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Northwest Missouri State University


Current International Students

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Campus Resources

University Break

Please note: Additional housing charges will be added to your student account if you stay in the residence hall during college breaks, as classes are not in session. Campus dining facilities are closed during these break times so students should plan accordingly, in advance. These breaks include the following:

Fall Break During the American holiday of Thanksgiving in November
Semester Break Mid-December through the first part of January
Spring Break During March or April

Airport Shuttle Sign-Up

Return to Northwest Shuttle - Fall 2018 Semester

A shuttle from the airport, to the University, will be provided at no charge on the following dates and times.

Shuttle from the airport, to the University

Sunday August 26, 2018 5 p.m.
Sunday August 26, 2018 9 p.m.
*Shuttle will depart from Terminal C, Gate 90

Reserve Your Seat!

Cost: FREE

 

  • Last day to sign up is Friday, August 17 by 5:00 p.m.

  • Cancellations must be emailed to intlprog@nwmissouri.edu by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21.

  • No refunds will be given. Shuttles are reserved based on the number of students who sign up.

  • In the event of inclement weather and/or shuttle cancellations, students will be issued a refund.

  • Shuttles will leave ON TIME! Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your departure time.

  • Students who reserve a seat and do not use the shuttle without notifying the IIC of their cancellation in advance will be charged $25.

  • If students experience flight delays or miss a flight, the student is expected to text or call 816.629.8702

 


 

Leave Northwest Shuttle - End of Fall 2018 Semester

We will also provide a shuttle to the airport at the end of the semester on the following dates and times. Seats are limited; 10 seats per shuttle.

Shuttle to airport, from the University

Friday December 14, 2018 1 p.m.
Friday December 14, 2018 5 p.m.
Saturday December 15, 2018 4 a.m.
*Shuttle will department from The Station, Lower Parking Lot

Reserve Your Seat!

Cost: $25.00 per person
(to be paid during registration)

 

  • Last day to sign up is Friday, December 7 by 5:00 p.m.

  • Cancellations must be emailed to intlprog@nwmissouri.edu by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday,December 11.

  • No refunds will be given. Shuttles are reserved based on the number of students who sign up.

  • In the event of inclement weather and/or shuttle cancellations, students will be issued a refund.

  • Shuttles will leave ON TIME! Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your departure time.

  • If students experience flight delays or miss a flight, the student is expected to text or call 816.629.8702

    

 


 

Return to Northwest Shuttle - Spring 2019 Semester

A shuttle from the airport, to the University, will be provided at no charge on the following dates and times. Seats are limited; 10 seats per shuttle.

Shuttle from the airport, to the University

Sunday January 5, 2019 7 p.m.
*Shuttle will depart from Terminal C, Gate 90

COST: Free

HOW: Sign up in-person at the International Involvement Center

 

  • Last day to sign up is Friday, December 8 by 5:00 p.m.

  • The shuttle will drop off students at The Station, Lower Parking Lot.
  • Cancellations must be emailed to intlprog@nwmissouri.edu by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11.

  • No refunds will be given. Shuttles are reserved based on the number of students who sign up.

  • In the event of inclement weather and/or shuttle cancellations, students will be issued a refund.

  • Shuttles will leave ON TIME! Please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to your departure time.

  • Students who reserve a seat and do not use the shuttle without notifying the IIC of their cancellation in advance will be charged $25.

  • If students experience flight delays or miss a flight, the student is expected to text or call 816.629.8702

Multicultural Organizations

Calendar of Events

  • This information will be posted in the future. Please continue to check back for any updates. Thank you!

Health Insurance Information

All international students enrolled at Northwest Missouri State University will be enrolled in the University sourced health insurance through LewerMark Student Medical Insurance.

Students are billed in August for coverage from August 15 through December 31 and again in January for coverage from January 1 through August 15.

Students who graduate from Northwest will need to purchase a short-term insurance, outside of the University.  LewerMark Student Insurance has a number of plans available to students on OPT.

Students in exchange programs, short term non-degree programs, and government sponsored students need to report to the International Affairs office and file their insurance coverage.

View a plan summary on the international student insurance »

LewerMark offers a variety of services included in your plan, including a 24/7 medical help line as well as counseling and legal services:

MyNurse 24/7
Medical Help Line
1-866-549-5076

 

Speak with a nurse about your health, illness or where to go if you feel sick or are injured.

