International Student Services

International Student & Scholar Office - ISSO



ISSO is pleased to provide you with essential visa, immigration, social, cultural, and academic information and support services that will assist you in achieving success at Lehman College. Let’s get started.

Become Familiar with U. S. College, Visa, and Immigration

Concepts, Relationships, Requirements and Resources

Who are International Students and Scholars?
What is an F-1/J-1 Visa & Immigration Status?
How Does ISSO Assists Students & Scholars?
How Do I Obtain & Maintain F-1/J-1 Non-Immigrant Status?
What is the Student’s & Scholar’s Visa/Status Relationship with Lehman College & U.S. Government Agencies?
Terms International Students Need to Know
Campus Resource/Contact Information Frequently Used by International Students

Who are International Students & Scholars?

What is an F-1/J-1 Visa & Immigration Status?

The F-1/J-1 Visa & Immigration Status are the two different types of U.S. visa and immigration categories needed for a foreign national (non-immigrant) to legally enter the U.S. to study, teach or conduct research at a U.S. college on a short term basis, and return home upon degree, certificate, and other educational program completion.

How ISSO Assists Students & Scholars with the F-1/J-1 Visa & Immigration Process

ISSO assists:

•International Students in obtaining the F-1 Visa to enter the U.S. and the F-1 Immigration Status
to temporarily live in the U.S. to:

◊ earn a Lehman College Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree ◊
◊ study English as a Second Language on-campus at the School of Continuing Education ◊

•International Visitors (students, scholars, professors, researchers) in obtaining & maintaining J-1 visa and J-1 immigration status to:
◊ study, teach, conduct research on a provisional basis at Lehman College from a few weeks to several years◊

◊ fulfill academic and cultural objectives as a part of an exchange agreement between
Lehman College and the International Visitor’s home institution ◊

◊ demonstrate university, government and/or institutional funding to cover tuition/fees,
program activities, and living expenses, including mandatory health insurance


How to Obtain F-1/J-1 Visa & Non-Immigrant Status at Lehman College

Step 1: Apply for Admissions to one of the following Academic Programs:

  • Undergraduate-Bachelor’s Degree - Phone: 718-960-8713, visit: Shuster Hall Room 161 Undergraduate Admissions
  • Graduate-Master’s Degree - Phone: 718-960-8702, visit: Shuster Hall Room 150 Graduate Admissions
  • Continuing Education & Professional Studies, English as a Second Language Program - Phone: 718-960-6914, visit: Carman Hall Room 128

Step 2: Receive admissions letter of acceptance from the academic program that you applied to

Step 3: Prospective F-1 International Students apply for the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility Form via the International Student & Scholar Office (ISSO)

            Prospective J-1 Students apply for Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility Form via an exchange agreement between Lehman College and current institution

            Transfer students curently in F-1/J-1 status at a U.S. institution apply for the I-20 Certificate of Eligibility Form to continue maintenance of their F-1/J-1 status via the International Student & Scholar Office (ISSO)

Step 4: Wait 1- 2 weeks for ISSO to Review I-20/DS-2019 Application. ISSO will contact student if additional documentation is approved.

Step 5: Receive I-20/DS-2019, once application is approved

Step 6: Pay I-901 SEVIS Fee & Print SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt 

Step 7: Make on-line Consulate Appointment to obtain F-1 or J-1 Visa

Step 8: Meet with U.S. Consular Officer to for interview and issuance of F-1 or J-1 Visa

Step 9: Obtain official U.S Entry. Arrive at U.S Port of Entry by. Present Passport, Visa & I-20/DS-2019 to U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers. CBP authorize temporary entry/stay in the U.S.

Step 10: Report to International Student & Scholar Office within 5-6 days of U.S. arrival to validate F-1/J-1 Non-Immigrant Status, AND participate in a mandatory orientation session on your F-1 & J-1 regulations and obligations

For further information regarding F-1 and J-1 Visa Non-Immigrant Status, email: or call 718-960-7274 for an appointment with an International Student Advisor


Maintaining Your F-1/J-1 Non-Immigrant Status

One of the most important responsibilities you will have during your stay at Lehman College is to maintain your F-1/J-1 non-immigrant status. This section will assist you in fulfilling this requirement.

Remember, F-1/J-1 Immigration Status is often referred to as F-1/J-1 Non-Immigrant Status or simply as Status. Maintaining your status is commoly referred to as “being in status”. Being in status means that you have fulfilled all of the U.S. F-1/J-1 regulations, requirements, and procedures.

If you violate any of the F/J regulations, you could lose your status; be required to leave the U.S., and denied re-entry. Therefore, it’s very important that you meet with your International Student Advisor on a regular basis to review your F-1 or J-1 regulations and obligations.

Also, keep in mind that immigration laws often change. Your advisor will keep you informed. Please check your Lehman email for notifications from the International Student & Scholar Office on a daily basis. In addition, you should also check The Department of Homeland Security website periodically as well.


