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F-1 Students

The F-1 visa is for non-immigrants to enter the United States solely for the purpose of study. In order for prospective F-1 students to obtain this type of visa, they will have to show evidence that after completing studies, the individual will return to the country of their permanent residence.

The university, after accepting a student, will send a Form I-20, which is then used to apply for an F-1 visa from an American consulate abroad after paying the SEVIS fee. (see SEVIS) To be admitted to the US, it is necessary to have both the I-20 and an F-1 visa.
After being admitted to the US, the student is then eligible to stay in the US for “duration of status” (D/S on form I-94 and I-20 ID).

To maintain good standing with your student status at WVU you must take at least 12 credit/hours per semester at the undergraduate level and meet all the requirements. At the graduate level full course of study is defined by your college but usually 9 credit/hours per semester. Permission to register less-than-full-time (Reduced Course Load) must be obtained through International Students and Scholars Services. Please note that your Academic Advisor must complete the form before bringing it to ISSS.

F-1 student status permits you to work on campus for no more than 20 hours/week and, during and/or after the completion of your studies with prior permission, work off-campus in an Economic Hardship or OPT/CPT. It will also allow you to bring your dependents (husband/spouse and children) to the U.S., if there are sufficient financial resources for their support.

Duration of status (or to be “in status”) means the time during which the student is in compliance with F-1 regulations. Upon completion of studies, the student has an additional 60 days to depart the US.

Extension of I-20 – Bring NEW financial documentation when you need a new I-20 or for an extension if you cannot complete your program by the date listed on your I-20. You will also need a letter from your Academic Advisor explaining why you need an extension.

Change of Program or Level

If the student wants to change levels (Bachelor’s degree to Master’s degree) while remaining at this university, a new I-20 with the new educational program noted needs to be issued after the student has been admitted. The student will need to notify ISSS of the change once the new I-20 is issued.

Travel Abroad

When preparing to travel abroad it is important to ensure you have the required documents for entry to another country and re-entry to the U.S. Entry requirements to other countries are typically available on their embassies websites. Depending on the country to be visited and the student’s nationality, there may be the need to apply for a visitor’s visa. In order to return to the U.S., a student must have a valid passport, a valid U.S visa and a valid I-20 that is signed by an ISSS Staff member within the past year.

Current regulations require that those individuals holding non-immigrant (temporary) visa status turn their I-94 arrival/departure record card when leaving the U.S. Failure to do that will result in the departure not being recorded properly in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) system and the individual being regarded as overstaying his/her authorized stay. This can have serious consequences on future entry into the U.S.

The issuance of I-94 arrival/departure record cards is now electronic. Once a student enters the U.S, a paper I-94 card will not be issued at the point of entry. Students will have to access the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ( CBP) website to print out the paper copy of their I-94 card for their records. The I-94 card is required for processing social security cards, and Driver Licenses.

Please go to the SEVIS website for complete information on Travel FAQ for F-1 . Please remember to bring your I-20 to ISSS at least two weeks before you leave the U.S. so that we can make sure that your I-20 has been signed within a year of your intended return to the U.S.