  • Friendly, experienced, Registered Nurses help you decide what your best choices are.
  • Assistance with any Health Issues or Questions
  • General Health and Wellness Information

 

LewerMark Student Assist
Counseling and Legal Services
1-855-492-3624

 

The Counseling Center is a safe and secure way for students to get short-term counseling on issues including:

  • Stress Management
  • Anxiety, Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Legal Advice

Immigration and Legal Information

Obtaining a Social Security Number

To apply for a Social Security Number (SSN), you can request the necessary letter online. You will need to upload a copy of your job offer, proof of enrollment from the Registrar’s Office, and current Form I-20.

The Social Security Administration is located at

Social Security Administration Office
518 W South Hill Drive
Maryville, MO 64468
(877) 833-2731

Take the following documents to the Social Security Administration to apply for a SSN:

  • Passport and visa
  • Printed I-94
  • Form I‐20
  • Job offer letter
  • Letter of full time enrollment from the Registrar’s Office
  • Maintenance of status letter from the IIC

Learn more at Study in the States »

How to apply for Missouri Driver’s License

A driver's license is required for anyone who plans to operate a motor-driven vehicle on public roadways.

Instruction Permit

Before you obtain a driver's license or learn to drive in the United States, you must have an instruction permit, also known as a learner's permit. To obtain this permit, you must pass a vision test and a written test about Missouri traffic rules. With a permit, you may drive only when an adult licensed driver is in the vehicle with you. For additional information about obtaining an instruction permit, including the information you will need to learn to pass the written test, please see the Missouri Driver Guide. You will take all tests at the Maryville License Bureau.

Driver’s License

After you have satisfied the requirements to graduate from an instruction permit, you can apply for a driver's license. You must pass vision, road sign and written tests, in addition to a driving test. For the driving test, you must provide a registered and insured vehicle in which to take the test. You will take the tests at the Maryville License Bureau.

You must successfully pass all tests to obtain a driver's license.  If you are in nonimmigrant status, you will receive your license by mail in four to six weeks. If you have a driver's license from another state in the U.S., you should get a Missouri license as soon as possible after moving here.


Required Documentation

For Missouri instruction permit or driver's license:

  1. Proof of lawful presence
    • F-1 and J-1 students must provide all of the following:
      1. Passport
      2. I-94
      3. Visa
      4. I-20
      5. Proof of enrollment (Registrar’s office)
    • F-2 dependents must provide all of the following:
      1. Passport
      2. I-94
      3. Visa
      4. I-20 of F-1
      5. Certification of enrollment for the F-1
    • H-1B scholars must provide all of the following:
      1. Passport
      2. I-94
      3. Proof of employment obtained from the Office of Human Resources
    • H-4 dependents must provide all of the following:
      1. Passport
      2. I-94
      3. Proof of H1-B's employment, obtained from the Office of Human Resources


  2. Proof of residency — one of the following:
    • Utility bill (most recent)
    • Bank statement (most recent)
    • Paycheck (most recent)
    • Housing rental contract of current residence
    • An official letter/document from another state or local government agency, on the agency’s letterhead or that contains the official seal of the issuing agency, within the past 30 days
    • Letter or other documentation issued by postmaster within past 30 days
    • Other government document that contains the name and address of the applicant, within the past 30 days


  3. Proof of identity — only required for H-1B/H-4 visas
    • Provide your Social Security number if you have received one. If you have not received a Social Security card, go to the Social Security office to obtain a letter.



Testing and License Office

Maryville License Bureau (map)
408 N. Market Street
Maryville, MO  64468
660.582.5391
chamber@maryvillechamber.com

Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday

 

 

Access I-94

To obtain a hard copy of your I-94, visit the I-94 retrieval webpage & start the retrieval process. You will need to know the following information to retrieve your electronic I-94:

Family Name
First (Given) Name
Birth Date
Passport Number
Country of Issuance
Most Recent Date of Entry
Class of Admission

Once you have supplied the above information, your electronic I-94 will appear on your screen. You may then print your I-94.

