Information For Future and Admitted International Students
Most students at Walsh University enter the United States on an F-1 student visa in order to enroll in a full-time degree program.
To be eligible for and F-1 student visa, students must receive a Form I-20 "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status" issued by Walsh University. To be eligible to receive an I-20 from Walsh, a student must:
- Meet the Academic Requirements
- Be admitted to Walsh University as a degree-seeking student. Programs that are completely online are not eligible for meeting this requirement
- Submit a completed "Certification of Financial Responsibility Form".
- Submit financial documentation showing that s/he has adequate financial support for at least the first year of the program. The requirements for financial documentation are listed on the Certification of Financial Responsibility form
- Submit a copy of the biographical page(s) of the passport
Once these documents are received, the Admissions Office will issue the I-20 and will notify the student once the I-20 has been prepared.
F-1 students may bring their dependent(s) (spouse and/or children) to the U.S. in F-2 visa status. A spouse in F-2 status may not accept employment in the U.S. or be full-time students. Part-time vocational or recreational study is permitted. F-2 children are permitted to study in elementary and secondary schools.
Students who are currently in the U.S. in valid F-1 status and are either studying in their academic program, on Optional Practical Training (OPT), or in the 60-day grace period will need to transfer their SEVIS record to Walsh University before they are eligible to begin their academic program at Walsh University. Instructions on how to transfer to Walsh University, as well as the necessary forms, can be found in the Transfer in packet.
After submitting all of the necessary forms and documents for your transfer, the Admissions office, or International Student Services will issue a "Transfer Pending I-20" and send it to you. Upon your arrival to Walsh University, you must check-in with the ISS and present your immigration documents and "Transfer Pending" I-20. Once you have checked-in and have registered full-time for classes, you will receive a new "Transfer Complete" I-20 verifying your valid F-1 status as a student at Walsh University.
Please remember that your transfer should be completed no later than the deadline. Failure to do so results in the violation of your non-immigrant status.
If you plan to leave the U.S. before attending Walsh University, be sure to get a "Transfer Pending" I-20 before your re-entry so that you may use this form to reenter the country or to apply for a new visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, if necessary.
Note: If you are out of status, you need to discuss reinstatement to valid status with International Student Services.
If you are currently in the U.S. on another visa (F-2, J-2 or H1b, H-4) and are admitted to Walsh University
If you have J-2, H-1, or H-4 visa status, Walsh University does not require you to change your status to F-1 student status to be enrolled. The only requirement is that you much check-in with International Student Services prior to enrolling in classes. When you check-in, you should bring your immigration documents so that a copy can be made for your file.
If you are in F-2 status and are admitted to a degree program, you will need to change your visa status to F-1 before enrolling at Walsh University.
If you wish to change from your present status to F-1 visa status, please download the information sheet regarding a change of status and contact International Student Services as soon as possible.
There are two things you should do to increase your chances of a favorable decision on your visa application:
- Have all the required documentation.
- Be calm and prepared.
1. Most of the procedures and requirements for applying for the F-1 visas are standardized for all U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad. However, some procedures may be specific for a particular country. Be sure to read the U.S. Embassy's website carefully, as it will list all of the detailed instructions for visa applications. Below are some links where you can find useful information regarding the visa application process.
2. When you receive your I-20 from Walsh University, check the following:
- Is your name spelled correctly and in the same format as it appears in your passport?
- Is the other information correct: date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, degree major, reporting date, completion date, financial information?
- Is it signed by a Designated School Official/Responsible Officer (Walsh immigration adviser)? Please note that initial I-20s will only have a signature on page 1. There should be no signature on page 3, as the signature on page 3 may only be given after your arrival to the U.S. and when you travel.
- Has the reporting date ("student must report no later than") passed? Please note that I-20 cannot be used after the listed reporting date.
Read all of the instructions on page two of the form and sign page one on #11. Signing the form means that you understand, and will abide by, the regulations of the visa status once you are in the United States.
3. Once you receive your I-20 from Walsh University, verify your personal information is correct. Ensure that your name and birth date match your passport. If you find mistakes notify International Student Services immediately. Read page 2 of your Form I-20. On Form I-20, print and sign your name and date your name and date your form at the bottom. Prior to apply for your F-1 visa you must pay a $350 SEVIS fee to the U.s Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Please visit the following site to pay the I-901 fee: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html#
Follow the instructions of the U.S. Embassy where you will apply for your visa and schedule your visa interview. At some point in this process you will need to pay the visa application fee.
Complete the required visa application forms and gather all of the documentation required by the U.S. Embassy, including the visa-qualifying document (I-20), admission letter, financial support documents, and the SEVIS I-901 Fee receipt. Read the U.S. Embassy's website carefully so that your application is complete in order to avoid delays or denials.
4. Prepare for your visa interview. Due to the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable pressure to conduct quick and efficient interviews. Keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point.
Written documents you are presenting must be concise, easily read and evaluated. Remember that the interview takes only a few minutes. The officer must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions he/she forms during the first minute of the interview.
The Consular Officer must be satisfied on three counts:
First, are your ties to home so strong that you will not want to remain permanently in the United States?
Laws generally state that you must demonstrate sufficient economic, family, and social ties to your place of residence to ensure that your stay in the United States will be temporary.