#1: Remain a Full-time Student

You must remain a full-time student each fall and spring semester. Failure to enroll as a full-time student is a violation of your immigration status.

To be full-time, an undergraduate student must take at least 12 class credits and a graduate student must take at least 9 credits during both the fall and spring semesters.

Check with the International Student Advisor frequently to ensure you are satisfying your full time status requirement.

#2: Maintain Good Grades and Meet Objectives

Get Good Grades and make steady progress towards completing your degree certificate, educational, cultural, exchange program objectives

#3: Keep Your Documents Valid

To maintain your immigration status, you must make sure that your passport and I-20/DS-2019 remain valid all the time. Your visa needs to be valid each time you enter the U.S.

Your I-20 or DS-2019 will include the date you are expected to complete your program of studies in the U.S. This date is listed in the third box of the I-20 and in Section 3 of the DS-2019.  Once your completion date passes, your I-20 or DS-2019 will expire and you may not be able to extend your stay. Please make sure that you do not let this happen. See your Intenational Student Advisor at least 3 times a semester to ensure that you will complete your studies on time.

To make sure you keep your passport valid at all times, contact your country’s consulate in New York City or your embassy in Washington D.C. for renewal procedures. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the day you plan to re-enter the U.S. You cannot enter the U.S. on the F-1 or J-1 visa using a passport that is less than six months from expiration.

You will always need to maintain a valid F or J visa in order to re-enter the U.S. Check the expiration date on your visa to see when you will need to renew it. Remember, you can only renew it at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. You cannot obtain or renew the visa in the U.S. Know that if your visa expires while you are in the U.S., you do not have to renew it until you leave the U.S. for a vacation in your home country.

If you have a valid visa in an expired passport, always present both the old and new passport to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer when you re-enter the U.S.

#3: Obtain Travel Authorization to Re-enter the U.S.

Meet with the International Student Advisor before you leave the U.S. to obtain the advisor’s travel authorization to re-enter the U.S.

If you plan on traveling outside the U.S. during your studies, you must have your I-20 or DS-2019 signed by your International Student Advisor before you leave. The advisor’s travel signature is only valid for six months.

If you do not have a current signature on your I-20 or DS-2019, you will have difficulty re-entering the U.S. You should visit your International Student Advisor with your passport that has a valid F-1 visa stamp and I-20 or DS-2019, at least 30 days before traveling.

#4: Keep Your Advisor Informed

Changes in Personal Information: Notify the International Student Advisor and the college’s Registrar’s Office within 10 days after obtaining your new address. You must also notify your advisor if there are any changes in your name, email, phone number, U.S. and overseas addresses, citizenship, degree level, major, sources of funding or anticipated graduation date. Your advisor will make the necessary updates to your records in SEVIS. Failure to report changes in your personal information within 10 days of receiving it can place you in danger of losing your student immigration status.

Departure from College: Contact the International Student Advisor if you plan to leave the college temporarily or permanently. Whether you plan to study abroad, take a leave of absence, withdraw, graduate early, or transfer to another school, you must notify the advisor before leaving.

Missing Documents: Contact the International Student Advisor immediately if any of your documents are stolen, lost, damaged, or misplaced. Your Advisor will instruct you on how to obtain replacement documents. Note: You must always report your lost passport to the police and obtain a police report.

#5: Do Not Work Without Authorization

International students are only permitted to work outside the college with permission from the International Student Advisor and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Working without authorization is a deportable offense. Do not accept any employment unless you have written work authorization. For more information on how to obtain legal employment, come to the International Student & Scholar Office in Shuster Hall, room 210.


International Student Visa & Immigration Status Relationship with Lehman College & U.S. Government Agencies


U.S. College, Visa & Immigration Terms Every International Student Needs to Know

Academic Calendar A calendar that defines a school's academic semesters, course registration schedule, tuition payment deadlines, school closing and special educational & student support events
Academic Honesty Ethical consideration for students, pertaining to the avoidance of plagiarism
Academic Training (AT) Also known as AT; employment option available for international exchange visitors (those with a J-1 visa)
Associate’s Degree A two-year degree
Bachelor of Arts (BA) A four-year degree in a non-scientific field
Bachelor of Science (BS) A four-year degree in a scientific field

A section/area of a city

Bursar A college official in charge of collecting tuition and fee payments
Bursar Office The office at a college that is responsible for the collection of tuition and fees

