F-1 and J-1 Frequently Asked Questions
1). WHAT STUDENT VISAS ARE TYPICALLY USED AT GALLAUDET?
Gallaudet University is authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to issue documents for F-1 student visas and the Department of State Exchange Visitors Program for J-1 visas.
F-1 students: Students with sufficient financial support receive a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) that is used to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.
J-1 students: Gallaudet issues a Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility) for exchange visitors, including prospective students, to apply for a J-1 visa. A student who is granted a J-1 visa can be a degree- or nondegree-seeking student. Form DS-2019 is also used by exchange visitors who wish to teach or conduct research in the U.S. on a temporary basis. The form asks the applicant to designate their sponsor, provide a brief description of the program in which they will participate, and other information.
2). CAN I BRING MY DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES?
F-1: and J-1 non-U.S. students can bring their spouse and unmarried children under age 21. As dependents, the spouse and children's status will be F-2.
3). WHAT IS FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT?
Students holding F-1 or J-1 student status are required to enroll in a full course of study during each semester (18 credits for English Language Institute [ELI] students,12 credits for undergraduates, and 9 credits for graduates) unless they have compelling circumstances not to do so. For in-depth information about full-time enrollment, please see the Primary Designated School Officer (PDSO), Ms. Mona Blanchette McCubbin, or the Responsible Officer (RO), Mr. Lawrence Musa.
4). AM I PERMITTED TO WORK OFF CAMPUS?
Non-U.S. students are not permitted to work off-campus unless:
F-1: The PDSO or DSO can approve a student's work off campus for a specific time period on Curricular Practical Training (CPT). To qualify for CPT, the work must be an integral part of the established curriculum in the course of study, required for a major and/or coursework (internship).
J-1: If a student has a job opportunity related to their scholarship, assistantship, or fellowship offered by either an agency or Gallaudet University, he/she will need written permission from that agency or Gallaudet's RO before beginning employment. They cannot work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.
5). CAN I WORK OFF CAMPUS DURING THE SUMMER BREAK OR WHEN SCHOOL IS NOT IN SESSION?
F-1: Yes. There are two programs available for F-1 students seeking off-campus employment after their first academic year:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) - Pre-Completion
J-1: The CPT program is also available to J-1 students. Academic Training, which is similar to OPT, is available to J-1 students during their course of study.
6). CAN I PARTICIPATE IN AN UNPAID INTERNSHIP WITHOUT AN OFF-CAMPUS WORK AUTHORIZATION?
No. Unpaid work may still be considered employment that necessitates F-1 or J-1 off-campus work authorization.
7). CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR A TEMPORARY POSITION OVER THE SUMMER?
No. Volunteer work may still be considered employment that necessitates F-1 or J-1 off-campus work authorization.
8). HOW DO I GET AN ON-CAMPUS JOB?
Apply through Gallaudet's student work portal at https://gallaudet-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php or ask your department if it has any job openings.
9). WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO GET A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER?
F-1: To work on campus and get paid, students must have a social security number (SSN). One of the first things to do after accepting a job is to make an appointment with ISSS to start the SSN application process. (Only individuals with jobs are eligible for a SSN.)
Next, take the necessary documents to the Social Security Administration office, which is not far from campus. Once an application is approved, the SSN card will be mailed within two weeks.
J-1: Students (as well as student Interns and International Visitors) with a J-1 classification are required to have a letter from the Alternate Responsible Officer or RO of their sponsoring program verifying that they are authorized for employment.
10). DO I HAVE TO PAY TAXES?
Anyone with a SSN card, regardless of whether they are currently working or not, must file tax returns by April 15 every year. During tax season, the Business Department at Gallaudet offers free tax help for all students. Students who are not working and have never worked do not need to fill out tax returns for the year. .
11). WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I GRADUATE? DO I HAVE TO GO BACK TO MY COUNTRY OR CAN I STAY IN THE UNITED STATES?
Once non-U.S. students graduate they have four options:
Go back to school to pursue an advanced degree.
F-1's can obtain a work permit (OPT) that allows them to work anywhere in the country. However, the permit expires 14 months after their last day of classes. J-1's should see ISSS to discuss available options.
