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Current F-1/M-1 Students

Overview

Global Student Services Program provides support services to non-native English Speaker students who have US permanent residency status (including refugees, US permanent residents and US citizens) and admission assistance to Internationals students who are admitted to the United States in a temporary, non-resident status (any type of visa).

Information for students in F-1 and M-1 status on several topics can be found below. Students seeking advising should contact 517-483-1924 or lcc-international@star.lcc.edu with questions or to make an appointment. For information about applying to LCC as an international student please visit the International Student Admissions webpage.

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Maintaining F-1 Status

Students in F-1 status are required to enroll in a full-time course load during the fall and spring semester. At LCC, 12 credits is considered to be full time, with few exceptions. F-1 students are required to take in-person classes. Courses must count toward degree progress.

Summer is considered to be an official vacation and summer semester enrollment is not required to maintain F-1 status.

International students are required to maintain accurate records of their current address, phone number, legal name, and major. Any changes to these should be reported to a LCC DSO at Global Student Services. Global Student Services communicates with students primarily through their LCC email address.

Online Enrollment

Online enrollment must be limited to one class per full-time course load during required semesters. If students in F-1 status enroll in "excessive online coursework" during a required term, this a violation of status and the students' SEVIS record will be terminated.

Reduced Course Load

Taking less than a full time course load is permitted in limited circumstances. Please note that reduced course load authorization is provided by a DSO. In order to obtain authorization for a reduced course load students should speak to a DSO either prior to the semester start or immediately upon encountering an issue. Students are required to maintain full-time enrollment until they receive authorization from an LCC DSO in Global Student Services to drop below full time.

Final Semester of Study: When in the final semester of study before graduating with an associate's degree, students can register less than full time if they require less than 12 credits to complete their program.

Medical Reasons: If F-1 students have a medical or mental health condition that prevents them from studying full time, they can apply for a reduced course load. A U.S. doctor or licensed clinical psychologist must provide a recommendation for the student to study part time or take the semester off. This benefit is available to F-1 students for up to 12 months per program of study.

Academic Difficulty: F-1 students can be authorized for a reduced course load for limited reasons relating to academic difficulty. If students feel they would like to explore these options, they should contact Global Student Services.

Taking a Semester Off

Students must report to Global Student Services if they plan to take a semester off. In order to preserve F-1 status, your DSO will instruct you on when to depart the United States and will terminate your SEVIS record. In order to take a semester off, students should speak with a DSO, an academic adviser, and fill out the "departure form" online. Taking time off can have an impact on immigration benefits available to a student so it is important to consult an adviser before departing.

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Change of Status to F-1

A change of status is required when your purpose for being in the U.S. no longer corresponds with the terms of your current visa type. To apply for Change of Status (COS) to F-1 you should contact an LCC DSO at lcc-international@star.lcc.edu. A change of status can occur through travel and reentry, or within the U.S. by submitting an application to USCIS. An LCC DSO can explain these options to you and assist you with the procedures.

Students pursuing an adjustment of status (changing to an immigrant status) are strongly advised to work with a trusted immigration attorney. LCC does not provide assistance with adjustment of status procedures. Successful adjustments to status should be reported to Global Student Services.

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Immigration Documents

Students are advised to keep all immigration documents in a safe place. LCC is required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to maintain updated records in your secure student file. Please inform LCC when you have any renewed or updated immigration documents by emailing lcc-international@star.lcc.edu.

Passport

Students should maintain a valid passport at least six months into the future. Report the loss or theft of a passport to the police and get a police report. Contact your country's U.S. Consulate or Embassy to renew or replace a passport. Report updates or renewals of your passport to LCC.

SEVIS Form I-20

A Form I-20 is issued by the U.S. school you attend. A Form I-20 is required to apply for an F-1 visa and to enter and re-enter the U.S. in valid F-1 status. All Form I-20s should be retained in students' records as they are official documents. Do not throw away past Form I-20s. To make any changes to a students’ SEVIS record or program of study, students must request a new Form I-20 before the program expiration.

Obtain a travel signature from an LCC DSO before departing the U.S., as you will be required to present it upon reentry. If your absence abroad exceeds more than 5 months, please contact Global Student Services.

