Student Visa and Immigration
Maintaining Your Status
Inbound international students must meet SUNY’s standards for health insurance coverage. Because of this, students are automatically enrolled in GeoBlue. Once students have paid their semester bill in full, they will receive via Purchase email or by mail an insurance card. Keep this card with you at all times in case of emergency. Review your health benefits and claim procedures at https://www.geobluestudents.com/.
Reporting a Change in Major or Adding a Second Major
Internationals student must notify OIPS immediately when they file to change a major or add a second major. A new I-20 must be created. To report this change, please email email@example.com with this update. You will be contacted within two business days to come in to pick up a new I-20.
Reporting a Change in Address
International students must notify OIPS within 10 days of changing their address. To do this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your new address. A new Form I-20 does not need to be created, but OIPS will update the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) with this update and confirm with you within two business days.
If offered admission at another college or university, discuss your plans with an OIPS advisor to make sure that the required transfer procedures can be accomplished. Typically another college or university will have a form that must be completed by a SEVIS Designated School Official (DSO) like those found in OIPS. Notify OIPS when transferring to another F-1 program within 60 days of the Purchase I-20 program end date.
Notify OIPS when changing educational level (going on to a certificate or master’s program) within 60 days of your current I-20 program end date. Submit your letter of admission to the new program and International Student Financial Statement with supporting evidence of funding for tuition and living expenses for the first academic year of the new program to OIPS.
All international students, scholars, and dependent family members planning to depart the U.S. for a temporary absence must have a valid passport in order to exit the U.S. The passport must also be valid for a minimum of six months into the future at the time of re-entry into the U.S. Students who travel within the U.S. outside the greater New York City area are encouraged to travel with their passport.
Except for Canadian citizens, all international students will also need to have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. F-1 visa stamps cannot be obtained or renewed inside the U.S.
Visa Document and Support Documents
The F-1 student document is called the Form I-20. While not required, OIPS recommends that students re-entering the U.S. carry on their person at least two forms of additional supporting documentation. These include:
- Student ID card (More Card)
- Current list of registration
- Unofficial transcript
- Copy of your current semester’s paid bill
Students and scholars departing the U.S. for a temporary absence must have with them on their person (not in checked luggage) the Form I-20. Students and scholars who plan on traveling within the U.S. outside the greater New York City area are encouraged to travel with their I-20 and other supporting documentation.
Every nonimmigrant entering the U.S. on a sponsored visa will be issued an I-94 record created by the authorities upon entry. For students and scholars crossing a land or sea boarder, this will be in paper format stapled within their passport. For students and scholars entering by air, this is electronic. It is the responsibility of international students, scholars, and family members to look up their I-94 record after entering the U.S. to ensure there are no errors. F-1 students I-94 record should always indicate duration of status or “D/S.”
Third Country Visits
When planning to visit a country outside the U.S. that is not your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence, be sure to research whether or not you will need a visa to enter the country. This can be done by searching for that country‘s embassy or consulate and reviewing visa requirements.
- Valid I-20 (not expired in Section #5) with OIPS signature on the bottom of page 2.
- OIPS signature should not be older than 12 months, but can be used for multiple entries
- F-2 dependents must have their own I-20 forms meeting the same criteria above
- Valid F-1 or F-2 visa stamp from a U.S. embassy (most do not need a new stamp)
- Valid passport (see above)
- Recommended: support documentation (see above)