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Information For Current International Students

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) web-based system that maintains accurate and current information on international students in F-1 and J-1 visa status, as well as their dependents (F-2/J-2). SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the internet to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State (DOS). Schools must report the students' and visitor scholars' status throughout their stay in the United States. All students in F-1 visa status must have a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status" issued by an educational institution where they study. The main requirements of the visa status are printed on the page two of the form.

All prospective students planning to come to the United States on F-1 visas must obtain a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 before applying to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate for their visa. The I-20 must be submitted with the visa application. The consular officer will verify the I-20 record electronically through SEVIS. All students entering the United States initially, or applicants for changing status to F-1, must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee to the Department of Homeland Security before their visa application is processed. All undergraduate students will have this paid by Walsh University's Admissions Office. All graduate students will be required to pay this fee at SEVIS I-901. The form I-20 must be valid during your stay here and reflect your current academic status. You must attend the school specified on this form. For initial admission, students must attend the school specified on the form I-20 and the visa stamp in the passport.

Duration of Status

All students entering the U.S. on an F-1 visa will note that the passport and I-20 bear a notation of "D/S" (duration of status). Duration of status means the period during which the student "is pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for attendance by foreign students, or engaging in authorized practical training following completion of studies, plus 60 days to prepare for departure from the United States. The student is considered to be maintaining status if he or she is making normal progress toward completing a [full] course of study." 

What this means for you

If your F-1 visa has expired, but your I-20 is still valid, and you are either studying full-time at the university which issued your I-20 and in the major and academic level listed on your I-20, or you are currently engaged in Optional Practical Training, or you are in your 60-day grace period, you may remain in the U.S. even if your F-1 visa has expired.

Grace Period

Students in F-1 status have a 60-day grace period following either the completion of the academic program or the completion of Optional Practical Training. During this 60-day grace period, you may either

  • Start a new academic program at Walsh University. (You should receive an I-20 for your new academic program within your grace period)
  • Transfer to another university.
  • Apply for Post-Completion OPT if you just completed your academic program and are eligible.
  • Change to another non-immigration visa status.
  • Depart the U.S.

F-1 students who remain in the U.S. past the end of the 60-day grace period without taking one of the steps listed above are in violation of their immigration status and are "overstaying" their visa. 

Immigration Documents and Terminology

It is extremely important that international students keep their immigration documents valid, up-to-date, and in a safe and secure place.

Passport

Your passport must be valid at all times. If your passport is nearing its expiration date, you should contact your country's embassy to renew your passport. If you will travel outside of the U.S. and will reenter the U.S., your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months from your date of reentry.

If you renew your passport but your F-1 visa is stamped in your expired passport, your embassy should return your old passport to you. When reentering the U.S. you should carry both passports with you.

I-94

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. Learn more here. 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 U.S. government official (Social Security, Bureau of Motor Vehicles)

Maintaining Valid F-1 Status

When you are admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status, you are authorized to stay for Duration of Status (D/S). This means you may remain in the U.S. as long as you are fulfilling all requirements of the F-1 status as outlined below. You are ultimately responsible for knowing the rules and regulations of your status while in the United States. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact International Student Services at iss@walsh.edu.

