will complete a minimum of 20 hours of work per week and provide the student with formal training and learning objectives.
  • Work for employer to complete the Form I-983

Form I-983 Instructions

  • Apply for the 24-month OPT extension prior to the expiration of the first 12 months of Post Completion OPT.
  • Send application package and be received USCIS prior to the expiration date of the first OPT period EAD in order to be properly (timely) filed

You need to know:

  • USCIS allows students to apply for STEM OPT up to 90 days before the current EAD expiration date.
  • You cannot apply during the 60 day grace period.
  • If you successfully file the application for your 24-month OPT extension prior to the expiration of your current 12-month OPT period EAD, you may continue employment even if your previous EAD card is expired until your OPT extension is processed or until 180 days has passed, whichever is sooner.
  • University requires $100 STEM Processing Fee to issue you I-20 for STEM OPT Application

How to apply for STEM OPT

Make a shipping arrangement to received STEM OPT Extension I-20

Eship Global, or

USPS: Email your physical address to Global Center

  • Correct all necessary documents:
    • Passport size photos taken less than 30 days
    • Most recent I-94
    • Copy of Passport Information Page(s)
    • Copy of F-1 visa
    • Copy of the qualifying STEM degree transcript and/or diploma
    • Copy of all previous EADs (Front & Back)
    • Credit Card, Money Order, or Check
      • Credit card: Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
      • Money Order or Check: $410 Payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

Form I-765

  • Type or print all responses legibly in black ink.
  • Fill out all applicable questions
  • If a question does not apply to you, type or print N/A or for numeric responses, none, unless otherwise directed.

Part 1. Reason for Applying

  • Select 1.c “Renewal of my permissions to accept employment.

Part 2. Information About You

  •  1.a. -1.c. need to match with your passport
  • 5.a.-.5. f. Make sure the address you list on this form will be accurate for at least 90 days as this is where USCIS will send your Receipt Notice, Approval Notice, and EAD.
  • 5.a. If you will use a reliable friend or family member’s address, please make sure to use the C/O notation.
  • 27 type (c) (3) (C)

Part 3. Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Declaration, Certification, and Signature

  • 7.a. Sign with Black ink within designated space
  • Copy of Page 1 & 2 Form I-20 with your signature and STEM Extension
  • Form G-1145 (Optional)

E-notification of Application/Petition Acceptance

  • Send the STEM OPT Application Package to USCIS:
    • Check all documents for completeness and accuracy.
    • Be sure to sign forms I-20 and I-765.
    • Make a complete copy of your application for your records.
      • Keep a copy of your express mail receipt and money order receipt, if applicable.
      • Mail completed application to the USCIS office that has jurisdiction over the address based on the state you typed on form I-765 in Part 2

Dependents

How to apply for F-2 Dependent Visa

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F-1 status.
  • Understand only the spouse and unmarried minor children (under age 21) who accompany the primary visa holder to the U.S. may receive F-2 dependent status.

You need to know:

  • Individuals in F2 status may not accept employment or engage in business under any circumstances.
  • F2 study is restricted. F2 children may only engage in full – time study at the K – 12 level. F2 spouses may study part – time only.
  • Individuals in F2 status wishing to engage in full – time studies or are turning 21, must change their status to F1.
  • The F2 dependent status is only valid when the F1 student is in valid status.

How to Apply for F-2 Dependent Visa:

  • Collect all necessary documents and Provide to Global Center:
  • Photocopy of marriage license (spouse) and/or birth certificate (child).
    • These documents must be in English.
  • Photocopy of passport for your spouse and/or child.
  • Provide proof of funding that covers the estimated costs for two semesters (9 months) + For dependents, we require minimum $7,000/year for the first dependent; and $6,500/year for each additional dependent.
    • Financial document should have official letter head and signature. It also need to be written in English.
    • All certified financial documentation and financial statement forms submitted must be dated no more than six months prior to the submission date
    • If the bank statement is not under your name. You also need to submit Letter of Financial Support.
    • If you are Government Sponsored Student, Please provide updated Financial Guarantee letter valid through upcoming semester.
    • OPT & STEM OPT Students need to provide Bank Statement in the amount of $16,000 (for you) + For depended, we require minimum $7,000/year for the first dependent; and $6,500/year for each additional dependent.
  • Global Center will process your request within 5 business days to issue I-20 for your dependent(s) and you will be emailed when your new I-20(s) are ready.
  • To apply for the F2 visa your spouse/child must have the following documents:
  • Valid F2 I – 20, properly endorsed for travel
  • Valid Passport (must be valid for 6 month into the future)
  • I – 901 SEVIS Fee receipt (print out at https://www.fmjfee.com)
  • Proof of current financial support (official bank letter & letter of financial support from your sponsor)
  • Marriage Certificate (spouse) or Birth Certificate (child)
  • Photocopy of spouse or parent F1 Form I -20
  • Photocopy of spouse or parent passport
  • Photocopy of spouse or parent F1 visa
  • Transcript of F1 to verify full -time enrollment
  • F2 Visa Application Form (DS -160), Fees and Photographs (according to Embassy required format)
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country to schedule an appointment and to find out what other documents are needed for your F2 visa application.

Social Security Number

To Apply Social Security Number

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F or J visa status.
  • Have a job offer from an on-campus employer.

You need to know:

  • If you received a job offer from MWSU, Bring a proof of SSN application from Social Security Administration to HR (Popplewell 117). You CAN start working before Social Security Card arrives.
  • If you received a job offer from Campus Dining Serves (Aramark), you CAN NOT start working until you receive a Social Security Card.
  • During semester, you can work 20 hours maximum/week.
  • During breaks, you may work maximum 37.5 hours/week.

How to apply Social Security Number (SSN):

Where to apply Social Security Number:

  • St. Joseph Social Security Office
    1402 N Woodbine Rd
    Saint Joseph, MO 64506
    (816) 233-2511

Driver’s License

To Apply Missouri Driver’s License or Identification Card

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be in valid F or J visa status.

How to apply Missouri Driver’s License or Identification Card:

  • Collect all necessary documents and present at DMV:
    • Passport
    • Most recent I-94
    • I-20 (F visa holders) or DS 2019(J visa holders)
      • For F-2 or J-2 dependents
        • I-20 of F-1 or DS2019 of J-1
      • Driver License Information Verification Form
      • Social Security Number (Verbally or by presenting card); or
      • A letter from the Social Security Administration indicates NO Social Security Number
      • Proof of Residential address
        • A mail with your name and physical address
          • EX-Utility Bill, Bank Statement, mailed Tuition Bill, a letter/card

Where to apply Missouri Driver’s License or Identification Card:

St. Joseph License Office:
1301 Village Drive
St Joseph, MO 64506
(816) 325-3013

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 1:00pm
Sunday: CLOSED