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We are open all year around except for RIT holidays, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
International Student Services
Rochester Institute of Technology
42 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
An ISS advisor must sign your I-20 once a year. This signature acknowledges that you are a full-time student and that you are maintaining your F-1 status at RIT. The signature appears on page 2 of the I-20. If you are on OPT the travel signature on your I-20 is valid for six months.
An ISS advisor is able to issue a replacement I-20 form if yours is lost, damaged, or stolen.
In this case you should contact International Student Services to request that a replacement of your form be mailed to you. You may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to make this request.
Yes. If you must remain in the US beyond the date indicated (in section 5) on your I-20, the form may be extended but it must be extended BEFORE the I-20 expires. A Program Extension Form is available on the Forms section of the ISS website. This form must be signed by your academic advisor indicating your new program end date and submitted to ISS. Requests for extensions should be submitted 30 - 90 days prior to the expiration date of the Form I-20 so the extension process can be completed prior to the expiration date on the document.
If you plan to travel internationally while on OPT the travel signature on page two of your I-20 is valid for six months. Contact ISS at email@example.com if you are on OPT and need to request a travel signature.
Yes, in most cases. You can usually revalidate an expired visa automatically when returning from a visit of less than thirty days to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States (other than Cuba) provided that you have a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.
However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically revalidate your visa.
No. You will need a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.
To find out if you need a visitor's visa to enter Canada please check to see if your country is on the list available on the Canadian Government website.
Applicants for Canadian visas must submit applications by mail to a Canadian consulate. For complete instructions please visit the Consulate General of Canada in New York website.
An extra step in the Canadian visa application process is now being implemented for people from certain countries. It requires an online application, followed by a trip to an ASC - Application Support Center (the closest one to RIT is in Buffalo) for photographs and fingerprints (biometrics). The ASC nearest to you can be found through this site: USCIS Service and Office Locator.
You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation (see question # ?) does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.
The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/.
You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until your visa has been issued. In some cases, this could take several weeks if a background check is required. If your visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the Department of State website for specific information pertaining to each consulate.
If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.
The ISS staff will provide I-20s/DS-2019s for dependents of F-1 or J-1 students and scholars applying for dependent visas at a U.S.embassy or consulate overseas. A I-20/DS-2019 Request for Dependent F-2/J-2 Visa Form is available on the ISS website.
If you would like family or friends to visit you in the United States they will need to apply for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas. Please check out Inviting Family and Friends to Visit You for information on visitor visas and a sample invitation letter you may write and send to them. This letter, explaining the reason for their visit, may be brought to their visa interview, the Port of Entry, or elsewhere as needed.
To find out if you need a visitor’s visa to enter Canada please check to see if your country is on the list available on the Canadian Government website at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp
Applicants for Canadian visas must submit applications by mail to a Canadian consulate. For complete instructions please visit the Government of Canada website.
To change status from F-2 dependent to F-1 student, an application, fee, and supporting documents must be sent to USCIS. The International Program Coordinators will review completed application materials, make photocopies of them and mail packet for applicants.
Applicants for a change of status from F-2 to F-1 may not attend RIT until their change of status is approved by USCIS. For complete details on how to apply for a change of status, please visit The Change of Status section of our website http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/iss/immigrationandemployment_changesta...
No. You can only obtain a new visa when you are outside the U.S. at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Keep in mind that you do not need a valid visa once you are inside the U.S. As long as you are maintaining your status and have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 card.
In some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the United States until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/. You can also visit www.nvars.com, the site that provides appointments for consulates in Canada and Mexico.
Applying for a new visa is not the same as automatic visa revalidation. You cannot apply for a new visa and take advantage of automatic visa revalidation at the same time.
Permission to participate in curricular practical training is granted by the International Program Coordinators in the form of a new SEVIS I-20 with the employment information noted on it. After registering for co-op with your academic department and/or Handshake on the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education website (please check with your department on the registration requirements for your particular degree program), you may submit the Online Curricular Practical Training Request Form along with a copy of your employment offer, or stop by the ISS office with your job offer and complete the application in person. Your job offer must include the full name and address of the company where you will be working as well as the start and end dates of the employment. You will receive an email from ISS when your new I-20 is ready to be picked up. The process usually takes no more than 48 hours to complete.
You may start working when you have the I-20 with curricular practical training authorization on it and after the CPT start date noted on the I-20.
Check with your academic department about registering for another term of co-op. If your request is approved, please repeat the steps described under "I just got a co-op job. What should I do?"
You may do as many co-ops as your academic department requires or allows. Keep in mind, however, that if you complete more than 365 days of curricular practical training you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training when you graduate.
