Immigration

Common Questions

Below are frequently asked questions posed by international students. Please contact the Office for International Students for further assistance. 

How is a "full-time student" defined?

Full-time status varies with the type of program a student is enrolled in:
Intensive English Program - morning and afternoon classes, Monday-Friday, each session
Academic English Program - 12 credits/semester
Undergraduate Program - 12 credits/semester
Graduate Program - 9 credits/semester

May I stay in the United States with an expired visa?


The visa is an entry document and is used at a port of entry to seek admission to the US. If your visa is marked for multiple entries, you may exit and re-enter the US as often as you like until the visa expires. You may remain in the US with an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you depart the US with an expired visa, you will need to apply for and receive a new F-1 visa before returning to continue your studies.

Who do I contact if I want to drop a course?

Before making any changes to your course schedule, please be in touch with the International Student Advisor and your academic advisor. It may be possible for you to drop a course as long as you are able to maintain full-time status.

What if dropping a course puts me below full-time status?

With few exceptions, students are required to be enrolled in a full course load. If you think you may need to drop below full-time status, please see the International Student Advisor immediately to discuss the options available to you. Please do not drop below full time without prior approval of the International Student Advisor. Reducing your course load to less than full-time status, may jeopardize your status in the United States.

What do I do if I receive a Form I-515A form at a port of entry?

If you arrive at a port of entry without the necessary documents (i.e., your Form I-20 has not been signed or you forgot it), the Customs & Border Protection Officer may allow you to enter the United States temporarily for 30 days. You may also be subject to secondary inspection and receive a Form I-515A. Please see the International Student Advisor upon your return to campus for assistance in processing the paperwork necessary to request a change of status before your temporary status expires.

How can I transfer to another school?

Students typically transfer to a new school at the end of a session or semester. Please provide the Office for International Students with a copy of your acceptance letter to the new school, and any forms the new school has asked you to complete (such as a transfer verification form). Once your SEVIS record is transferred electronically to the new school, Saint Michael's College can no longer make any updates to your record.

I am transferring to Saint Michael's. What is important for me to know?

After you are accepted at Saint Michael's, and have provided your financial statement, a copy of the identification page of your passport, and a complete Transfer Verification Form, you are eligible to transfer your active SEVIS record to us. You are required to begin at SMC at the next possible session start date or within 5 months - whichever is sooner. You must also report to a Designated School Official at Saint Michael's within 15 days of the start of your program to complete the transfer process.

What is reinstatement?

Students who fall out of status may have the option of applying for reinstatement and returning to student status. The student must demonstrate that the reason for being out of status was beyond his/her control. A reinstatement application can take several months to adjudicate. Some students may instead choose to depart the US and re-enter with a new SEVIS number and Form I-20.Students should contact the International Student Advisor to arrange a meeting to discuss their situation and the advantages/disadvantages of applying for reinstatement vs. re-entering the US with a new initial Form I-20.

How can I access Form I-94, my arrival/departure record?

You may download your Form I-94 from the US Customs and Border Protection website. You will need this form to apply for a Vermont Driver's License, a Social Security Number, and when filing an application for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

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