Immigration

For comprehensive immigration information and downloadable forms, visit Western Michigan University's Immigration Services website.

United States immigration law places responsibility upon the individual student to know and follow all relevant immigration regulations. Failure to comply with these regulations may have severe consequences for your ability to study, seek employment, or remain in the United States. Contact Western Michigan University's International Admissions and Services office immediately if there are any changes in your personal or academic situation. You must notify a Designated School Official or Alternate Responsible Officer if there are items that need to be updated on your I-20 or DS-2019, such as:

  • Change of name or citizenship
  • Change of school, major, or degree level
  • Withdrawal or termination due to academic or medical reasons
  • Departure for research or study abroad
  • Withdrawal for a personal leave of absence
  • Transfer to another institution in the U.S.
  • Changes in registration, such as wanting to take an on-line class or enroll at another university
  • Received an on campus job offer
  • Change of address

Following are the steps every F-1 or J-1 student must follow to maintain status:

1. Make sure that your immigration documents are valid and unexpired.

  • A passport valid at least six months into the future
  • An arrival/departure record (I-94) marked “F-1 D/S” or “J-1 D/S” (more information)
  • An unexpired I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
  • A valid F-1 or J-1 visa (for re-entry to the U.S. only)

2. Register for and complete a full course load every semester.
Undergraduate students must complete at least 12 credits every semester; graduate students must complete at least 6 credits every semester to be considered full-time. These credits must be counted toward the degree. Falling below the minimum number of credits required for full-time enrollment without prior authorization is considered a violation of status. All students are required to make normal, full-time progress toward degree completion and to complete within specified time periods. Extensions other than for medical or other unavoidable academic reasons are not permitted. If you need to register on a part-time basis, you must obtain approval from a DSO or ARO before your registration is finalized.

3. Do not begin off-campus employment without written authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or WMU Immigration Services.
Most forms of off-campus employment require government authorization through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

4. Updating of addresses.
F-1 or J-1 students must maintain a valid local U.S. address and an international address in their WMU record. F-1 or J-1 students should comply with this requirement by informing a DSO or ARO of an address change within 10 days of the change, instead of sending an AR-11 or AR-11SR directly to Department of Homeland Security. Please note that updating the WMU portal local mailing address field will be sufficient.

Please note that the change of address you make with WMU Immigration Services will update your SEVIS record, but it will not be communicated toDHS service centers or district offices. Therefore, if you are an applicant for an immigration benefits, you must also send a written notice of the address change to the relevant DHS office processing the case.

Failure to comply with the address change notification requirements may affect your ability to remain in the U.S. and your ability to re-enter the U.S. after travel abroad.  Noncompliance may also be criminally punishable as a misdemeanor with a fine not to exceed $200 and/or imprisonment of no more than 30 days. Please see an international admissions advisor for assistance in this matter.

5. Apply for an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 before your document expires if you need more time to complete your program.
Apply for an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019 at least 30 days prior to the expiration of your document. An extension request submitted after your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired cannot be processed. Failure to complete your program of study on time or to obtain a timely program extension constitutes a reportable violation of immigration status.

For comprehensive immigration information and downloadable forms, visit WMU's Immigration Services website.