USCIS – The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as the INS) is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. This department of the government is responsible for all immigrants entering and living in the United States. USCIS enforces all immigration regulations.
GSW - Georgia Southwestern State University
SEVIS – The Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) was created by the Department of Homeland Security to collect, maintain, and track information relative to international students and exchange visitors. SEVIS is an internet based system that will allow Georgia Southwestern State University, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration , and the Department of State to view a student’s information instantaneously. SEVIS is an effort to cut down on paperwork, improve reporting procedures and facilitate compliance with regulations.
DSO – Your Designated School Official (DSO) is the individual who can assist you with your immigration questions and concerns. All changes and/or corrections to your personal and academic information must be made through your DSO. You are expected to meet with your DSO at least twice a semester. You can also contact your Associate Designated School Official (ADSO) or Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).
Authorization to Release Information by School – By signing your I-20, you have agreed that Georgia Southwestern State University is authorized to release information from your records to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) or Department of State. The USCIS requires the university to provide your name, country of birth, current address, and any other information on a regular basis or upon request.
Deportation – the formal removal of an alien from the United States when the alien has been found removable for violating the immigration laws. Deportation is ordered by an immigration judge without any punishment being imposed or contemplated.
Duration of Stay (D/S) – Your I-20 outlines the dates you are authorized to be in the United States as an F-1 Student. You are expected to complete your degree program within this time frame. You have 60 days after the expiration date to leave the country or be accepted into another level or program.
Employment Authorization Card (EAD) – This small plastic card is issued by the Department of Homeland Security to show authorization for employment. You must have this card to work off campus.
Extension of Stay – You will need to apply for an extension of stay with the USCIS if you are not able to complete your educational program within the dates listed on your I-20. You must request the extension BEFORE the end date on your I-20.Please contact your DSO for more information.
Nonimmigrant – An alien who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. The alien must have a permanent residence abroad and qualify for the nonimmigrant classification sought. F-1 Students are considered nonimmigrant!
Optional Practical Training (OPT): Students who have completed their program may extend their stay in the U.S. for up to one year through OPT. OPT involves working in an area close to their field with approval of their school DSO.
Out of Status – You are considered “out-of-status” if you have violated any aspect of the terms in which you were permitted into the United States. These aspects include but are not limited to: failing to enroll as a full time student, failing to complete your degree program and leave the U.S. within the dates on your I-20, failing to report a change of name or address, failing to remain in Good Academic Standing, and/or being academically suspended from the university for any reason (suspension prohibits registration therefore you are out of status). Refer to page 2 for a guide to remaining in status!
Permanent Resident Alien – Any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant (permanent resident card is also known as a green card.
Port of Entry (POE) – Any location in the United States or its territories that is designated as a point of entry for aliens and U.S. citizens. All district and files control offices are also considered ports, since they become locations of entry for aliens adjusting to immigrant status.
Proof of Enrollment – You may be asked to present proof of your enrollment at GSW when applying for a new visa or passport, applying for a social security card or when re-entering the United States. You may request a letter of verification from the Registrar’s Office, Sanford Hall, Room 210. (We must have a request in writing with your signature. No requests are accepted via telephone or email) Please remember that there is a 24-48 hour processing time on these requests. PLAN AHEAD!!!
Reinstatement – If for some reason you have fallen out of status, you have the option to apply for reinstatement. You will be required to complete an application for reinstatement and explain why you have failed to maintain your F-1 status to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration reserves the right to grant or deny reinstatement. If you need to apply for reinstatement, contact your DSO immediately to discuss your options!
Resident Alien – Applies to non-U.S. citizens currently residing in the United States. There are several types of resident aliens.
Social Security Number (SSN) – A social security card is issued by the United States Government to keep track of earned wages. Click here to access the Social Security Administration website.
Transcript – A transcript is record of your attendance and academic performance at the university. Some U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Officials may request a copy of your university transcript in addition to your immigration documents. If you need a transcript, you may request a copy of your transcript from the Registrar’s Office. (We must have a request in writing with your signature. No requests are accepted via telephone or email) Please remember that there is a 24-48 hour processing time on these requests. PLAN AHEAD!!!!
- Travel signature - If you are temporarily leaving the United States and plan to be readmitted on your F-1 Visa, then you must obtain the signature of a DSO on your I-20 before you travel outside the United States. The signature is valid for 12 months. If your DSO is not available, please contact the PDSO.