Student Legal Status

International students must report to the school at the start of each spring and fall semester as well as summer if that is the first or last term of their program. The visa status of students studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa who are not enrolled full time AND present at the school at the start of each spring & fall semester (and summer if it is the first or last term of the program) will end. International students must enroll in and complete the minimum required number of credits to maintain legal student visa status. Students who are not maintaining their legal status will not be able to enroll in classes.

Enrollment Requirements for International Students

International students must enroll in and complete the minimum required number of credits to maintain legal student visa status.

Enrollment requirements apply to spring and fall terms as well as summer if that is the first or last term of a program. In addition, IEP students that have completed less than one academic year are required to enroll full-time in the first summer term. All other summer terms are considered vacation terms.

Undergraduate Students

  • Must enroll in at least 12 credit hours
    • Out of the minimum 12 credit hours, at least 9 credit hours must be face-face or originating location ITV
  • Additional courses beyond the 12-hour requirement may be any delivery method
  • Classes taken in the winter-session appear on the transcript as a spring class, but they do not count toward enrollment requirements for spring or fall.

Graduate Students without an assistantship

  • Must enroll in at least 9 credit hours
    • Out of the minimum 9 credit hours, at least 6 credit hours must be face-face or originating location ITV
  • Additional courses beyond the 9-hour requirement may be any delivery method

Graduate Students with an assistantship

  • Must enroll in at least 6 credit hours
    • Out of the minimum 6 credit hours, at least 3 credit hours must be traditional face-face or originating location ITV
  • Additional courses beyond the 6-hour requirement may be any delivery method

The only exception is IF you are graduating AND have written permission from our office to be below full course load.

Important: If you are graduating, you MUST contact the Office of International Education Services to request permission to carry a reduced course load prior to the start of the semester.

Department of Homeland Security requires all international students on student visa to update their school with their current address (AND update any changes to this address within 10 days of the change). You MUST have a permanent address and a local address in Banner, the data system we use at Southeast Missouri State University. Your permanent address is your address in your home country and your local address is your address in the United States. Please follow the steps below to ensure that your address with the school is current:

  • Log on to the portal at: https://portal.semo.edu/cp/home/displaylogin
  • Click the Student SS Tab
  • Select Update Addresses and Phones under PERSONAL INFORMATION
  • Choose what address or phone to update form the dropdown box labeled “Type of Address to Insert:” and click SUBMIT
  • Fill in the appropriate information and click SUBMIT

Valid I-20/DS2019

Do not allow your FORM I-20 /DS2019 to expire. You must NOT allow your Form I-20 (F-1) or DS2019 (J-1) to expire. Allowing your Form I-20/ Form DS 2019 to expire will automatically end your student visa status in the United States. If you need an extension, please contact our office at least two weeks prior to the program end date listed on your document.

Valid Passport

Do not allow your passport to expire. A current passport is required for entry into the United States, applying for an extension of stay, and for employment. You should NOT allow your passport to expire. Contact your embassy or consulate to determine what procedures to follow to renew your passport. It can only be renewed by the foreign government authority that issued it in the first place. You should apply as far in advance as possible.

Your F-1 or J-1 visa (marked D/S) is only required for initial or re-entry into the US. If your student visa has expired during your studies, you will need to renew it the next time that you leave the US. Status is determined by the I-20 validity, not the visa duration.

If you plan to travel outside the United States and the visa in your passport (F-1 or J-1) has expired, you will need to go to a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S. to get it renewed. You must do this in order to be admitted to the United States again. Please check the U.S. consulate online for the details at http://www.usembassy.gov/. Bring documents with you to the embassy to prove you are eligible for visa renewal or extension as follows:

  • Valid passport from your country of citizenship. If your passport has expired, you should have it renewed first at the embassy for your country in the United States or when you return home, whichever is faster and easier.
  • Current I-20 or DS2019 bearing an endorsement from the Designated School Official (F-1) or Responsible Officer (J-1) of your school. This endorsement should be dated within the last thirty days. Any endorsement older than five-and-a-half months will not be accepted, even though the form says they are valid for one year.
  • Letter from the Registrar verifying your enrollment for the past and upcoming semesters and/or class scheduled for them. Please make this request in a timely manner.
  • Transcript showing academic progress to date. Please make this request in a timely manner.
  • Recent financial documentation showing your ability to pay for your education and living expenses.
  • Documentation of your intention to return home after your studies (non-immigrant intent) like a written offer of a job in your home country, evidence that you will continue your education there, evidence of significant family ties, etc. If you are unfamiliar with documenting non-immigrant intent, please come by the office and ask questions, or check the arrival guide you received with your I-20 or DS2019.

Remember: If you are traveling to a third country (you are neither a citizen nor a permanent resident), you must have a current and valid United States visa for re-entry. ALSO, you may need a visa for entry into that country. Check with the nearest US-based consulate location for that country before you leave and plan carefully in advance.

International students can travel anywhere in the United States with no special permission, but must get a travel endorsement on their I-20 if travelling outside the United States. The Form I-20 or Form DS2019 must be signed by a DSO within 12 months of the time a student returns from travelling outside the United States. All other immigration documents (Form I-20/DS2019, passport and visa) must be valid for return as well.

What documents are needed to re-enter the US?

  • Unexpired and endorsed Form I-20 (for F-1 students) / Form DS 2019 (for J-1 students)
  • Unexpired passport valid at least 6 months into the future
  • Unexpired visa (F-1 visa if you have a Form I-20, J-1 visa if you have a Form DS 2019)

Note: A signature is not required if traveling within the United States.

Contact

573.986.6863
international@semo.edu
International Center – Located at:
939 College Hill
Cape Girardeau, MO

International Education and Services
One University Plaza, MS2000
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701
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