Webster University provides specialized international services for international students and scholars through the Office of Admissions. Any questions regarding student visa status, applying for benefits (such as Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training), enrollment requirements, authorized vacation terms, etc.) may be directed to the Welcome Center or the Associate Director of International Services.
Welcome Center – Admissions and International Services
Location: Webster Hall 130, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119
Office hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday
Wenceslaus P’Oryem, Associate Director of International Services, is available by appointment or during his designated walk in hours from 1 to 4 pm on Wednesdays.
Contact Information: 314-968-7100 (phone), firstname.lastname@example.org (email)
Visa and Immigration Links
The following links are not part of Webster University, Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs (MCISA). When you click on the links below, you will be leaving the MCISA Web site and opening a different website. These links are provided for informational purposes only. If you have any question related to your specific immigration status or visa issues, please contact Bethany Keller at email@example.com or 314-246-7649 directly.
- US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- US Department of State
- US Department of State: Visas
- Foreign Embassies in Washington D.C.
- Canadian Consulate: Chicago
- Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
Maintaining Your Status
Now that you have arrived in the United States you need to know and comply with US federal laws and regulations governing the F or J visa. You must meet certain obligations to maintain your current visa status otherwise you will violate your legal status in the United States. Any violation of your status will lead to serious repercussion. The following are the obligations you must follow:
Maintain a Full-time Enrollment
U.S. federal regulations [8 CFR 214.2(f)(6)] require you to pursue a full-time enrollment each semester except during your school vacation or final term when only fewer courses are left to complete your degree.
Keep Your Passport Valid at All Times
Immigration regulation requires that you must keep a valid passport in your possession. Incase your passport is about to expire you must renew it right away. Please contact your country’s embassy or consulate in the United States for information on renewing your passport by visiting this Web site: (http://www.embassy.org/embassies).
Report Change of Address or Name to International Services
U.S. federal regulations require all F-1 and J-1 students to report any change of address or name to International Services within 10 days of the change.
Follow U.S. Federal Employment Regulations
F-1 and J-1 students may not work more than 20 hours on campus when classes are in session. Employment on-campus may be more than 20 hours per week when school is not in session or during vacation periods. Finally, do not accept any unauthorized employment.
Get a Travel Endorsement
Before you travel outside the U.S., make sure you request a signature of a Designated School Official from International Services to be endorsed on your Form I-20 or DS-2019.
All F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus without any authorization, and off-campus with authorization and after meeting certain conditions.
NOTE: All F-1 and J-1 students are prohibited from engaging in any unauthorized employment.Any student who engages in unauthorized employment is in violation of the U.S. immigration regulations.
On-campus employment must be performed on the school’s premises, including in commercial firms, which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria. All F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to work on-campus immediately if they can find employment. Employment authorized under this paragraph must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session. Search for available on campus jobs by creating a profile in Gorlok Jobs. Students may contact the Student Employment Coordinator in Career Services for more information at 314-968-6982 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an F-1 student, you may be eligible for some form of off-campus employment after you have been in lawful F-1 status for at least one academic year. However, J-1 students may qualify to work immediately if the employment is part of their academic training. The following are the different types of off-campus employment:
F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) curricular practical training is an integral part of an established curriculum that is defined as an alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school. (8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)).
To apply for curricular practical training consult your academic advisor whether any practical experience is required in your degree program. Once it is determined that internship is required, then your next step is to find your employment. Finally, you will go to International Services Office to get the authorization in SEVIS for the CPT and get a new Form I-20. Curricular practical training is only authorized for a specific employer and a period of time. Employment must not continue beyond the date authorized on your Form I-20.
J-1 Academic Training
Academic training refers to any type of employment that is related to the course of study of J-1 students. It is available during your academic program and /or upon its completion. Academic training may be granted for a maximum of 18 months. To qualify for Academic Training, the student must obtain approval from J-1 Responsible Officer (International Services) who issued their Forms DS-2019.
F-1 Optional Practical Training
Optional practical training is designed to provide students with opportunity to gain work experience in their fields of study. An F-1 student may be authorized up to 12 months of optional practical training (OPT) or 29 months (for student in STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The employment must be directly related to a student’s major area of study.
To apply for OPT a student must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization by filing form I-765 and obtaining a new From I-20 from International Services Office. Form I-765 may be filed between 90 days prior your program end date and 60 days after your program end date. Once approved, you will receive Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in the mail from USCIS. A student may not begin optional practical training until the date indicated on his or her employment authorization document.
Maintaining Status on OPT
All students on OPT are required to report to the Designated School Official (DSO) within 10 business days:
- Any change of name or residential address
- Name and address of employer
- Any interruption of such employment
During post-completion OPT, F-1 students must maintain full-time employment while on OPT and cannot accumulate more than 90 days of unemployment during the 12-month OPT period. Students authorized for 29 months of OPT may not accrue an aggregate of more than 120 days unemployment.
Applying For or Renewing Your U.S. Student Visa
A US visa is a document that is stamped in your passport that is needed when you enter the country. The visa needs to be valid only at the time you enter the United States of America. Even if it expires while you are in the US, you are still considered legal so long as you maintain your status. Therefore, it does not need to be renewed if you stay in the U.S. Remember, U.S. visas cannot be renewed inside the country but only at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
If you wish to renew your visa, you may have to visit your home country or country of residence, Canada or Mexico and appear before the embassy or consulate officials there. Before you attempt to apply for a visa in a third country you must check the U.S. consulate website for that country for instructions about making the visa appointment and the application process ahead of your visit.
Completion of Program and the Grace Period
After the completion of program of studies, an F-1 student has a 60-day grace period to prepare to leave the country before he/she is out of status. According to the regulations an F-1 student may use the 60-day period to prepare to depart from the U.S. or to prepare to transfer to another school. Similarly, a J-1 student has a 30-day grace period after completion of studies.
Students may not re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad under the same F-1 or J-1 visa during the grace period. To enter the U.S. during this period, they must obtain another US visa such as B2 for tourism, vacation or pleasure visitors.
For more information about immigration regulations or to ask additional questions, please contact International Services in the Office of Admission at 314-968-6964 or email@example.com or the MCISA at 314-246-7649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.