Staying Legal

Maintaining F-1 Status

To "stay in status" follow the simple steps below:

  • Report to the DSO (Designated School Official) for Initial Registration in SEVIS upon arriving at the school
  • For the first entry for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and the I-20 must be the same
  • Pursue a “full course of study” at the school listed on the currently valid Form I-20 during every academic session or semester except during official school breaks, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on the Form I-20
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for change in educational levels of programs of study
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools
  • Abide by the F-1 grace period rules, including remaining in the U.S. for no longer than 60 days after completing a full course of study, unless prior to completing the course of study the student has followed procedures for applying for practical training, moving educational levels, or school transfer
  • Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated. You must also change on CatPAWS or at Registrar's Office.
  • Abide by rules requirements, such as Special Registration requirements
  • Do not work off-campus, unless specifically authorized by the DSO

Reinstatement for F-1

Reinstatement refers to returning to legal status. If you fail to maintain legal status, you have to make an appointment with the International Involvement Center and you will guided through the following steps:

  • Conditions for approval for reinstatement
    • Have not been out of status more than 5 months prior to filing for reinstatement
    • No record of repeated violations
    • Pursuing education full-time
    • Are not engaged in unauthorized employment
    • Not deportable on any grounds other than the status violation for which reinstatement is being requested
    • Status violation resulted from either:
      • Circumstances beyond control
      • Failure to apply in a timely fashion for a reduced course load authorized by the DSO, but only if the violation would have been within the DSO’s authority
  • Procedures for applying for reinstatement
    • Provide the DSO with all the documents necessary to issue a new Form I-20
    • Write a letter of explanation addressed to BCIS
    • Complete and sign Form I-539
    • $195.00 fee

Part-Time Enrollment Authorization

You may enroll part-time IF:

  • You are a freshman in your first semester and you are having difficulty with English.
  • In your last semester before graduation and are taking all required classes to complete your degree.
  • Illness or Medical Condition.

Program Extension

If you have an I-20 and the program completion date (In item 5 on your I-20) is before the date you will graduate, you need to extend your program (aka: Extend my I-20). Please come to International Involvement Center before the date on your I-20 and ask to have your program extended. You will need to schedule an appointment for this meeting.

  • Requirements to be eligible for extension of program:
    • Contact DSO and update SEVIS before program completion date
    • Continually maintained status
    • The delay in completion is “caused by compelling academic or medical reasons, such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, or documented illnesses”
  • Academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension

Transferring

Transferring Out

Transfer policies:

  • Maintain immigration status at Northwest
  • The course of study at the new school must begin within five months of the end of the course-of-study at Northwest, or the release date set by Northwest, whichever is earlier
  • Students on OPT must begin their course-of-study within five months of the end of OPT, or the release date set by Northwest, whichever is earlier
  • Must be eligible for a Form I-20 at the NEW school
  • The proper transfer procedures must be followed in SEVIS within the required deadlines.

If you are planning to transfer to a new school, please follow these steps:

  • Apply for admission to new school(s)
  • Submit transfer form for the new school(s) to Northwest DSO, if applicable
  • Submit an acceptance letter from NEW school to Northwest DSO
  • Complete the Transfer Intent form

Request Transfer

OPT Transfer Request

Transferring In

  • We are happy you are considering Northwest! Please visit the Admissions website for more information about how to apply. If you have questions about the visa process our international recruiter can answer those for you. Please e-mail phull@nwmissouri.edu

F-1 Student Record Retention

The Offices of International Affairs, English as a Second Language, and Study Abroad will retain records of I-20’s for F-1 students for a limited period of time.

  • Initial transfers – one year after transfer date
  • Students who do not attend – one year after program start date
  • Transfer student – five years after transfer date
  • Terminated status – five years after date of SEVIS termination
  • Post-graduation – five years after date of graduation or OPT end date (whichever is later)
  • Change of status – five years after the decision date
  • International exchange students – five years after program completion

F-2 Dependents

General Information

  • Dependents may enter the U.S. with or after the F-1student but never before.
  • Dependents must have a Form I-20 (F-2) every time they re-enter the U.S.
  • Dependents may not remain in the U.S. after the F-1 student has left the U.S. unless the absence is temporary (five months or shorter) and the F-1 student is in good standing.
  • Dependents maintain their legal immigration status by the F-1 maintaining his or her status; therefore, if the F-1 is out of status, so is the F-2.
  • F-2s may not be employed.
  • F-2s may not be admitted as a full-time, degree-seeking students.

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I add a dependent?

