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International Students: Maintaining Immigration Status

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Advising services and important immigration information for international students can be found below. Maintaining your status as either an F-1 or J-1 student is your responsibility. It is important for you to understand the immigration rules and regulations.

Please read all information carefully before consulting an advisor. If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact the Office of International Programs (OIP) at 312-341-3531 or international@roosevelt.edu.

Maintaining F-1 or J-1 Status

It is very important for you to observe the following immigration regulations in order to avoid problems with your student status in the U.S.

Immigration documents

  • Do not let your passport expire. If you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport, please contact your embassy to learn how to extend or renew it.
  • Check your I-94 record each time you enter the US. Your I-94 shows that you have legally entered the US and should show that you are in F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor and with permission to remain in the US for D/S (duration of status). Visit the US Customs and Border Protection's website to view your I-94 record. If your record does not show the correct status or does not show D/S, please visit OIP immediately.
  • Make sure that your form I-20 or DS-2019 does not expire. If you will not finish your degree before the program completion date on your form I-20 or DS-2019, you must apply for a Program Extension. You should apply at least one month before your I-20 expires.
  • Report any changes to your name or address to OIP within 10 days of moving to a new address.
  • Notify OIP immediately if you change your academic plans. This includes changing your major, changing your degree level, or leaving before the end date on your form I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Your form I-20 must match the university you are attending. If you are transferring to Roosevelt from another school or will transfer to another school after finishing your degree at Roosevelt, your SEVIS record will also need to be transferred.

Class Schedule and vacations

  • Register full-time during the fall and spring semesters. You are not required to take any classes during the summer sessions.
    • Full-time enrollment for undergraduate students is at least 12 credit hours per semester.
    • Full-time enrollment for graduate students is at least 9 credit hours per semester.
    • Only 1 on-line class per semester counts as part of your full-time enrollment for Fall and Spring semester. You may take on-line classes in the Summer term.
  • If you think you will not be able to enroll full-time, you must speak to an International Advisor. Your drop below full-time enrollment request must be approved and authorized by OIP before you can withdraw from any classes. Please complete the Below Credit Authorization form to request permission.

Travel

  • If you plan to travel outside the U.S., bring your I-20 or DS-2019 to OIP and request a travel signature at least two weeks before you plan to leave the US. You can download the Travel Signature Request or pick-up the form in OIP.
  • Check your passport expiration dates. You should have at least 6 months remaining on your passport.
  • Check your F1 or J1 visa. Although your visa may expire while you are in the US, you will need it to return. If your visa has expired, visit the US Department of State's homepage for more information on visa renewals.

Employment

  • International Students are only permitted to work with authorization from International Programs or from the USCIS. Visit International Student Employment for more information about working.
Taxes

All F1 and J1 students (and their F2 or J2 dependents) are required to file income tax forms for each year they are present in the USA. This is required even if you did not work in the USA. Income taxes are due on April 15 in the following year; some years this may be 1-2 days later if April 15 is a weekend or holiday.

You are responsible for completing these forms. Unfortunately, during the "tax season" there is an increased chance of tax scams - the IRS has posted this notice of Five Easy Ways to Spot Suspicious Calls. Remember, the IRS (or other US Government agencies) does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue; the IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.

Visit the section on Income Taxes on the International Student Employment page.

Letter Requests and Other Forms

International Programs can help provide information on your current immigration status. This includes letters to your consulate or embassy, scholarship information, etc. Please contact International Programs to learn more or request a letter here.

  • Good Standing Letter Request - to confirm enrollment at RU. If you need a letter to confirm your enrollment to receive tuition payments, to delay military employment in your home country, or for other reasons.
  • Driver's License or Bank Letter Request - to request a letter to apply for a driver's license or open a bank account.
  • Invitation Letter Request - to invite immediate family members (mother, father, siblings, and grandparents) to visit the US. This can be for graduation or for a short visit. Please note that the US Department of State has said that this type of letter is not a requirement for the visa process.

Other Requests

For employment related forms, please see the International Student Employment page.

Illinois Driver's License or ID Card

Please visit the Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services for detailed information on obtaining the Illinois Driver's License, Temporary Visitor Driver's License, or Illinois State ID Card.

Illinois Driver's License:

  • If you are a first time driver and would like to practice driving before taking the behind-the-wheel driving test, you may apply for a 12-Month Instruction Permit.
  • All applicants must also pass a written test. Please see the “Rules of the Road” for details on Illinois laws.
  • If you have a U.S. Social Security Number, you qualify for a Driver's License, and may apply at any Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Office location by presenting four forms of identification: (A) written signature; (B) Proof of Date of Birth; (C) Social Security Number; and (D) Residency. Please click here for a list of acceptable forms of identification.

Illinois State ID Card:

  • If you wish to apply for an Illinois State ID Card, you must be able to provide the same documents listed for the driver’s license at any Illinois Secretary of State Driver Services Office location; however you will not need to take the driving test.

Illinois Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL):

  • If you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, you may qualify for a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL). To apply for an Illinois TVDL, you must be:
    • A non-U.S. citizen who has been granted temporary and legal entry to the U.S.;
    • Temporarily residing in Illinois;
    • Ineligible for a Social Security number: You need to get a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) Office stating that you are not eligible to have a Social Security Number. This letter must be dated within 90 days of the date of your application for a TVDL, and can be obtained from any SSA office.
  • A qualified application must be authorized to be in the country for at least one year, and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay.
  • A TVDL is valid for three years or for the period of time the applicant is authorized to stay in this country; whichever comes first.
  • There are limited Chicago area Driver Services Offices authorized to issue Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses. Please check the Illinois Secretary of State website to find the nearest location.
  • Office Chicago West Facility (5301 W. Lexington Street, Chicago, IL 60644) and Chicago North Facility (5401 N. Elston Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630). Applicants must visit one of the two facilities in person during the business hours; appointments are not accepted. Please check online for their current business hours.
  • Applicants are required to present four forms of identification (see above) as well as proof of your current immigration status, such as your I-94 , I-20 Form or DS-2019 Form, and a letter from SSA office evidencing your ineligibility for a Social Security number.