F-1/M-1 Visa

Placed by a U.S. Consular official in your passport. Indicates that you are eligible to enter and/or re-enter the U.S. as an F-1/M-1 student. Does NOT determine your length of stay in the U.S. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., it is not necessary to renew it as long as you remain in the country. Can only be granted at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

I-94 records are created by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) when travelers cross the U.S. border. If arriving by land or sea the I-94 can be a small white card stapled into your passport. If arriving by air the I-94 will be a stamp in your passport and an electronic record is created, issued by an immigration official at the port of entry. Electronic records can be accessed on the I94 webpage. The immigration official should write "F-1 D/S" or "M-1 D/S" on your I-94 card or stamp. D/S stands for "duration of status" and refers to the length of time a student is permitted to remain temporarily in the U.S. to pursue a full course of study.

You will receive a new stamp with a new admission number each time you enter the U.S.  Exceptions include brief visits (30 days or less) under certain circumstances to Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands.

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Travel

When re-entering the U.S. after traveling outside of the country, be prepared to show CBP the following:

  • Original Form I-20 signed for travel within the last 12 months (travel endorsement on page 2 of the Form I-20)*
  • Passport valid 6 months into the future
  • Valid F-1/M1 visa if applicable
  • Enrollment verification. This can be printed directly from your MyLCC account

*In order to reenter the US after traveling outside of the country you must have a travel signature on your Form I-20 - this signature confirms that you are a full-time student maintaining lawful status.  To obtain a travel signature please complete the electronic Travel Request form and drop off your most current Form I-20 at the Center for Student Support Desk. Once your request is complete, you will receive an email to pick up your Form I-20. Requests can take 3-5 business days to process.

Please Note:

  • F-1 and M-1 students with expired U.S. visas who are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for up to 30 days, who will not be applying for a new U.S. visa while there, AND who will be resuming their studies upon their return should NOT surrender their I-94 card (if applicable).  Discuss this with Global Student Services before traveling.
  • Canadian or Mexican nationals returning to their home country should surrender their I-94 card as they enter their country, and obtain a new I-94 card when reentering the U.S.
  • Canadian nationals should be sure to carry with them their financial documentation that verifies the information on their SEVIS Form I-20 when returning to the United States.
  • Absence from the United States for more than five months requires a new SEVIS Form I-20 and F-1 Visa for reentry. Be sure to notify Global Student Services no less than 45 days prior to return to the U.S. of your intention to return.

Traveling Within the U.S.:

  • If you are planning a trip within the United States, it is important that you have your Form I-20, passport, visa, and Student ID card with you for all travel, even within Michigan.
  • Federal law requires that students and their dependents carry "registration" documentation at all times. This includes a basic identification documents such as a passport, current Form I-20 and I-94. For day-to-day purposes it is recommended that you keep these documents in a secure location. However, if you are traveling within the U.S. you should carry these documents with you to demonstrate proof of status if you are using transportation.
  • If you are applying for a change of non-immigrant status, have an immigration petition or EAD card application pending, be sure to carry your U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) receipt notice (Form I-797). This notice proves that you have an application pending with USCIS.
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Leaving LCC

Any F-1/M-1 student discontinuing their education at LCC, due to completion of their academic program, leave of absence or change of status, should notify Global Student Services first. Important information about "grace periods" is listed below

60 Days for F-1 Completion of Program - If you have completed your academic program or practical training you are allotted 60 days to request to transfer your SEVIS record to another U.S. institution or prepare for departure from the U.S.

15 Days for F-1 Approved Withdrawal - If you have been granted authorized withdrawal due to a leave of absence, medical leave or military leave your SEVIS record will be terminated for "authorized early withdrawal" and you are allotted 15 days to depart the U.S.

Immediate Departure for Suspension or Termination of Status  - If you fail to maintain a full course load or otherwise fail to maintain your F-1 / M-1 immigration status, you are not eligible for a grace period and must request reinstatement of your F-1/M-1 status or depart the U.S. immediately.

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Inviting Relatives to the United States

The spouse and children under age 21 of an individual are called dependents. Individuals entering the United States on a student visa (F-1 or M-1) are eligible to apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to bring their dependents with them. The dependents can also apply later for an F-2 or M-2 visa travel to the United States to join the student. The student (or applicant if not yet admitted) must show that financial resources are available to support any dependents brought to the United States. Dependents, according to DHS regulations, may not work under any circumstances.

Non-immigrant students in the United States may invite close relatives (other than their spouse or children) to the U.S. on a B-2 visitor's visa. You may write a letter of support for your relatives which includes: their planned dates of travel, planned housing arrangements, reason for the visit, and acknowledgement that the relatives will return home at the end of the visit. You may also provide verification of your enrollment at LCC and photocopy of your Form I-20 (page 1 and 2) to help support their application.

