This information is designed to inform our international students about USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) visa regulations and policies. Many friends, family members, fellow students and community members will offer you advice about your immigration status and visa rules. However, before making a decision to change your course of study, transfer to another institution, travel outside the U.S., or accept employment, you should seek advice from the Spencer Center. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to know and abide by the regulations. Please review this information frequently and contact the Director of International Programs if you have questions or concerns.
Disclaimer: U.S. immigration laws are very complex. The information contained in these files is designed specifically for students and scholars at Mary Baldwin College. Immigration laws are constantly changing, and even though we will attempt to keep these files up-to-date, we cannot guarantee their completeness or accuracy. The information contained herein is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship nor can it be construed as legal advice. Please meet with the Director of International Programs in the Spencer Center before making applications or seeking benefits.
Maintaining F-1 Visa Status
All Mary Baldwin international students and scholars on a nonimmigrant F-1 visa are responsible for maintaining legal student status, which means that you pursue a full course of study. Maintaining status entitles students to certain rights and privileges. Here are your responsibilities as an international student:
- Maintain a valid passport, I-20 and I-94.
If your passport is lost, stolen or will expire within six months, contact your embassy or consulate in the US to obtain an extension or new passport. Your I-94 card should be in your passport at all times. Make sure your I-20 reflects your current status and correct program end date.
- Report to and attend the institution you have been authorized to attend.
You must report to the Office of International Services upon arrival and attend the institution listed on your I-20. If you plan on transferring to another institution you must contact the Director of International Programs and follow proper transfer procedures.
- Pursue a full course of study (12 credits per semester for undergraduates and 9 credits per semester for graduates) and make normal progress towards completing your degree.
Immigration regulations allow students to be part-time ONLY in specific circumstances and students should contact the Director of International Programs to discuss immigration issues pertaining to your academic load.
- Obtain proper employment authorization before beginning any type of off-campus work. Authorized work is limited to on-campus work of 20 hours per week while classes are in session and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) when classes are not in session. As stated on your I-20, a nonimmigrant who accepts unauthorized employment is subject to deportation. Refrain from off-campus employment without authorization.
- Request a new I-20 to report changes in major, level, transfer, and dates of program within 30 days of changes.
- Report a change of address to the Director of International Programs within 10 days so the Director of International Program can report this change to USCIS immediately.
- Notify the Director of International Programs before you travel outside of the US and obtain proper signatures on your I-20 so you can reenter the US when you return.
- Do not stay in the US beyond the grace period; for F-1 students, 60 days after the program end date if you complete your program; 15 days after your authorized early withdrawal. There is no grace period for unauthorized withdrawal or drop out.
- Obey all US and Virginia laws and abide by the Mary Baldwin Code Honor Code, which can be found in the Student Handbook.
Social Security Cards
[Social Security Office, Location: 1600 N. Coalter St. in the Greenbrier Office Park;
Hours: 9:00 a.m. -4:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri., except for federal holidays. Phone: 540-885-8959]
Students holding F-1 visas may apply for Social Security cards only if they are legally employed or have accepted an offer of legal employment on campus.
To apply for a Social Security card, you will need to bring:
- a valid passport,
- a current I-20 form, the I-94 form (usually stapled to a page inside your passport),
- and a letter from your employer stating the dates of your employment.
Maintaining J-1 Visa Status
Once you are admitted to the United States in J-1 status as a MBC scholar or professor, you must meet certain obligations relative to your status. You must:
- Conduct research and/or teach only at MBC, unless you have received advance approval from your department and from The Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement for research or lectures at a different institution.
- Maintain a valid passport at all times.
- Maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay for both you and your family members (if applicable). Federal law mandates that those on a J visa maintain appropriate health insurance.
- Apply for extension of stay before the expiration of your present DS-2019 if your offer of employment or research has been extended;
- Report a change of address to the Director of International Programs within 10 days of any move.