U.S. Immigration Information
International students must have a visa to attend school in the United States. International students at Neumann University enter the U.S. as F-1 nonimmigrants.
Once you are accepted at the University and have submitted your completed Affidavit of Support, you will receive an I-20 form from Neumann. Sign this form and take all pages to your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a student visa. Your name on the I-20 should match that on your passport. (Canadian students do not need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Rather, they may show these documents to the U.S. Immigration Officer at their point of entry into the United States.)
The U.S. government requires F-1 students to prove that they have sufficient funds or income to pay for their tuition and living expenses. Proof of funding is established through the Affidavit of Support and original copies of tax returns, employer letters, accountant statements or bank statements. Each U.S. Embassy may require different documentation based on the location.
As an F-1 student, you may enter the country 30 days prior to the program start date listed (see #5) on your I-20. (Note: On campus housing at Neumann is generally not available until Student Orientation in the fall, or the beginning of the semester in the spring.)
Do not enter the U.S. with a B-1, B-2, or B-1/2 Visa unless it is marked “Prospective Student." You will most likely not be allowed to change your status to F1.
Do not enter the U.S. without a visa! The U.S. allows individuals from certain countries to simply show a round-trip ticket to enter the U.S. Do not do this. You will not be allowed to stay past 90 days and you cannot change to student status.
SEVIS is the web-based tracking system that is used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, formally INS) to monitor all non-immigrant students. SEVIS stands for the “Student and Exchange Visitor Information System." The I-20 that you received is a SEVIS-issued I-20. It has a bar code for scanning at all U.S. ports of entry. The regulations for F-1 international students are now more strict than in the past. The two main violations of status are unapproved employment and enrolling less than full-time while at Neumann. Therefore, be sure to review all of this information on immigration issues. Always ask the staff of the Office of International Studies Education (ISE) at Neumann if you have any questions or are uncertain of policy. The main contact at Neumann for F-1 students is Jen Mintzer.
Neumann University Designated School Official (DSO)
Assistant Director of International Studies Education
One Neumann Drive
Aston, PA 19014
If you need immediate assistance and Jen Mintzer is out of the office, please contact the Student Affairs Office, BMB #125 (610) 558-5608.
Changes in Name or Address
All students must report to Neumann’s DSO any name or address changes within 10 days. These changes will be recorded by the DSO into the SEVIS system.
Enrollment – Full-time vs. Part-time
Students are required by law to be enrolled full-time (minimum of 12 credits per semester at Neumann) in order to maintain F-1 visa status. A student must receive permission from the DSO prior to enrolling part-time in any semester. Generally, the only possible scenarios for approval are medical emergencies (which require medical documentation) and final terms of degrees. If permission is not granted prior to part-time enrollment, a student’s record in SEVIS will reflect the violation of status and the student’s record will be closed in SEVIS. The only way to reopen the record is to apply for a reinstatement through the USCIS, and reinstatements are rarely approved.
Some international students at Neumann choose to study abroad during their four years of study. Keep in mind that a new I-20 is needed if a student is out of the U.S. for 5 months or more. In this case, Neumann’s DSO will send a new I-20 to the student abroad.
Be sure to have your I-20 form with you whenever you enter or leave the country.
Your I-20 must be signed by Neumann’s DSO in order to reenter the country when you travel. The signatures are good for one year. (Except during OPT, signatures are good for only 6 months.) You should have your I-20 signed before traveling if you are before, but close to, the one-year mark on the previous signature. It is advisable to make a few copies of your I-20 and bring them with you when you travel. The originals of both should be returned to the student when processed at the port of entry. If a USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) Official should keep the original form, a student would at least have a copy to show other officials when asked.
If you are out of the US. for 5 or more consecutive months, you will lose your F-1 student status and be unable to re-enter the US. This is true whether you are a student, or an OPT participant.
In light of stricter policies at ports of entry, international students should travel with several documents: your signed I-20, your passport with the visa page, evidence of financial support (that you used to obtain your visa), and a transcript showing your full-time enrollment at Neumann. The USCIS Official may not require anything in addition to your passport and I-20, but it is always good to be prepared.
Remember that no one can guarantee you entry back into the United States. A USCIS Official can decide not to let you back in if there are problems with your documentation or other related issues. Neumann has not had this problem as of yet, but you should keep it in mind.
Student records in SEVIS are automatically closed once the student’s graduation date is reached. If a student applies for OPT (see Employment Info page of Handbook), the student’s record remains open until the OPT is completed. Students who wish to transfer their F status from Neumann to a graduate school must notify Neumann’s DSO before graduation so that the transfer process can be completed. Otherwise, the student’s record in SEVIS will be closed automatically upon graduation.
The timeframe given to a student for completion of the degree is indicated on the I-20 form, line #5. It is possible that a student may need more time to complete the degree in various circumstances, for instance a medical emergency. In this case, a student must request the extension prior to the ending date on the I-20. A new I-20 will be issued including the extra semester(s) needed.
Leaving the U.S.
The timeframe by which F-1 students must leave the country depends on the following circumstances:
Completion of degree or authorized employment: 60 days from program end date
(F-1 students who have graduated may not work on campus during their 60 day grace period)
Authorized withdrawal by DSO: 30 days from date of withdrawal
Violation of status: immediate departure, NO grace period