Submit an online request for a new I-20 to add a dependent, providing:

    1. Biographical information: name, relationship, date of birth, city of birth, country of birth. Upload a copy of the dependent’s passport.
    2. Financial information: You must show adequate proof of finance for each dependent that you wish to add to your document, in the amount of $10,000 per dependent.

What if my child was born in the U.S.?

You must decide whether the baby will have a U.S. passport or a passport from your home country. We encourage you to research your citizenship options and make a decision based on your particular situation and plans. If the baby will have a U.S. passport, then you should apply for a U.S. passport. If the baby will have a passport from your home country, contact the nearest embassy or consulate for instructions on how to register the baby and receive a passport. Also, if the baby will have a non-U.S. passport, then the baby should also have an F-2 document. To receive a F-2 document, please follow the above instructions for adding a dependent.

How long will it take to get the I-20 or DS-2019 for my dependent?

After you  submit your request, passport,  and financial documentation, it will take approximately 3 working days to prepare the I-20.

How do dependents get visas to enter the U.S.?

Your dependents should check with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to find out how to apply for a dependent visa. You may be required to show marriage and/or birth certificates. They need I-20 documents to apply for visas.

What should we do when my dependents arrive in the U.S.?

Bring copies of their passport information page, visa page and I-94 (front and back) to keep in your file at the International Involvement Center.

Will my dependent be able to work?

Dependents with F-2 visas are not permitted by USCIS to work.

What if my child turns 21?

When your child turns 21, he or she will be required to apply for a change of status and/or leave the U.S.

What if my spouse and I divorce?

The F-2 spouse will be required to apply for a change of status and/or leave the U.S.

Work in the USA

Working in the USA

While your first priority is studying, you may want to gain important experience and/or earn a little spending money. Working on campus is a great way to do this. Working on campus 20 hours per week during school can pay for living costs, but not for tuition. You should not expect to pay your own way with a job. A rough calculation of a typical student employee wage would be around $400 per month ($7.90/hr x 15 hours a week less taxes).

Finding a job is your opportunity to get experience with the American job search process.  We recommend that you start early.  Search for on campus positions by visiting the Student Employment website.  Career Services provides students with a platform to develop career related decision making processes through events, web resources, videos and services.  Update your resume and visit International Student Resources for more details.

Some interesting international student immigration regulations and campus policies will shape your choices:

  • All students are able to work on-campus for only 20 hours a week during school
  • 40 hours during a school break (vacation)
  • Employment opportunities are those positions which support the student body

Off-Campus Employment

  • Only offered to those who have unforeseen economic hardship, internship with an International Organization or Special Student Relief program
  • Student must be issued an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card from USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services)
  • Authorized for 20 hours a week during school
  • 40 hours a week during a school break (vacation)

Severe Economic Hardship

  • Definition: loss of financial aid or on-campus employment without fault on the part of the student, substantial fluctuations in the value of currency or exchange rate, inordinate increases in tuition and/or living costs, unexpected changes in the financial condition of the students source of support, medical bills, or other substantial and unexpected expenses.
  • Procedures
    • Contact International Involvement Center at 660.562.1367 to complete the process
    • Statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation
      • Letter from home stating the change in family circumstances
      • Proof of currency devaluation in the students country
    • Explain why other employment options are unavailable or insufficient
    • Complete Form I-765 (c) (3) (iii)
    • Obtain 2 Passport style photos
    • $380 fee

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular practical training is an employment authorization that allows F-1 students to work off-campus in a work/study program. This may include an internship or practicum.

In order to be approved for CPT, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Internship must be related to your field of study.
  • Internship must be required by the department or adviser.
  • You must receive academic credit and a grade for the internship.
  • Because CPT is employer-specific, you must have been offered a position in writing before CPT can be approved. The employment can be paid or unpaid.

During the fall and spring semesters, you are only eligible to engage in part-time CPT (20 hours per week or fewer). During the summer and official school breaks, you are eligible to engage in full-time CPT (more than 20 hours per week).

You can apply for CPT through the International Student Services Portal.  Students should allow at least two business days for processing.

Things to Remember

  • Full-time CPT for 12 months or more cancels out your eligibility for OPT.
  • You may be authorized for as much part-time CPT as is necessary for your program.
  • Even if the internship is unpaid, you must still obtain CPT authorization.
  • CPT can only be authorized for a specific job; the job cannot change during CPT.
  • You cannot begin employment until you receive your new I-20 and the CPT start date has passed.