- Economic ties: These include your family's economic position, property you may own or stand to inherit, your own economic potential when you come home with a U.S. education, as well as evidence of your career planning and your knowledge of the local employment scene.
- Family and social ties: How many close family members live in your home country, compared to those living in the United States? What community or school activities have you participated in that demonstrate a sincere connection to your town or country? What leadership, sports, and other roles have distinguished you as a person who wants to come home and contribute your part?
Second, are you a bona fide student?
The officer will ask about your educational background and plans in order assess how likely you are to enroll and remain in college until graduation. Be prepared to discuss the reasons you chose a particular college, your anticipated major, and your career plans. Bring school transcripts, national examination results, SAT or TOEFL scores (if these tests were required by your college), and anything else that demonstrates your academic commitment.
Third, is your sponsor financially capable?
Visa requirements differ from country to country, but generally the consular officer wants assurances you will not drop out of school or take a job illegally. How can you show that your sponsor is able to finance your education?
- Your chances are improved if your parents are sponsoring your education. If anyone other than your parents is sponsoring you, you should explain your special relationship with this person, who may be committing tens of thousands of dollars to your education.
- Provide solid evidence of your sponsor's finances. This assures the Consular Officer that adequate funds will be available throughout your college program. If your sponsor's income is from several different sources (such as salary, contracts or consulting fees, a farm, rental property, investments), have the sponsor write a letter listing and documenting each source of income.
If your application is refused, the Consular Officer is required to give you an explanation in writing. You have the right to apply a second time, but if you reapply, make sure to prepare much more carefully. The Consular Officer will want to see fresh evidence sufficient to overcome the reasons for the first denial.
If you have been issued a visa to enter the United States, you will not be allowed to enter the country more than 30 days before the start of your program. If you are arriving early to Walsh University, you should make sure that Residence Life is informed of your early arrival. If you will be participating in an athletic pre-season or University Leadership program, your coach or Director, should also notify Residence Life, and will provide meals for you until your meal plan begins. If you are not in the above category, you will still need to notify Residence Life, and International Student Services will not provide your meal options until 1 day before orientation.
U.S. immigration law governs the entry of all visitors to the United States, including students and exchange visitors. It details what they are authorized to do during their stay in the country.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for ensuring that these visitors comply with U.S. law and regulations. When you arrive in the United States, you come under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, and one of the three units within DHS responsible for non-U.S. citizens: the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau.
Customs and Boarder Protection have automated the I-94 and I-94W process for all travelers applying for admission at U.S. ports of entry. Air and sea travelers no longer need to complete paper Form I-94. You may also want to make a copy of the I-94 printed from the CBP website for your personal records. This form will be very important if you must speak to a US government official (Social Security, Bureau of Motor Vehicle, etc.). Additional information about navigating the U.S. immigration system is available here.
After you arrive in North Canton, you are required to attend the International Student Services Orientation Session, where immigration rules will be discussed and handouts on maintaining valid status will be provided.
You may also schedule a meeting with the Director of International Student Services to discuss any questions or concerns you have about immigration regulations and requirements.
Once you arrive on campus, you should report immediately to International Student Services (ISS) Paul & Carol David Community Campus Center. When you check-in, you should bring the following documents with you:
- Passport with a visa stamp (Canadian students should bring the passport)
- It is not required but recommended to print your electronic I-94 from the Department of Homeland Security website
ISS must report your arrival to the US Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS. If this report is not submitted, you may be considered to be in violation of your status in the United States, so be sure to make ISS one of your first stops on campus.
Full-Time Student Status
The U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) requires all Walsh University international students to be enrolled full time and make satisfactory progress toward graduation.
To be a full time student, you must enroll in:
- a minimum of 12 undergraduate credits
- a minimum of nine graduate credits
In limited circumstances (for example, serious health problems) a reduced load may be allowed by BCIS, but this requires approval by the Director of International Student Services prior to dropping below full-time status. Various combinations of English as a Second Language, graduate and undergraduate courses are also possible with prior permission of the International Student Services.
It is your responsibility to be sure your course combinations are equivalent to full time status. International Student Services will be happy to help you and your academic adviser evaluate your status so you can be sure you are not violating BCIS regulations.
F-1 students may work on campus part-time (maximum of 20 hours per week) while school is in session, and full-time during vacation periods. Before beginning on-campus employment, you must meet with International Student Services; (Unless the University provides other stipulations on these rules). Once work authorization is given and the social security number is received the student must bring their I-20 and passport (with I-94) to International Student Services in order to file the proper paperwork. The application for a social security number is required before you can be paid for work. International students need authorization from the International Office to work off campus.
Students maintaining valid F-1 status are eligible to work on campus 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. During summer and winter break, students may work on campus an unlimited amount of hours, as long as they intend to enroll for the following semester and have not completed their program.
F-1 students are NOT permitted to work off campus unless they have prior authorization from International Student Services and/or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. International students who have been "in status" as F-1 students for a full academic year (a fall and spring semester) or more may request permission to work off-campus and must first meet specific criteria set forth by USCIS. F-1 students should never apply for or accept any job, except those on-campus, without first talking to International Student Services to be sure they will not be in violation of immigration laws.
Students should always talk with International Student Services before pursuing employment. Regulations often change and information from friends or family may not be accurate. Immigration is increasingly strict about employment violations and there can be severe penalties for working without proper permission, including exclusion from the US for up to ten years.