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Maintaining Your Visa Status

The information presented below will help current Ithaca College students who are F-1 or J-1 visa holders maintain lawful status while in the U.S.

What is a DSO or an RO?

Ithaca College has three Designated School Officials (DSOs)/Responsible Officers (ROs) who are the ONLY individuals on campus that can process immigration documents and provide information regarding your immigration status:
•    Diana Dimitrova, Director of International Student and Scholar Services
•    Rachel Gould, Director of Study Abroad
•    Tanya Saunders, Assistant Provost of International Programs and Extended Studies
 

Follow the guidelines below to maintain lawful student status:

Keep your travel documents valid and current.  Make sure your passport is valid; if you need an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019, apply for it before the current document expires. Make sure that your I-20 or DS-2019 reflect your current degree program and level.  If you change your major, notify the Office of International Programs and Extended Studies (OIPES), immediately, so we may issue a new document.

Always enroll in a full-time course load during the academic year. At Ithaca College, full-time enrollment is a minimum of 12-credits for undergraduate students and 9-credits for graduate students every semester. 

Meet with an authorized immigration advisor from OIPES and obtain written permission before dropping below full-time enrollment.
 

You must always:

Report your current local (Ithaca) address, phone number, visa, and passport information to the OIPES.  Be sure to update your records if any of this information should change.

If your local address changes, be sure to notify the OIPES within 10-days from the date you moved.  If you have dependents (spouse and children who are with you in the U.S.), you must report any changes to their names, their address(es), and their passport information.

Make sure that you have the required re-entry documents when traveling outside of the U.S.  It is good practice to obtain a new travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from the OIPES before departing the U.S. 

NEVER work without proper authorization.  Do not engage in off-campus employment (including internships) without prior authorization and immigration approval.  Working without the appropriate immigration authorization is a serious violation of your student status.  Limit authorized on-campus employment to 20-hours or less per week while school is in session and no more than 40-hours per week during school vacations.

Notify an Ithaca College DSO promptly upon the completion of your program, the termination of your program of study, or if you plan to transfer to another U.S. educational institution.

Meet with an Ithaca College DSO before studying abroad or taking a leave of absence.
 

Minimize stress by proactively following the advice listed below:

If you are not sure, always ask!  The OIPES staff is here to answer your questions and explain the immigration regulations to the best of our ability.

Check the e-mail messages you receive through the international listserve; they will be sent to your IC email account. If you prefer that these notification are sent to a different email address, please notify OIPES.  The notices and updates posted on the listserve may carry essential and time-sensitive information relating to your immigration status; check for them often and act upon them immediately.

Accept immigration advice only from authorized sources.  Contact the OIPES if you need clarification related to your student visa status. If we are unable to assist, we may refer you to an immigration attorney who can help. Do not take immigration advice from students, professors, or the Internet. Bad advice may place your immigration status in jeopardy.

Be proactive and submit requests to the OIPES in advance; do not wait until the last minute. We always do our best to assist students in a timely manner, however, we are not always able to complete last-minute requests.

Understand that it is your responsibility to maintain your student visa status. The OIPES will inform you of your responsibilities and assist, if necessary, but you must remain vigilant. 

SEVIS changes are always possible. If a change should occur, the OIPES will post announcements on the listserve. Be sure to check your email frequently.