Stay in America for up to 60 days (F-1) or 30 days (J-1) after the last day of classes or the end of the program; then they must leave the country.
Change to another status (such as B1/B2).
12). WHAT DO I DO IF I WANT TO TRAVEL DURING SCHOOL BREAKS?
Non-U.S. students can travel anywhere in the United States without limitation during breaks. If they are leaving the United States to visit their home country or another country, they must have the PDSO or the DSO endorse their current SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1) or have the RO endorse their DS-2019 (J-1) to permit them to travel legally. This will verify that their SEVIS record is accurate and up-to- date. They must make sure: (a) their visa has not expired and is valid for returning to the United States (b) their passport is valid and will not expire in less than six months from the date they plan to return to the United States, and (c) they have the required visa for the country they are visiting.
13). MY VISA EXPIRED! CAN I RENEW IT AT MY EMBASSY IN D.C.?
Non-U.S. students do not need a valid visa if they are staying in the U.S. A valid visa is only important when they enter the country. If they want to renew their visa, they cannot do so in D.C., they must go to their home country to get it renewed before re-entering the U.S. Also, if they travel outside the U.S. with an expired passport, they will not be allowed to return to the U.S.
14). HOW CAN I IMPROVE MY ENGLISH SKILLS?
Reading is an important part of developing English skills. Whether it's reading for classes or for personal reasons, non-English users studying in the U.S. should make sure to look up any words they don't understand. Use Gallaudet's Tutoring and Instructional Program services for help with written English assignments. Ask classmates for help or study together.
15). DO I HAVE TO INFORM ISSS IF I PLAN TO MISS A CLASS?
Missing a day or two of class is an issue between student and course instructor. ISSS needs to be informed if the student plans on missing two weeks or more of classes in a row. If they have not told ISSS of their plans, and if they have missed more than two weeks of classes and are not responding to ISSS emails, their student status is at risk and can be terminated.
16). WHAT DO I DO IF I AM THINKING ABOUT QUITTING SCHOOL OR TRANSFERRING TO ANOTHER SCHOOL?
Any Gallaudet student who is thinking about quitting school should first talk to their academic advisor to see if Gallaudet can offer support services to resolve any issues that are causing them to consider leaving. Students who decide to leave Gallaudet, either for terminating your studies or transferring to another school, will need to get a University Withdrawal Form from the Registrar's Office and, in the case of non-U.S. students, make an appointment with their international student advisor to help them with the rest of the withdrawal or transfer process.
17). WHAT STEPS DO I NEED TO TAKE IF I DECIDE TO TRANSFER TO ANOTHER SCHOOL?
In order to transfer to another school, the following procedure is required:
Provide ISSS a copy of the Acceptance Letter from the other school..
Clear any outstanding account balances with Gallaudet University.
Complete the F-1 or J-1 Transfer Form from the other school.
Complete the Exit Information Form from ISSS.
Complete the Gallaudet University Withdrawal Form from the Registrar's Office.
18). IF I AM MOVING TO A DIFFERENT APARTMENT AT THE END OF THE YEAR, DO I NEED TO NOTIFY ISSS?
Yes. Any change of address must be reported to ISSS within 10 days of moving.
19). WHY DO I HAVE TO SHOW UP TO SIGN FORMS FOR BUSINESS REGISTRATION EVERY SEMESTER? ISN'T ONCE ENOUGH? CAN'T I JUST PROVIDE THE SAME INFORMATION ONLINE?
ISSS has a variety of reasons for requiring students to show up to sign forms and fill out the information sheet every semester. The most important reason is to verify that the student is physically on campus and ready for classes. It is also important that ISSS check for any updated passports, visas, changes of major, or other information that may have changed since the last semester's registration. ISSS wants to make sure that all questions are answered and potential problems avoided.
20). I CAN'T FIND OR DIDN'T BRING MY PASSPORT WITH ME AND I NEED A COPY. CAN I USE ONE OF THE COPIES THAT ISSS HAS ON FILE?
No. While ISSS has copies of passports, it does not give them out when a student needs them for purposes unrelated to school. If a copy is needed from their office, ISSS still requires the student to bring his/her valid passport to make new copies.