International Students

Immigration FYIs

Restrictions on F-2 study (1/22/03)
The final F SEVIS rule prohibits full-time study by F-2 spouses and limits full-time study by F-2 children to elementary and secondary schooling. F-2 dependents are permitted to engage in part-time vocational or recreational study. An F-2 spouse or child desiring to engage in full-time study other than that allowed must apply for and obtain a change of non-immigrant classification to F-1, J-1, or M-1 status. An F-2 spouse or F-2 child violates his or her non-immigrant status by engaging in full time study. (Source: SEVIS resource 2002-g, Final INS F SEVIS rule, version 1/22/03)

U.S. Visit system (12/01/04)The goal of this new U.S. Visit system is to enhance the security of US citizens and visitors, facilitate legitimate travel and trade, ensure the integrity of our immigration system and protect the privacy of our visitors. The U.S. VISIT program is the centerpiece of the United States government’s efforts to transform our nation’s border management and immigration systems in a way that meets the needs and challenges of the 21st century. U.S. VISIT is part of the many security measures that begins outside U.S. borders and continues through a visitor’s arrival in and departure from the United States. It incorporates eligibility determinations made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State.

U.S. VISIT currently applies to all visitors (with limited exemptions) entering the United States, regardless of country of origin or whether they are traveling on a visa or by air, sea or land. Most visitors experience U.S. Visit’s biometric procedures – digital, inkless finger scans and digital photograph – upon entry to the United States. For more information, visit the Department of Homeland Security website.

Changes in application requirements for Social Security Number (9/13/04)The United States Social Security Administration has revised the rules for assigning social security numbers for international students. Effective October 13, 2004 the student who wishes to apply for the SSN should bring the following documents:

  • A valid passport and visa providing evidence of age, identity, immigration status
  • Valid and active SEVIS I-20, must have been registered on SEVIS
  • Proof of on-campus employment such as a completed Work Student Agreement form which shows the title of position, duration of employment and number of hours work. The form must be verified and signed by the Rivier University payroll manager.
  • Letter from the International Student Advising office verifying his/her full-time status and authorization to work on campus.
  • Completed Application for Social Security Card: 

SEVIS Fee announcement (8/24/04)Beginning September 1, 2004 a new United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule goes into effect. This rule requires F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $200.00 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The following information specifically addressed fee issues for F-1 students.

Who pays the SEVIS fee? 

  • Prospective students with "initial attendance" SEVIS Form I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for an "initial" F-1 visa from outside the U.S.
  • Prospective students with "initial attendance" SEVIS Form I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another visa category
  • Current F-1 students in the United States filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, and who are issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is dated on or after 9/1/2004

Will other F-1 students in the United States have to pay?No, unless the student's circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories mentioned above.

Do I have to pay if I transfer to another school, travel outside the U.S.or renew my visa?The SEVIS fee is not required when transferring schools, changing to another degree program or level, requesting a program extension, renewing an F-1 visa or using F-1 program benefits such as practical training. If you are in status when you travel internationally and are not physically outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will NOT be required to pay the fee.

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?The fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa, or applying for admission at a U.S. port-of-entry for those exempt from the visa requirement. The fee must be paid prior to submission of a change of status petition or reinstatement application.

Can I pay the SEVIS fee at a university, consulate or port-of-entry?No. At this time the SEVIS fee can only be processed by the Department of Homeland Security via mail or internet.

How do I pay the fee?The fee can be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the U.S. For Form I-901 and more information on payment methods, please visit 

What if my F-1 visa application is denied?The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again. (Source: NAFSA News)

Immigration Photo GuidelinesImmigration photos are part of the application requirements when applying for employment authorization documents, adjustment of status and adjustment of status to permanent residence. USCIS applications requiring immigration photos must be accompanied by the same style full-face photograph as is now used for visa applications. Please stop by ISAO and ask for a copy of the required photo specifications. (Source: NAFSA news and DOS U.S. passport and U.S. Visa Photography Guide).

INS Publishes Rules Affecting B Visitors, U.S.StudyOn Friday, April 12, 2002, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published an interim rule, effective immediately, that prohibits a B nonimmigrant (both B-1 visitors for business and B-2 visitors for pleasure) from "enrolling in a course of study or taking other actions inconsistent with B nonimmigrant status" unless and until INS has approved the B nonimmigrant's change to "an appropriate student nonimmigrant status." In a separate notice, INS also published a new proposed rule. If finalized as is, that rule would, among other things, prohibit non-immigrants admitted in B visitor status from changing to student status unless they had stated an intention to study at the time of admission to the United States.

Advisory on INS Change of Address RequirementImmigration law and regulations require that all foreign nationals, including lawful permanent residents, report each personal change of address and new address with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) on Form AR-11 within ten days of moving. Only certain diplomats and employees of international organizations are exempt from this requirement. Please note that the notification of INS about a personal change of address is ultimately an obligation of the foreign (student and scholar), and not the U.S. (institution). Change of Address forms are available in the International Student Advising Office or online at

Email-F-1ISS Welcome HandbookPre-Arrival Guide