The location of a university's classrooms, offices and student organizations

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) The U.S. Government bureau dealing with citizenship and immigration issues
Credit (noun) Units measuring the number of hours of class one has during a semester (degrees require a certain number of accumulated credits)
Credit Card A magnetic card given to a customer by a bank or other business for the purpose of making purchases on credit (deferred payment)
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Curricular Practical Training; A type of F-1 student employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum such as internship
Debit Card A magnetic card that enables the holder to withdraw money or to have the cost of purchases charged directly to the holder’s bank account
Degree Requirements The actual courses and other academic stipulations needed to obtain a specific degree
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. government agency concerned with immigration and national security
Designated School Official (DSO) The official at a school who works with the USCIS to assist/advise F-1 students and ensure institutional compliance
Doctoral Degree The highest degree that can be held in a field; usually obtained only after first receiving a bachelor's degree and master's degree
Doctoral Student A student pursuing the highest academic degree, one that is higher that a Master's Degree
DS-2019 The U.S. Department of State document issued to Exchange Visitor Program participants
Duration of Status (D/S)

The length of of time it takes an indvidual student to complete their degree/certificate/prorgam

Experiential Learning Activites Activities not directly related to a student's classes that generally take place outside of the classroom, such as membership in clubs, involvement in community activities, athletics & leadership development opportunities
Extracurricular Activities Activities not directly related to a student's classes, such as membership in clubs, involvement in community activities, & hobbies
F-1 Student Visa/Immigration Status The type of U.S. visa required for international students (non-U.S. citizens) to enter and study in the U.S.
F-2 Visa

The visa given to the spouse or dependent child of an F-1 student

Freshman A student who has completed 27 or fewer credit hours (usually someone in his/her first year of university study)
Full-Time Student A student who is taking at least 12 credits (usually four classes)
Grading System A scale used to translate letter grades in to point values. The grading scale used at most U.S. colleges is: A 4.0 96-100, A- 3.7 90-95, B+ 3.2 87-89, B 3.0 83-86, B- 2.7 80-82, C+ 2.2 77-79
Graduate Degree An advanced degree beyond the bachelor's Degree (for example a Master's or Ph.D)
Graduate Student A person participating in post-graduate study (for example, an MA, MS, doctoral, or Ph.D. program)
I-20 A government form institutions use to certify to the U.S. government that an international student is eligible for F-1 student status
I-94 An electronic form given to visitors when they enter the U.S. Students are required to download it on-line after entering the U.S. Contains an "arrival number" that is used to monitor the visitor's entrance and departure from the country
Internship A paid or unpaid job position held by a student to gain working experience and/or class credits
J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa/Immigration Status The type of U.S. visa required for international exchange visitors to enter and study in the U.S.
J-2 Visa The visa given to the spouse or dependent child of an J-1 student to enter the U.S.
Leave of Absence A break in attendance from school or work
Liberal Arts A college or university curriculum aimed at imparting general knowledge and developing general intellectual capacities, in contrast to a professional, vocational, or technical curriculum
Master’s Degree An advanced degree awarded after obtaining the Bachelor's Degree and upon completion of a one to three year program
Master’s Student A student pursuing a master's degree
Metro Card A magnetic card one can purchase to ride on subways or buses in New York City
Off-Campus Outside of a school's primary location
Office of the Registrar The university office responsible for student enrollment/registration
On-Campus Within a school's primary location
Optional Practical Training (OPT) Optional Practical Training; a program that allows international students to work for up to one year after graduating from an American university
Register The act of selecting and officially signing up for specific classes
Responsible Officer (RO) A college official authorized by the U.S. Department of State to oversee the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program; issue the DS 2019, advise Exchange Visitors on obtaining and maintaining J-1 and J-2 U.S. Visa and Immigration status
Semester A 15-18 week period of time constituting half of an academic year
Senior A student who has completed 90 or more credit hours (usually someone in his/her fourth or last year of university study)
SEVIS- Student Exchange Visitor Information System A U.S. Department of Homeland Security internet database, used to collect information, issue I-20 and DS 2019 forms, request employment authorization and monitor all other visa and immigration requirements relative to F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants and their dependents
Social Security Number A nine digit number assigned by the U.S. Social Security Administration primarily to track individuals for taxation purposes. In recent years, it has been used quite frequently as an identification number
Status The condition of a person or thing in the eyes of the law (in this tutorial, refers to a person's student status in the U.S.)
Transfer Student A student who changes colleges/universities prior to completing his or her degree
Undergraduate Degree The degree received after completing a two year college program (Associate Degree) or a four year college program (Bachelor's Degree)
Undergraduate Student A college student seeking an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree
U.S. Citizenship The quality of being a citizen of the United States
U.S. Department of State The foreign affairs agency of the U.S. Government. Oversees the issuance of U.S. Visas at U.S. Embassies and Consulates in foreign countries. Governs the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program
U.S. Higher Education System U.S. universities and colleges


Contact Information
Shuster Hall, Room 210
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Bronx, NY 10468
Attn: Director/Coordinator
T: 718-960-7274
F: 718-960-8243

Office Hours
Walk-In: MONDAY, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY 10:30AM-1:00PM & 2:00PM-4:30PM
*By appointment: THURSDAY & FRIDAY  10:00AM-1:00PM & 2:00PM-4:30PM

Last modified: May 26, 2016

  • Division of Student Affairs
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