International Student Immigration Services
Transferring Schools - If you plan to change schools, either at the same or a different educational level, you need to obtain an I-20 from the new school. This must be done within 15 days of the beginning of classes. Contact the ISA as soon as you have your acceptance letter from your new school so that the PDSO can transfer your SEVIS record.
Reinstatement - This is required when you have been out of status for one or more semesters through such actions as not attending full-time (except for authorized vacation periods) or if you have been out of school entirely when not authorized. If you need to apply for reinstatement, you should make an appointment to see the advisor in the OISS.
Off-Campus Employment - The USCIS may grant international students who have a severe, unforeseen change in their financial circumstances off-campus work permission. To qualify for this permission, all of the following requirements must be met.
Enrolled full-time in F-1 (student) immigration status for a full academic year. Good academic standing with Atlanta Metropolitan College
The sponsor listed on your I-20 must be unable to provide the support due to circumstances that neither the student nor the sponsor could have been able to predict and over which neither had any control. This includes such events as death, severe illness, loss of a job, etc. It does not include a voluntary retirement from work, needing to start supporting other students in school, or desire on the student's part not to use the sponsor's support.
USCIS requires a high level of documentation for off-campus work permission. Students who think that they meet all these options should make an appointment to see the advisor in the OISS.
Curricular Practical Training - Paid internships for students who are attending school full-time, may be allowed under regulations for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is also available on a full-time basis for students during the summer and other periods during which a full course of study is not required. To receive curricular practical training, the student must have the approval of his academic advisor, department chairperson and the OISS.
When approved for curricular training, your I-20 will be endorsed with an "internship authorization," which you should present to your employer.
Optional Practical Training. Students may receive up to one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT). This is defined by the USCIS to be employment which is directly related to your degree but which is not part of your academic curriculum requirement. This training may be taken during summer vacation periods or after receiving the degree.
The application for OPT and Off-Campus Employment requires approval by USCIS and a $380.00 fee for processing. If all requirements are met, your I-20 will be endorsed by OISS and forwarded to USCIS for approval. If approved by the USCIS, you will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You may not begin working until the EAD is received.
The processing time for the EAD is six to eight weeks; of course this varies considerably depending upon the USCIS current workload.
Other Immigration Related Information
- Renewing a visa
If your visa has expired, you do not need to renew it until you leave the United States. If you are going overseas with an expired U.S. visa, or if you have changed your immigration status in the U.S., you will have to obtain a new one from an American Consulate. This cannot be done within the U.S. To obtain a new visa, you will need to request a new I-20. You will also need to have original proof of how you plan to finance the remainder of your education.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is under the Department of Homeland Security requires that all non-resident, whether they earn income or not, must complete federal form 8843 because the Department of Homeland Security and consulate now examine tax forms when processing visas. However, if you are working, you may file federal form 1040NR-EZ or 1040NR. Internal Revenue Service http://www.irs.gov; Tax Form 8843
- Driver License
For non-U.S. citizens who are not authorized to work in the United States and would like to obtain a driver's license, you need to pick up a Form SSA-L676 SSN Card Denial Notice from a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to take with you before you visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) to apply for a driver's license. Conyers headquarters contact number is 679-413-8500, http://www.dds.ga.gov.
- Social Security Card
Non-U.S. citizens cannot obtain a social security card if you cannot present supporting documents from your employer to the Social Security Administration Office verifying your employment. Downtown Atlanta office contact number is 404-331-4612 or 1-800-772-1213 http://www.ssa.gov
Terms You Need to Know
D/S - This stands for "Duration of Status" and is the time that you have been admitted to the U.S. This is defined by law as the period during which you are pursuing a full course of study with a valid I-20 form plus any authorized periods of practical training.
USCIS -The United States Citizenship and immigration Services is a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, which has authority over all immigrants in the United States, including international students. http://www.uscis.gov I-20 - This is the form that you used to apply for your visa and enter the United States or to transfer from another U.S. institution to Atlanta Metropolitan College.
I-94 -The I-94 is a white "3x4" card that shows when you last entered the United States. The I-94 also serves to inform the CIS when you leave the United States.
Admission Number is the 11-digit number assigned to you by USCIS. It is the number on your I-94 card issued when you first entered the U.S.
Also, it will serve as your identification as long as you are in the U.S. https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html
Visa - The visa is the entry permit stamped inside your passport by a U.S. consulate. It is used only to enter the United States and therefore does not need to be renewed while you remain in this country. If it expires and you are outside the U.S., you will need to obtain another visa. Renewal of a visa can be done only outside of the U.S.
Passport - This document was issued, in most cases, by the government of your foreign residence.
Extension of Stay - Students should always be aware of the completion date on their I-20. If it becomes necessary to continue study beyond this date, students must come to the OISS and request an extension. If you have maintained legal status and this date is not passed, the process for extension consists of requesting a new I-20 and then filling out a USCIS form. Once the required approvals are received, the OISS reports it to SEVIS.
SEVIS -The "Student and Exchange Visitor Information System" is a mandatory student monitoring system that permits colleges and universities to provide electronic information to USCIS regarding international students in F, M & J status.
Kofi S. Clark, Assistant Registrar