Georgia Southwestern State University is part of the Department of Homeland Security's Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Through this system, the university has become a liaison between GSW international students and a number of government agencies. To meet federal obligations imposed by these agencies, Georgia Southwestern State University is required to report certain personal, academic, and employment related data on international students and scholars to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Georgia Southwestern State University is dedicated to enabling international students to accomplish their educational goals on our campus so long as the student maintains visa status and abides by the policies of the university. In an effort to assist students with immigration matters, each institution has been assigned a Designated School Official (DSO). The DSO for GSW is Mrs. Lois Oliver, Assistant Registrar.
All F-1 international students must consult a DSO before making any changes that will affect their immigration status. These changes include, but are not limited to, a change of major, a change of degree program, a change of address, a change of school, etc.
All F-1 international students are required to attend an international student orientation session at the beginning of each semester. The orientation session will inform and remind students of general immigration regulations that may affect their stay in the United States. As part of the orientation, students will be issued an International Student Handbook to use as a reference for international questions and concerns. Students may also access the handbook online at:http://www.gsw.edu/international/f1/index.html. Attend the University that the US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) has authorized you to attend by stamping your I-20 when you entered the U.S., or by being notified of your transfer to another school.
MAINTAINING F-1 VISA STATUS
In order for international students to maintain a valid F-1 Visa status, the following conditions must be met:
- Maintain a valid passport at all times.
- Continue to carry a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduate students, 9 hours for graduate students) each regular semester (fall and spring).
- Apply with your Designated School Official promptly for an extension of stay if you are unable to complete your program of study by the ending date on your I-20.
- Apply with your Designated School Official for proper documentation to notify USCIS of a change of education level and/or a change in major.
- Do not change schools without first contacting your Designated School Official for proper documentation.
- Do not engage in any employment without proper authorization. Only students holding an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) are allowed to work off-campus. A social security card is not an EAD card.
- Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours per week while school is in session.
- Report a change of address to the DSO and the Registrar's Office within 10 days of the change.
- Maintain approved health insurance coverage.
- Obey all local, state, and federal laws.