Graduating students may request a Commencement Letter inviting their relative(s) to the United States to attend the graduation ceremony. Commencement letters are only available for official LCC graduation ceremonies. Documentation that you are attending an LCC ceremony may be required to obtain a letter.

IMPORTANT: The information listed above is only a general guide. Students are responsible for understanding official information on obtaining a visitor's visa and other consular services. The  Department of State's website is the best resource for this information.

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Driving

In the state of Michigan, the authority responsible for issuing drivers' licenses and vehicle authorization is called the Secretary of State's Office. If you plan on owning or operating a vehicle in the state of Michigan, you should familiarize yourself with Michigan's policies and laws for safe driving.

Visit the Secretary of State's Office webpage to find information, including information about driver's licenses and car registration and titling. This is a checklist of the documentary requirements to apply for a license. If you currently have an out of state or international driver's license you should follow the documentary requirements

According to "Senate Bill 0501", citizens of certain countries are permitted to drive in Michigan with an official translation of their driver's license. This document has information about who is permitted to use a translation of their foreign license and who is required to apply for a Michigan driver's license. Please note that in Michigan you are required to have legal status to apply for a driver's license or to be exempt under Senate Bill 0501. F-1 and M-1 students' eligibility for a driver's license is tied to your program dates, or the dates of your authorized status in the United States.

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Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)

The purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to help the government track an individual's earnings in the U.S. for tax purposes. Once you are offered a job, you will need to apply for a SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Eligibility for an SSN is based on the offer of paid employment, and regulations require you to provide a valid employment offer letter to apply for a SSN. You must apply for an SSN in person at a local Social Security office. You cannot request an SSN over the phone and it can take several weeks for the card to arrive in the mail.

Social Security Numbers are NOT required for:

Banking: F visa holders do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. The bank may ask F visa holders to fill out Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.

Driver's License: The state of Michigan does not require you to have a Social Security number to apply for a driver's license.

Information about the location of the Lansing Area Social Security Office.

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Employment

Employment is any type of work performed or service provided in exchange for money, tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, food or any other benefit. International students in F-1 status are eligible for on-campus employment and approved off-campus employment, known as "practical training".

On campus employment for F-1 students is permitted without DSO approval as long as the student is maintaining lawful status. On campus employment does not need to be related to the field of study and cannot exceed more than 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. LCCs policies prevent students from participating in on-campus employment if they are not maintaining good academic standing. Federal regulations prevent F-1 students studying in the English Language Studies Program (ELSP) from working on campus.

Off campus employment benefits are available for F-1 students but require approval either from an LCC DSO or USCIS prior to the start of employment. If you are seeking off campus employment you should make an appointment with Global Student Services to discuss options for practical training or other employment benefits that may be available to you.

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Tax Reporting

All students in nonresident status are required to file taxes while in the US, regardless of whether or not they earn income. The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) is the organization responsible for assessing and collecting taxes in the United States. Tax forms and additional tax information can be found on the Internal Revenue Services website. Tax residents usually complete Forms 1040 or 1040-EZ. Nonresidents for tax purposes must complete either Forms 1040NR-EZ or the longer 1040-NR. Individuals who are required to file but have no income typically file the form 8843.

Understanding your tax requirements is your individual responsibility. It is highly recommended that if you have questions, you seek answers from a reliable professional source or use a tax accountant. Learn more about an international student tax resource.

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Transfer-In and Transfer-Out

Students transferring from one SEVP-authorized institution to another are required to request a transfer of their SEVIS record. Students transferring in to LCC are required to fill out the transfer-in request. An LCC Form I-20 will be provided after the request and all additional documentation is submitted to Global Student Services.

Current LCC students transferring to other institutions are required to submit a transfer-out request. Students will be asked to provide a scan of their admission letter from the new institution, and may be asked for that institutions' "transfer-in" form if applicable.

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Change of Academic Program

F-1 students who undergo a change in academic program are required to have their SEVIS record updated to accurately reflect their current program of study. Students should indicate that they are international when filling out the change of program request. Changes of academic program should be discussed with an academic adviser and LCC DSO.

Support Services at Lansing Community College

Susan Muma, Associate Dean of Center for Student Support
Gannon Building - StarZone - Campus Resources Desk
Phone: (517) 483-1924