  1. Maintain a full course of study. Undergraduates must be enrolled in 12 credits each fall and spring semester, and graduate students must be enrolled in 9 credits each semester. You are not required to enroll in the summer session unless it is your first or last semester. Below Full Time: There are several academic and medical reasons for which you may be permitted to drop below the full course load.
  2. Keep your I-20 valid at all times. If any of the information on your I-20 changes (name, major, program level, funding source, etc.) you must request a new I-20 by completing the Request for New Form I-20. Extension: Your I-20 lists a program end date (item # 5). If you need more time to complete your academic program, you must request a new I-20 before your current I-20 expires.
  3. Keep your passport valid at all times. For information about passport renewal, contact your country's embassy or consulate.
  4. Attend the school listed on your most recent I-20. If you plan to transfer to another university, you must discuss this with the Director of International Student Services.
  5. Work only with authorization. As an F-1 student, you are authorized to work on campus up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters, and full time during summer or winter break. You may not work off-campus without authorization from International Student Services (Curricular Practical Training), or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (Optional Practical Training), and Economic Hardship Employment Authorization. (All forms are available for download from the file gallery to the right.)
  6. Report any change of address. You are required to report a new change of address within 10 days of moving. This means your physical address (residence hall room number), not just your campus mailbox. To report a new address, add any new information please inform International Programs and Services.
  7. Report any change of major. You are required to report a new change of major immediately to International Student Services. It is important for you to check with your sponsor before changing the major. It is important to confirm that they will still provide financial assistance for the new major. Once you report this to Student Services and International Student Services, and new I-20 will be issued. You must fill out the Request for a new I-20 form
  8. If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., your I-20 must be signed by the Director of International Student Services or another Designated School Official (DSO) before traveling. The travel endorsement is located on page 3 of your I-20 and is valid for one year from the date of signature. For more information about documents needed for travel, click here.
  9. Maintain health insurance during your entire course of study. Walsh University requires all international students to have health coverage meeting minimum requirements. (Information about Walsh University's health insurance is available from the file gallery to the right.)
  10. File Tax Forms by the deadline each year. Even if you did not have any income, you must complete Form 8843. If you did receive income, you must file additional tax return forms. You will receive information about taxes during the spring semester.
  11. Obey all U.S. laws. You must also follow all Walsh University policies and regulations.
  12. Do not accept federal, state, or local aid. You may not accept Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or other forms of government financial assistance. If you are unsure about whether or not you can accept the aid, check with International Programs and Services.
  13. Do not overstay your grace period. Upon completion of your academic program, you may remain in the U.S. for a 60 day "grace period." During this time you may begin Optional Practical Training or prepare to leave the U.S. If you are planning to transfer to a new university or begin a new academic program at Walsh, you must discuss this with the Director of International Student Services before your grace period expires.

Can international students take online courses?

  1. F-1 international students can only count ONE online class toward their minimum number of credits as their full-time enrollment during their normal semesters. If a student only needs one course to complete your program of study, the course cannot be online or distance learning. 
  2. International students in other visa categories (i.e. H-4, L2) are exempt from this limitation.

Health and International Insurance

Walsh Wellness Center

Stay fit; learn about healthy lifestyles and much more with our Walsh University Wellness Center.

Walsh University's Mercy Wellness Center provides fitness and wellness services to Walsh students, athletes, faculty, and staff and offers various events for the community each year. Located in the Gaetano Cecchini Family Health and Wellness Center, the Mercy Wellness Center encompasses the Cavalier Fitness Center, community clinics and training areas for Walsh athletes.

For more information, contact mallen@walsh.eduhttp://www.walsh.edu/health-services

Health Services at Walsh University

A nurse coordinates student health services from a clinic in the Mercy Wellness Center of the Cecchini Center. A working relationship with area hospitals provides students with physician and emergency care coverage.

There is a doctor from Mercy Medical on campus two days a week.
Tuesday: 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Health Services Office Hours
Monday Wednesday - 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, call (330)490-7030
Tuesday and Thursday - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Health Insurance

Medical care is extremely expensive in the United States. It is important that you obtain medical insurance (also known as health insurance) in case you need to visit a doctor, receive medical treatment, or in the event you become hospitalized. Walsh University policy requires all international students to maintain insurance coverage meeting the following minimum standards: 

  • Minimum coverage for basic accident and illness

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  • $50,000 per condition

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  • Repatriation of remains

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  • $7,500

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  • Medical evacuation (return to home country for medical treatment)

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  • $10,000

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  • Deductible (amount you must pay before your insurance provider pays)

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  • $500 maximum 

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Medical insurance almost never covers all medical expenses, and you will usually be required to pay “co-pay” fees or a certain percentage of your treatment expenses.