Sample Letters

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training is employment authorization for off-campus work that is directly related to your major field of study. You may use OPT for unpaid or paid work experience. There are three types of OPT:

  • Pre-completion: Start and finish before your program end date.
  • Post-completion: Start and finish after program end date.
  • 24-month STEM extension: Certain circumstances allow for you to apply to extend OPT for an additional 24 months.

Eligibility

  • Be in lawful F-1 status for one full academic year prior to applying for OPT.
  • Have a passport that is valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Have no more than 364 days (less than one year) of full-time CPT.

Application Process

Step 1: Attend workshop and prepare documents

Complete the mandatory OPT training through the International Student Services Portal. Then gather the necessary documents and submit the hard copy to the International Involvement Center.

  • Completed Form I-765 — most students should use eligibility code (c)(3)(B) for post-completion OPT
  • Filing fee of $410, payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Completed Form G-1145 View PDF
  • Copy of I-94
  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Copy of visa
  • Copies of all previous I-20s
  • Two identical immigration-style photos, taken in the last 30 days
  • OPT Processing Fee
  • Copy of any previous Employment Authorization Documents you have received from USCIS (if applicable)

Step 2: Submit application to the International Involvement Center

After gathering the necessary documents and completing the OPT training, bring your documents to the International Involvement Center (do not staple).

After you submit your application, all required documents and pay the OPT processing fee to the International Involvement Center, an international student adviser will process your application within five business days. When your OPT request has been processed, you will receive an email that the Form I-20 is ready for you to pick up at the International Involvement Center front desk.

Step 3: Mail application to USCIS

After you have signed the Form I-20, your entire application will be mailed via FedEx to USCIS by the International Involvement Center.

Step 4: Monitor your EAD progress

Approximately three weeks after the OPT application is mailed, you will receive a receipt from USCIS confirming that they have received your documents. The receipt will have a receipt number that you may use to check the status of your application through the USCIS Case Status Online system.

Step 5: Receive your EAD card

USCIS will make a decision on your application within 120 days. If approved, your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed to the International Involvement Center.  A DSO will contact you notifying you of the EAD delivery and confirm your mailing address.  You may begin working when you have the EAD card and the employment start date on it has arrived.

 

Post-Completion OPT Frequently Asked Questions

Is Optional Practical Training available for graduate students?

Yes.  OPT is available at each degree level.

Within how many days do I need to report an employment or address change?

Any changes in employment or physical address should be reported within 10 days. Initial OPT students can make these updates in the SEVP Portal. STEM OPT students will need to submit a new I-983 if the employer is changed.

Do I have to sign the money order?

Yes, signature may be required on the front. Do NOT sign the back of the money order.

Is it required to get a new I-20 if I change employers?

Yes, you should keep your I-20 current and obtain a new one when information changes.

My full name will not fit on Form I-765, what should I do?

On a separate sheet of paper, write the following:

Form I-765
Last Name: Your last name
First Name: Your first name

Does my OPT fee get verified before it is submitted to USCIS?

Yes, the staff in the International Affairs Office verifies all the documents before submission.

When will I get my new I-20?

Once you send all the application materials to the International Affairs Office, all documents will be reviewed. If your application is complete, a new I-20 will be generated with the OPT request.

How long will it take to receive my Employment Authorization Card?

Average processing time is 90-120 days with USCIS.

Can I travel with approved OPT?

Yes, you can travel. An F-1 student who is on post-completion OPT can leave the country (less than five months) and be readmitted to resume employment.

Can I travel while my OPT application is pending?

Travel while your OPT application is pending is not generally recommended. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are out of the country. If USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to show your EAD at the port of entry.

What documents do I need to carry if I travel?

It is recommend that you have your passport, visa, unexpired EAD, letter from your employer, and a Form I-20 signed by a DSO in the past six months

How do I request a new I-20?

You can request a new I-20.

Is it mandatory to request a new I-20 when I change employers?

You are required to keep your I-20 current and it is recommended that you obtain a new I-20 when any change occurs.

How do I report my employer change?

You can make the necessary update to your employment information through the SEVP Portal.

