Immigration Basics

Click on the UPDATES below for important immigration announcements. Click on TERMINOLOGY for a glossary of terms.

Updates

Part-time Study Opportunities for F-2 Dependents

The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced a new rule effective May 29, 2015, that increases opportunities to study for spouses and children of nonimmigrant F-1 students. F-2 spouses and children may enroll for less than a full course of study at a college, university or community college.

F-2 spouses and children are allowed to enroll in less than a "full course of study" at an SEVP-certified school without violating their status, even if that part-time study eventually leads to a degree or certificate.  The University of Arizona defines less than a full course of study as:

F-1 Undergraduates

11 units or less

F-1 Graduates

8 units or less
2 units (if only registered in 900 level)
1 unit in Advanced Status is not allowed

If an F-2 dependent pursues a full course of study, this will result in a violation of status.  F-2 dependents are still prohibited from engaging in employment.

International Student Services (ISS) welcomes this opportunity to introduce part-time study opportunities for F-2 dependents.  To find more information, visit the Study in the States webpage. If you have any questions, please contact ISS at dso@email.arizona.edu, or visit us during advising hours to learn more.

Terminology

Immigration Systems, Offices, Documents, and Personnel

SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
SEVIS serves as an electronic means for the university, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly Immigration and Naturalization Services), and Department of State to receive and transmit information concerning international student visa status. This information had previously been transmitted in paper format. Now, reporting requirements will be done electronically in real time on reportable events.

DSO: Designated School Official
DSOs are University employees registered with the DHS and are familiar with the Service regulations for the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of nonimmigrant students in F status and are named by the university president. DSOs are the only personnel authorized to sign immigration documents as they relate to F status. Continuing F-1 students must see a DSO in the International Student Programs and Services (ISPS) for any necessary signatures or authorizations.

RO/ARO:  Responsible Officer/Alternate Responsible Officer
RO/AROs are University employees registered with the DOS and are familiar with the Service regulations for the requirements for admission and maintenance of status of nonimmigrant students in J status and are named by the university president. RO/AROs are the only personnel authorized to sign immigration documents as they relate to J status. Continuing J-1 students must see a RO/ARO in the International Student Programs and Services (ISPS) or their J-1 Program sponsor for any necessary signatures or authorizations.

ISS:  Office of International Student Services
915 N Tyndall Avenue

DOS:  Department of State

DHS:  Department of Homeland Security

USCIS:  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

CBP:  U.S. Customs and Border Protection

ICE:  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

POE:  Port of Entry

Form I-20:  Certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student (F-1) status

Form DS-2019:  Certificate of eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) status, Formerly IAP-66

U.S. Visa:  Permission to apply for entry into the US

Form I-94:  Non-immigrant Arrival and Departure Record, commonly known as “the little white card in passport”

D/S:  Duration of Status
All F and J students must have a D/S stamp on their Form I-94

EAD:  Employment Authorization Document
Permit to work off-campus under Optional Practical Training (OPT), Severe Economic hardship, or J2 applications

CFR:  Code of Federal Regulations

FERPA:  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
Protects the privacy of all student records. For purposes of the information that a school or program sponsor is required to report to SEVIS for students in F or J nonimmigrant status, the provisions of FERPA do not apply.