Many of the terms associated with medical insurance may be unfamiliar to you, and there are many different options and providers. Please discuss medical insurance questions with the Director of International Student Services or the Director of Student Support Services.

Click here for additional information on insurance plan highlights, the U.S. healthcare system and important insurance terms. 

Each fall and spring semester you are required to show proof of medical insurance to the Director of International Student Services before enrolling in courses for the next semester. You should also be prepared to present your insurance card to the doctor or hospital before receiving treatment.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the doctor you’ve chosen is a primary provider for your health insurance.

Visit your own doctor.  Get a reasonable supply of any medications you expect to be taking.  Also get a copy of your prescriptions, written in English.  Medications in the US can be very expensive, and often require a prescription.  Also, though good substitutes are available for most Western medications, some traditional treatments such as medicinal herbs are not available in the US.  You may want to bring a supply of these with you.  It is wise to have a signed statement from your doctor explaining the use of any medicinal herbs, since the US government has strict laws about drugs.

Complete any dental work or eye examinations before you leave home, as these are not covered by Walsh's International Student

Health Insurance plan.  If you wear eye glasses or contact lenses, bring two pairs and a copy of your prescription with you.

Seeking Medical Treatment

Free medical consultation is available to students at Walsh University. Health Services is located in the Cecchini Physical Education building, and a nurse or doctor will be there to assist you during the normal operating hours. This should be your first stop exempt in an emergency!  If you need additional medical consultation, please check with your insurance company to be sure the office or hospital you are visiting will be covered by your insurance plan. You must also complete a claim form and submit it to GeoBlue Insurance to ensure payment.

To find another doctor, ask your friends and colleagues for a referral, and then check with the doctor to see if they are accepting new patients. If not, keep asking and searching to find a reputable doctor that you feel comfortable with.

Discounted Services

Nonimmigrant students are not eligible for medical benefits through the U.S. government, such as Medicare or Medicaid. If a doctor or hospital is offering discounted or “sliding scale” fees based on your income, it is your responsibility to ask if it is a government-funded program. If so, you are not eligible. If you have questions, contact the Director of International Student Services.

Medical Emergencies

In the event of a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and tell the operator your situation. Don’t forget to tell the operator your address and phone number. The operator can send an ambulance if needed or give you advice about what to do next. If you are able to drive yourself or have a friend drive you, go to the emergency room of the hospital or an urgent care center. In the emergency room, you may need to wait for hours, as major injuries are treated before smaller ones.

International Student Health Insurance Requirement (Walsh University International Student Health Insurance Policy)

Walsh University requires all full-time undergraduate and graduate students to have health insurance. Students who do not have health insurance will need to purchase their own policy. Good health is essential to your academic success; adequate insurance can assist you in getting the care you need to maintain your health.

For more information or for enrollment process details, please download the student health insurance information.

International students must provide their health insurance policy, in English, to the Director of International Student Services to ensure federal compliance.

The International Student Insurance Health Plan is available to all registered students. Married students who enroll in the plan may also enroll their eligible dependents. You are not obligated to purchase this plan, but we strongly recommend it. The Student Health Insurance Plan applications will be available at the Orientation Program for new international students. If you choose to be covered by another insurance plan, you must ensure that coverage meets the following minimum requirements set by the U.S. Government:

When applying for health insurance, the cost may vary in relation to your age and health condition. The same is true for your spouse if you insure him/her. Dental insurance is not included in either the University's or in most insurance plans. 