STEM OPT Extension

OPT 24-month STEM Extension

Certain science, technology, engineering and math degree holders on OPT are eligible to extend their 12-month work authorization by 24 months, for a total of 36 months. You are allowed a maximum of two STEM extensions over the course of your academic career. In order to participate twice, you must earn the second degree at a higher education level. You must also be on OPT when you submit your STEM extension application to USCIS.

To find out whether you qualify for a 24-month STEM extension, look for the numeric code for your degree program on the first page of your I-20.


Eligibility

  • Must be on post-completion OPT.
  • Application may be submitted up to 90 days prior to current OPT end date.
  • USCIS must receive application prior to current OPT end date.
  • Application must be submitted within 60 days of your international student adviser making the STEM extension recommendation in SEVIS.
  • Job must be related to your STEM-eligible major.
  • Employment must be paid.
  • Your employer must be enrolled in E-verify.
  • You and your employer must complete and sign the I-983 training plan.

Employment Requirements

  • Must be paid.
  • Each employment opportunity must be a minimum of 20 hours per week.
  • Must be related to your STEM-eligible major.
  • No more than 150 days of accrued unemployment time during entire 36 month OPT period.
  • Report all changes in employment to the International Involvement Center within 10 days of any change through the OPT Reporting Form.

Application Process

Step 1: Prepare documents

Gather the necessary documents and mail the hard copy to the International Involvement Center:

  • OPT STEM Extension Checklist View PDF
  • Completed Form I-983
  • Completed Form I-765 - use eligibility code (c)(3)(C)
  • Filing fee of $410, payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Completed Form G-1145
  • Copy of diploma
  • Copy of current OPT requested I-20
  • Photo copies of previous I-20's
  • Copy of I-94
  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Copy of visa
  • Copy of EAD card
  • Two identical immigration-style photos, taken within the last 30 days
  • Documentation of complete employment history while on OPT (for example, copies of previous job offer letters)
  • Letter from employer confirming employment related to STEM degree, name and title of supervisor, and contact information for the employer
  • OPT Extension Processing Fee

Step 2: Submit application to the International Center

After submitting the necessary documents to the International Center (do not staple), an international student adviser will process your application within five business days. When your STEM OPT has been requested in SEVIS, your new I-20 will be sent to you via FedEx for signature. Email a signed copy back to the international student adviser who processed your application.

Submit documents to:

Northwest Missouri State University
International Involvement Center
800 University Drive, OL 108
Maryville, MO 64468

Step 3: Mail application to USCIS

Once you have submitted your signed Form I-20 to the International Involvement Center, it will be sent via FedEx to USCIS.

Step 4: Monitor your EAD progress

Approximately three weeks after your OPT application is mailed, you will receive a receipt from USCIS confirming that they have received your documents. The receipt will have a receipt number that you may use to check the status of your application through the USCIS Case Status Online system.

Step 5: Receive your EAD card

USCIS will make a decision on your application within 120 days. If approved, your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) will be mailed to the International Involvement Center. A DSO will contact you notifying you of the EAD delivery and confirm your mailing address. As long as your STEM application has been received by USCIS and is pending, you can continue working up to 180 days beyond your initial OPT end date.


STEM Extension Based on Previously Earned Degree

You may be eligible for a STEM extension based on a previously earned degree if you meet the following criteria:

  • Your degree must be earned from a currently-accredited SEVP-certified school.
  • You must currently be on OPT for your most recently awarded degree (current degree does not need to be STEM eligible).
  • The prior degree must be at the bachelor's level or higher and have been conferred within 10 years from the date you submit your application to USCIS.
  • The prior degree must be on the current STEM designated degree program list at the time of application.
  • The employment must be related to the previously earned STEM degree.

STEM OPT Extension Frequently Asked Questions

What is the name of the school recommending STEM OPT extension?

Northwest Missouri State University

What is the SEVIS school code of the school recommending STEM OPT?

The Northwest Missouri State University school code is KAN214F00394000

May I know the current Designated School Official (DSO) name and contact?

Erika Lees
660.562.1367
elees@nwmissouri.edu
Ashley Henggeler
660.562.1367
aheng@nwmissouri.edu

Can I fill Forms I-765, I-983, and G-1145 electronically, or should it be hand-written?

Complete the forms electronically to ensure legibility.

I'm in my initial OPT period. Do I need to apply for a new I-20 in order to apply for the OPT STEM extension?

