Many kinds of updates must be reported to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through SEVIS and must be changed on your I-20. Notify Webber International Student Services of the following changes and request an updated I-20. Keep every I-20 for your permanent record, even after you graduate. Webber will not retain copies of your I-20s. It is your responsibility to keep I-20s in case you need them to apply for future immigration benefits.
If there is a substantial change in the source or amount of your funding, report this change to the Webber International Student Services and a new I-20 will be issued to you.
The name on your I-20 should match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, this change should be reflected on your I-20. Conversely, if you want a different name on your I-20, Webber will wait for you to change your passport first, before updating the I-20. Note that SEVIS is a separate database from the Webber database.
Immigration regulations require all international students to report any change of address to be reported to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) within 10 days of moving. Update your local address by emailing the Webber International Student Services and a DSO will update your SEVIS record. This applies to students while they are actively on OPT in the U.S.
Please note that your local address must be your physical address. P.O. Boxes are not an acceptable form of address.
If you have a change of immigration status while studying at Webber, you will need to provide the documentation verifying your change of status. If you are seeking a change of status, please request an appointment with Webber International Services. The process of changing status can be challenging and we want to discuss your options with you. You might also want to consult an immigration attorney.
If you are unable to complete your course of study before the academic program completion date noted on your I-20. You must request to extend your I-20 PRIOR to your current I-20 expiration date. If the expiration date on the I-20 has passed, students must meet with a DSO immediately, as the student is considered to be out of status and is not eligible for reinstatement.
To qualify for a program extension, F-1 students must meet the following requirements:
- The expiration date of the I-20 has not yet passed
- Continuously maintained the F-1 student status
- The delay in completion of program must be due to one of the following reasons:
– Compelling academic reason (change of major, change in research topic, unexpected research problems, etc.)
– Compelling medical reason (documentation is required from U.S. licensed medical physician.
- Must have sufficient funds to cover the additional time needed to complete program requirements, which includes tuition and living expenses.
NOTE: Delays caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for a program extension. Program extensions may affect future CPT eligibility. Please consult with a DSO.
Please set up an appointment with a DSO to discuss the I-20 Extension Process for F-1 students.
You will be responsible for proof of funding (tuition plus living expenses through a funding letter or bank statement). Please submit the Program Extension form along with the proof of funding to a DSO at least three weeks before the expiration date of the I-20.
If you decide to transfer to another school, contact the Webber International Student Services prior to completing your final semester at Webber. You will be required to provide an acceptance letter to your new SEVP certified school and complete their visa clearance form. A DSO will process your transfer out request.
Students desiring to transfer in to Webber from another school will need to meet all admissions requirements and be admitted. The student will provide the acceptance letter and complete our Visa Transfer Form to the transfer-out school. This will allow the transfer-out school to process the request for transfer. After a student has been admitted and paid the admissions deposit, the Office of Admissions will have a DSO initiate an I-20 request.
F-1 students should not drop below full-time enrollment until they have received authorization from a DSO. Students who drop below full-time enrollment without the proper authorization from a DSO will be considered out of status.
Academic Difficulty (RCL)
Students may request an RCL due to academic difficulty only once per degree level. Academic difficulty could be due to the following reasons:
- Difficulty with English language or reading requirements
- Unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods or
- Improper course placement
Students who receive an academic difficulty RCL must resume a full course of study in the next available semester in order to maintain status.
A DSO may authorize a medical RCL due to a temporary medical condition with an appropriate doctor’s letter recommending the RCL for medical reasons. Students must receive prior approval from a DSO for the medical RCL. To submit a medical RCL, F-1 students must meet with a DSO at Webber.
Requirements of Medical RCL:
- Letter from licensed physician, medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist that recommends student to take less than the minimum units required for full time enrollment
- Receive prior approval from a DSO and academic department before dropping classes
- No more than 12 months (3 semesters) total of Medical RCL is permitted per degree level. The 12 month aggregate total includes semesters in which a student has taken a Leave of Absence (LOA) for medical reasons and remained in the U.S. to receive treatment
- Must take a minimum of 6 credit hours for undergraduate students or 3 credit hours for graduate students
If a doctor believes that a student is unable to meet this minimum credit hour enrollment, then the student should consider a Medical Leave of Absence.
Final Semester RCL
A DSO may authorize a final semester RCL for students who are in their final semester of study and only have a few credit hours remaining to meet academic program requirements. Students may request an RCL due to final semester only once per degree program.
F-1 international students who wish to take a semester off during the academic year (fall and spring semesters) and not enroll in courses must receive authorization for a Leave of Absence (LOA) from a DSO and their academic department.
- Student must be in good academic standing when requesting an LOA from a DSO
- Student must be outside the U.S. during the LOA
In order to apply for a LOA, the student must schedule an appointment with a DSO to discuss the LOA they are requesting.
F-1 students are eligible to take an LOA due to medical reasons. Students have the option to return to their home country or remain in the U.S. to receive medical treatment if recommended by a doctor. Students who wish to remain in the U.S. must obtain a doctor’s letter recommending the LOA for medical reasons. Students who remain in the U.S. without obtaining advance approval for medical LOA from a DSO will be considered out of status.
Requirements and Limitations of Medical LOA:
- Must have a letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist recommending leave for a specific semester
- Doctor’s note should specify if the student should remain in U.S. to receive treatment
- Must have PRIOR approval from DSO and academic department before withdrawing from courses
- No more than 12 months total leave are allowed per degree level. The 12 month aggregate maximum includes all Reduced Course Load approved for medical reasons
- Students considering a LOA due to medical reasons must meet with a DSO
If the student with an approved LOA remains outside the U.S. for longer than five months, the student must obtain a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID number in order to re-enter the U.S. and return to Webber. The current I-20 will be invalid after being outside of the U.S. for more than five months.
It is the student’s responsibility to email the Admissions Department and a DSO at least two months prior to returning to Webber to request the new I-20. Students will need to use the new I-20 to pay the SEVIS fee and apply for a new F-1 visa, even though they may possess an unexpired visa associated with their previous I-20 SEVIS ID number.
LOA and Off-Campus Work Authorization
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations state that an F-1 international student must be in status for a full academic year in order to be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). This regulation is especially important to note for students who are considering an LOA of over five months in their final year of studies at Webber.
Returning from LOA
All students returning from an LOA must validate their return to Webber by reporting to a DSO within 21 days of the start of the new semester.
Students must bring the following documents to the appointment:
- Copy of stamped I-20
- Print out of I-94 Arrival/Departure record
- Copy of F-1 visa in passport
F-1 students who wish to bring their spouse and/or unmarried children (under the age of 21) to the US as their dependents must request an F-2 I-20 for each of their dependents. Dependents will need their dependent I-20 in order to apply for the F-2 visas at the US Embassy in their home country. You will be required to provide financial documentation for each dependent on the Certification of Financial Responsibility prior to being issued the F-2 I-20(s).
Parents of F-1 students are not considered dependents and are not eligible for F-2 visas. Please visit the US Department of State’s website for more information regarding dependents and the F-2 visas.