Yes. After you have attended a OPT Workshop and gathered all of the required application materials please call the ISS front desk at 475-6943 to schedule an OPT appointment.
Please visit the OPT section of our F-1 Employment page.
It can take up to 90 days for OPT (and sometimes longer) to be granted. While it may take less time depending on the time of year a student applies, we recommend that RIT students plan to wait at least two months to receive Optional Practical Training authorization.
As a student on initial or extended OPT, you are required by US immigration regulations to report the following events to RIT within ten days:
To report this information please go to ISS’s OPT Reporting web page http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/iss/OPTreporting.php
You may be unemployed for a total of 90 days during your 12 months of OPT. Each day (including weekends) during the period of your OPT authorization that you are not employed counts as a day of unemployment. Students who are reaching the limit of their unemployment time should prepare to take action to maintain their status in the U.S. (secure admission to another college or university in the U.S. for further study, apply for a change of status) or prepare to leave the U.S.
If you earned a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. degree at RIT in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (known as a “STEM field”) and your employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program, you are eligible to apply for a 24-month OPT STEM Extension. The STEM Designated Degree Program List can be found on the SEVP website http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm.
You may file for the 24-month STEM extension up to 90 days prior to the end of your post-completion OPT. There is a link to our STEM Extension Packet in the IMPORTANT INFO section of the ISS homepage.
To apply for a Social Security number you must have a job offer or be working. (Keep in mind that even during their first term in the United States international students are able to work up to 20 hours per week on campus). You will find the process for getting a Social Security number described on our website at Social Security Numbers.
You may apply for a replacement card by following all of the same steps required for a first time application. On the application form, however, you will need to answer questions about your previously issued card. The replacement card that will be mailed to you will have the same number as your previous card.
If you are not eligible for a social security number, you'll need to get a note from the Social Security Administration to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles with you when you apply for your license. A complete list of requirements for a New York State Driver’s License is available at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles at http://www.dmv.ny.gov/license.htm
Spouses on F-2 visas are not permitted to work in the United States.
Spouses on J-2 visas can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to be employed in the United States. The employment may not be for the purpose of financially supporting the J-1 spouse.The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS.
Spouses on F-2 visas may not take part in full-time study. F-2 spouses may take part in study that is “avocational or recreational in nature,” meaning to pursue a hobby or if the study is occasional, casual, or recreational. This means they may not take part in classes that lead to a degree.
Spouses on J-2 visas may study in the United States.
If you find yourself stuck at a U.S. point of entry during regular business hours (8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday – Friday) please call ISS at 585-475-6943 and ask to speak to an International Student Advisor. If you are in this situation outside of regular business hours please contact RIT Public Safety at 585-475-3333. A Public Safety officer will get in touch with a member of the ISS staff who will then contact you and try to resolve the problem.
If you need to go home immediately it is recommended that you inform your academic department and the ISS office. In some emergency situations, however, there is not time for a student to contact these offices. If this is the case, please contact these offices by phone or email as soon as possible.
One of the services provided by Student Government is free legal advice for RIT students. You may arrange for an appointment with an attorney who comes to campus to assist students twice a week. Appointments are available for either 15 or 30 minute periods. Contact Student Government at (585) 475-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
Students who have maintained valid F-1 or J-1 status are eligible for a grace period after finishing their program. For students on F-1 visas the grace period is 60 days, and for students on J-1 visas the grace period is 30 days. During this time you may travel within the U.S., make arrangements to return home, transfer your SEVIS record to another school, or apply to USCIS for a Change of Status.
If you are leaving before finishing your program, the grace period will be shortened or eliminated. In this case, you should leave the country or make other arrangements promptly. In this situation an ISS advisor will be happy to discuss the necessary time frame for your departure.
After being admitted to another university please make an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor. If you have been given a Transfer Form from the new university it is important for you to bring it with you. If you have not been given a Transfer Form contact the university to ask if they have one. The ISS advisor who meets with you will discuss the “release date” that will be entered into the SEVIS database. After that date the new university will be able to make an I-20 for you.
All full and part time RIT international students are automatically enrolled in the RIT Basic Student Accident and Sickness Insurance policy unless otherwise exempted by RIT. Information about health insurance for international students as well as how to request a waiver is available in the Health Insurance section of our website.
Peer Advisor Leaders (PALs) are current graduate/undergraduate, international and American students who volunteer to be back on campus early to prepare the arrival of all of the new international students on move-in day. PALs will be there when you arrive at the airport and will help you to get to the RIT campus. They will be there to help you move into your room or apartment. They will be available throughout Orientation to answer questions you may have.
International Student Services provides a variety of tax-filing resources for international students: free software, workshops, access to a tax consultant, and more. Emails with information regarding filing taxes are sent out in the spring to all RIT international students