When you submit your documents for the OPT extension, to the International Involvement Center, you will receive a new I-20.

What is a CIP code?

The CIP code is attached to all majors that categorizes the type of program. You can verify if your CIP code qualifies for the STEM Designated Degree Program before applying for your STEM OPT extension.

Where do I find the CIP code for Form I-983?

It is located on page one of the Form I-20, in the Program of Study section, under Major 1.

On Form I-983, do I need to submit the scanned copy of it or do we need to send the original form?

Scanned or original is acceptable.

Which USCIS Office processed my post-completion OPT and what are the dates?

Potomac Service Center. Refer to the dates on your Employment Authorization Document (OPT Card).

Do I have to pay the STEM OPT processing fee before sending my documents?

Yes, payments can be made through the International Involvement Center Payment Center.

Does my application get reviewed for any mistakes before sending it to USCIS?

Yes, a DSO reviews your application before requesting OPT in SEVIS.

Do I need to provide a copy of my transcript or is my diploma enough?

Either one will work, if the transcript has your date of graduation and degree earned.

I transferred to Northwest, so while applying for STEM OPT extension, do I need to submit my previous school's I-20's as well?

Submit all I-20's with your current SEVIS ID.

Can I start my STEM OPT extension process if my employer is ready to sign the documents?

You can apply up to 90 days before the end date on your Employment Authorization Document (OPT Card).

While applying for STEM OPT extension, do I need to submit all job offer letters?

Yes, submit a job offer letter for all employers you have worked for.

Do the job offer letters need to be originals or will a copy work?

A copy will work.

Is the money order needed to send my STEM OPT extension application to the International Involvement Center?

Yes, submit all documents for your application. The IIC will submit all the documents to USCIS on your behalf.

On Form I-983, section I, which option do I check for "Based on prior degree," yes or no?

Unless you are applying for the STEM OPT extension on a prior degree, your answer will be no.

Do I need to update the OPT report form?

Students on STEM OPT extension are required to update the IIC with employment details every six months, whether there is a change in employment or not.

Can I while my OPT application is pending?

Travel while your OPT application is pending is not generally recommended. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are out of the country. If USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to show your EAD at the port of entry.

Are students who applied for the STEM OPT extension eligible for an automatic 180 day extension?

Yes. Any student who has timely filed an application for the 24 month STEM OPT extension with USCIS can continue working while the application is pending for up to 180 days beyond the expiration date on the EAD.

My STEM OPT extension ended. Should I submit the OPT reporting form?

You should submit the Form I-983 final evaluation.

OPT Reporting

While participating in OPT, you are required to report any changes in your name, address, or employment to Northwest. Once submitted, the DSO will update your SEVIS record. Updates are due within 10 days of any change.

To report your OPT participation or make changes, please complete the online reporting form »   

HELP!

Health & Medical Resources

What to do if you are sick or not feeling well

If you are injured or severely ill (sick), call 911.

The health care system in the United States can be a bit complex.  LewerMark can help you understand the health care system and your health insurance Watch Video.

  1. MyNurse 24/7 Hotline (free) is provided through your LewerMark Student Medical Insurance.  This service allows you to consult with a healthcare professional.

  2. LewerMark Student Insurance provides extensive coverage of doctors and hospitals in our area.

  3. The University Wellness Center, located on campus, can provide you with high quality care.  Open Monday through Friday from I a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Wellness Center Appointment

  4. SSM Health St. Francis Hospital has specialist and walk-in clinic when the University Wellness Center is unavailable.

    Location:
    2016 South Main Street
    Maryville, MO 64468

  5. SSM Health St. Francis Hospital emergency room should only be used in cases of extreme medical emergency.  To request an ambulance, call 911.

 

Tax Information

Student Tax Return

As an international student or scholars in the US you are obligated to file a US tax return during your stay. Understanding the US tax system and filing a tax return is an overwhelming and confusing experience for any student.

That’s why, to make things easier for you, Northwest Missouri State University has teamed up with Sprintax - an online tool specifically designed for international students and scholars which helps you prepare your federal and State return in less than 20 minutes!

Why should you file a Tax return?