Hospitals

  • Mercy Medical Center 
    1320 Mercy Dr. N.W. 
    Canton, OH 44708 
    330-489-1000
  • Aultman Hospital
    2600 Sixth St. S.W.
    Canton, Ohio 44710
    330-452-9911

Urgent Care Centers

  • Mercy Health Center of North Canton
    6200 Whipple Avenue N.W.
    North Canton, Ohio 44720
    330-966-8884
  • Aultman North
    6100 Whipple Ave. N.W. 
    North Canton, Ohio 44720
    330-305-6999

Safety

North Canton is considered to be a relatively safe US city.  Walsh University also takes the safety and security of its students seriously.  The Walsh University Campus Police Department is a function of the Office of Student Affairs. The department's primary goal is to provide a safe and secure environment for the campus community. The staff consists of sworn law enforcement officers who are certified by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Council. The officers have full arrest power, are armed with weapons, and are able to provide all necessary police services on the University property.

Please be advised that as sworn law enforcement officers, Campus Police are qualified to use appropriate force in life threatening situations. The "Use of Deadly Force Policy" appears in the Campus Police Department manual and can be reviewed by consulting the Chief of Campus Police of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.

Officers are identified by their white police shirts, gold badge, and Walsh University Campus Police sleeve patches. Walsh University Emergency Alert System

Nevertheless, some parts of North Canton are considered to be less safe than others.  You may want to discuss this with your residence hall staff, or other students.  Normal personal precautions, such as not walking alone at night, are recommended.  It is also wise to carry identification ("ID") with you at all times for example a Walsh University ID card with your photo. We also suggest you carry a name and phone number of Walsh’s Campus Police and/or a person to contact if you are injured or in trouble.

Campus Police 

Travel

Travel in the U.S.A.

If you intend to travel within the U.S. during your stay, there are no special documents necessary. However, be sure to carry your passport, visa and I-20 so you will have legal identifying documents in your possession should any problems arise.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Adjacent Islands

If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or the Adjacent Islands and have an expired F-1 visa you may be able to reenter the U.S. with an expired visa. This is known as Automatic Visa Revalidation. You are eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation unless the following apply to you:

  • You applied for a new visa and it has not been issued
  • You applied for a new visa and were denied
  • You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status
  • You have been out the United States for more than thirty days
  • You are a citizen of one of the following countries:
    - Cuba
    - Iran
    - North Korea
    - Sudan
    - Syria

When traveling outside of the U.S.A., you should be sure that you have a travel signature on page 3 of your I-20. The travel signature is valid for one year, unless you are on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), then the signature is valid for only six (6) months. To receive a travel signature, make an appointment with International Student Services or drop it off at least two business days before traveling.

Visiting Canada (Additional information can be found here)Visiting Mexico

Travel Outside of the U.S.A.

All students traveling outside of the U.S. for a temporary period (five months or less) must have a valid I-20 with the Designated School Official's signature for reentry. Your passport must also be valid for at least six months past your date of reentry. If your visa is expired, you will need to renew your visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad before returning to the U.S., as you will not be permitted entry to the U.S. without a valid visa. It is recommended that you apply for a new visa in your home country, or country of legal residence. It is not recommended that you go to Canada to renew your visa unless you are a Canadian citizen or resident.

When traveling outside of the U.S.A., you should be sure that you have a travel signature on page 3 of your I-20. The travel signature is valid for one year, unless you are on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), then the signature is valid for only six (6) months. To receive a travel signature, make an appointment with International Student Services or drop it off at least two business days before traveling.
Students who are outside of the United States for more than five months will need to receive a new, initial I-20 and apply for a new F-1 visa. The student's admission status and financial support will have to be verified before a new form can be prepared.

If you have any questions about your travel plans, contact the International Student Services at 330-490-7105.

Reminders:

  • Check to see if the country(ies) you are visiting require you to obtain a visa (e.g. transit visa)
  • If your visa has expired, you typically need to apply for a new visa at a US Consulate/Embassy abroad, plan your time accordingly.

Additional Resources

Employment

Additional resources and assistance securing on-campus and off-campus employment is available through Walsh University's Career Center, located in the Marlene and Joe Toot Global Learning Center. 

