Immigration

Contact Information

Office of Admissions
4700 Research Way
Lakeland, Florida 33805
863-874-4774

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security sets and enforces the rules that govern immigration to the U.S. It is important for international students to understand the status of their stay in this country.

The Office of International Admissions will gladly answer any questions and concerns you have about your visa.

What is an F-1 Visa student?

A student holding an F-1 status is a non-immigrant allowed to remain in the United States for as long as he or she is:

  1. A full-time student making satisfactory progress towards a degree at the school he or she is approved to attend.
  2. A student in an authorized period of post-graduation practical training directly related to his or her field of study.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is the acronym for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.Each F-1 student has an individual record and unique SEVIS number, which can be transferred to other schools.

Visa applications start with a Form I-20 or DS-2019. The requested “reporting date” is the same as your program start date. International students are allowed to enter up to 30 days before starting classes.

Source: http://www.usembassy.gov/

Obtaining Your Visa:

  • Review your Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Make sure all information printed is correct
  • Read printed instructions on the back of form and sign
  • Note that you have been given a reporting date, which is based on your program start date. This is the date you should enter the U.S. with your I-20 or DS-2019.

Note: International students are allowed to enter up to 30 days before starting class.

  • Pay your SEVIS fee ( Form I-901)
  • Schedule visa appointment
  • Apply for you U.S. Visa in your country of citizenship or residence.

Source: http://www.usembassy.gov/

Required Documents for Interview:

  • Valid Passport
  • Form I-20
  • Florida Polytechnic University acceptance letter
  • Financial Documents
  • You may complete Form DS-156 (Applications for nonimmigrant visa)

Note: I-20 form is for F-1 Visa, and DS-2019 is for J-1 visa. Spouse and children will need to apply for F-2 and J-2 dependent visa.

Employment

International students should check with the Office of International Admissions for guidance on the types of work they can perform with their current visa.

Generally, international students are limited to a20 hour work week while school is in session. Work can be full-time during breaks in classes. Students must be registered as full-time students while employed.

International students are required to complete the I-9 Form to work.  This form should be updated with any changes to your address, field of study or source of funding within 10 days of the change.

Social Security

A social security number is a nine digit number issued to all citizens living and working in the U.S. Students with an F-1 visa working on campus or off campus are required to apply for a Social Security number.

Note: Please provide the following documents to Social Security Administration:

  • Valid Passport (except Canadian citizens)
  • I-94 Card
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Employer’s Offer of Employment Letter

Resource: http://www.ssa.gov/

Taxes

International students are required to file an income tax return each year, regardless of your status or whether you were employed. Additional information is available from the Office of International Admissions.

Resource: http://www.irs.gov/

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance is mandatory for all international students. They are also required to submit their immunization form before classes begin.

Click here for more information

Travel

Within the U.S.: International students have the right to limitless travel within the U.S., provided they keep their F-1 status, immigration documents and passport with them.

Outside the U.S.: Please check with the Office of International Admissions before you travel outside the U.S. If you are traveling outside the U.S. with the intention of coming back, or if you enroll in another university, you must inform the Office of International Admissions and obtain a new I-20 Form.

Driver’s Licenses

The best place to find out detailed information on getting get a driver’s license is directly from the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (HSMV) website. Please click here.

The following documents are necessary:

  • Valid Passport and Visa
  • I-94 Departure Record (indicating F-1 or J-1, D/S)
  • Current Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • A letter from International Students and Scholars Services that the student is maintaining both immigration and academic status

Foreign Embassies and Consulates

Please refer to this document to find the closest foreign embassies and consulates near Florida Poly.

Express Mail

The Office of International Admissions uses an express mail service that allows you to receive your immigration document (Form I-20 or Form DS2019) in 3-5 business days. Requesting your immigration documents through express mail is at your expense. Your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover cards only) will be charged. Please refer to this guide for more information.