  • The most important reason to file a return is that it is a legal requirement of the United States. Failing to file may impact the status of your current visa and make future US visa applications difficult.
  • Avoid penalties – If you miss the April 15th deadline you may face late filing penalties. Filing prior to this date prevents this, so the earlier you file, the better.
  • You may be owed a tax refund – most international students filing a tax return are due a tax refund for overpaid tax. The average refund is $800 - $1000. It’s worth checking if you are due a refund.

Get Started With Sprintax

  1. Register here
  2. Complete each section
  3. Sprintax will prepare your tax return
  4. It will be available for download in your online account.

Still Have Questions?

View our Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Returns View PDF

Traveling home?

Travel

Travel Basics

  • You may travel freely within the U.S. at any time.
  • You may leave the U.S. at any time; however, you may need a visa to enter other countries. Please check with the U.S. Department of State to determine entry requirements for any country you are planning to visit during your travels.
  • If you re-enter the U.S., you must have all necessary documents with you.
  • We recommend that you carry your I-20 and passport with you when you travel.

Documents Needed for International Travel and Re-entry

  • Passport (must be valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry).
  • Valid U.S. visa for your current visa status.
    • Exception: A valid visa is not necessary when returning from Canada, Mexico and most Caribbean islands if you have been gone for less than 30 days.
  • I-20 signed for travel.
    • It is recommended that travel signatures be no more than twelve months old at the time you re-enter the U.S.
    • Travel signatures are valid for only six months for students on OPT.
    • Students can obtain a travel I-20 through the International Student Services Portal.
    • If you are transferring to a new a school and are leaving the country, you must re-enter the U.S. on your new school's I-20.  Contact your new school for instructions.

At the Border

What is an I-94?

  • Your I-94 tracks when you enter and depart the United States. You can print your electronic card by visiting the CPB website and entering your arrival information. Each time you leave the U.S., your electronic record will show your departure, and you will receive a new electronic record upon each entry.

What happens when I cross the border into the U.S.?

  • Have your passport, visa and I-20 ready for the immigration officer.
  • The immigration officer will put a stamp in your passport.
  • The stamp will list your immigration status and "D/S" (duration of status).
  • Officers will take your fingerprints and your photo.

What should I do if I have problems at the border?

  • Ask the border officer to call the International Involvement Center at 660.563.1367. Nights and weekends: Call the University Police Department at 660.562.1254. Tell the police that you need to speak with an International Involvement Center adviser.
  • Ask the border officer for an I-515A, which is a document that allows you into the U.S. for 30 days. If you receive an I-515A, please make an appointment with the International Involvement Center immediately.

Keeping Your Documents Valid

How do I make sure my passport is valid?

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six more months at the time you re-enter the U.S.
  • Contact your country’s embassy or consulate for instructions for renewing your passport.

How do I know my visa is valid?

  • It should list your current visa status.
  • The date should not have expired.
  • You should have additional entries remaining.
    • "M" means that you can enter multiple times in that visa status.

How do I renew my visa?

  • If your visa has expired or you have used all of the entries, you must have it renewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • You may go to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country or another country, you cannot renew it in the United States.

How do I make sure my I-20 is valid for re-entry?

  • Your document should be up to date with current information. Review your I-20 before you travel.
  • Travel signatures should be no older than twelve months old at the time you re-enter the U.S.
  • If you are transferring to a new school, you must re-enter the U.S. on your new school's I-20. Contact your new school for instructions.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm planning to do a grad walk in fall/spring, but I haven't gotten any emails about it.

A checklist is available through the Graduation and Commencement website.

Can I get a letter to invite my parents to graduation?

The IIC no longer processes visa letters for a visitor visa. Applicants for a visitor visa need to show intent to return home during their visa interview.

What are my options to work?

F-1 international students are permitted to work on-campus, up to 20 hours per week, while classes are in session and full-time during break periods. F-1 students are not permitted to work off-campus unless it is through Severe Economic Hardship, Curricular Practical Training, or Optional Practical Training.

How do I order an official transcript?

Transcripts can be ordered in a number of ways through the Registrar's Office.

When do student employees get paid?

The 25th of each month.

How do I join Friends of International Students?

Students can join FIS by completing application.

Where is the IIC located?

The International Involvement Center (IIC) is located on the first floor of the B.D. Owens Library.

How do I apply for scholarships?

Continuing student scholarship applications are available through your CatPAWS account. The scholarship application is available September 1 through February 1.


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