On-Campus Employment

An F-1 student may accept employment at the institution he or she is authorized to attend without prior approval from USCIS, provided the student is enrolled in a full course of study and the employment will not displace a U.S. resident. On-campus employment primarily means work performed on the school's premises. It includes employment with on-location commercial firms that provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria. It does not include employment on the school's premises for a commercial firm that is not providing on-campus services for students, for example, at a construction site for a new school building. It may also include work at an off-campus location that is educationally affiliated with the school. In the case of off-campus locations, the educational affiliation must be associated with the school's established curriculum or related to a contractually-funded project at the post-graduate level. The employment must be an integral part of the student educational program.

On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session (fall and spring semesters), and full time per week during the summer sessions and vacation periods for students who are eligible and intend to register for the subsequent academic term. The university also reserves the right to limit those hours.

On-campus employment over the intervening summer is not permitted after completion of a course or courses of study (except employment authorized for practical training), unless the student has been issued an I-20 to begin a new program. If the new I-20 is from a different school, the student may engage in on-campus work on the campus of the new school before classes begin or on-campus at the old school until the new school's classes begin.

Curricular Practical Training

Curricular Practical Training is defined as "alternate work study, internship, cooperative education or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)]

  • For Credit CPT may be mandatory or elective. The training program must be listed in the school's catalog with the assigned number of credits and name of the faculty member teaching the course clearly defined. A student enrolled in such a course may work out the details of their specific projects within the establish course objectives under the supervision of the instructor.
  • Non-Credit CPT is usually offered in certain types of educational programs, such as hotel management, nursing, law, engineering, and teaching. A student in such a program is routinely required to undertake such non-credit internships. Students are often not remunerated for their participation in these programs. Non-credit internships or practicums that are required for graduation are recognized as Curricular Practical Training.

At Walsh University, Curricular Practical Training is arranged jointly through the Academic Department and International Student Services. For more detailed information, download the CPT application and guidelines from the file gallery to the right.

Optional Practical Training

F-1 students may engage in practical training prior to completion of their course of study. Temporary employment as Optional Practical Training may be authorized under one of the following conditions:

  • During the student's annual vacation and at other times when school is not in session if the student is currently enrolled, and is eligible and intends to register for the next term.
  • While school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week.
  • After completion of all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or equivalent), if the student is in a Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree program.
  • After completion of the course of study.

Optional Practical Training is limited to 12 months. Thus, if a student uses three months of such training during his/her vacation, that student will be entitled to only nine months of practical training upon completion of the course of study.

Pre-Completion OPT- Part-time optional practical training (20 hours per week or less) during the course of study shall be deducted from the twelve-month total at one-half of the full time rate. Authorization to engage in Optional Practical Training employment is terminated when the student transfers to another school.

For more detailed information about Optional Practical Training, download the OPT documents from the file gallery to the right. If you have questions about OPT after reading the OPT Packet, call the ISS at 330-490-7105 to make an appointment.

Students who have completed a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree program in certain STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields may be eligible for a one-time 17-month extension of post-completion OPT. The application for the STEM extension can be filed within 90 days prior to the completion of the initial 12-month OPT.

Severe Economic Hardship Employment

It is possible for F-1 students to work part-time off-campus due to economic hardship. This type of employment authorization is for F-1 students who have been in F-1 status for one full academic year, are in good academic standing, and have encountered severe and documented economic hardship since arriving in the United States.

Employment authorized under this interim rule is limited to no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session and 40 hours per week during holidays or school vacation. The employment is automatically terminated whenever the student fails to maintain status. This new rule also mandates that the student make a good faith effort to pursue employment on campus.

"Severe Economic Hardship" is defined as "unforeseen economic circumstances beyond the student's control; substantial fluctuation in the value of currency or exchange rates; inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs; unexpected changes in the financial condition of the student's source of support; medical bills; or other substantial and unexpected expenses". Download the Economic Hardship Packet from the file gallery to the right for more information.