The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the computerized system maintained by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) that is used to track students and exchange visitors while they are in the United States. Shenandoah University is required to utilize SEVIS for the initial issuance of the Forms I-20 and DS-2019 as well as reporting changes to students/visitors status.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will audit Shenandoah's compliance with SEVIS and all other immigration requirements. An "on-site" visit is scheduled every two years. Failure to comply with federal regulations could result in the loss of Shenandoah's approval by USCIS to accept and admit international students/scholars.


Eligibility for F-1 Status

Prospective student must first complete the "admissions process" including:

  • Written application from the student for admission to the school;
  • Receipt and evaluation of the applicant's academic credentials and level of English language ability, and confirmation that the applicant meets all the academic standards for admission;
  • Acceptance of the student into a program that constitutes a "full course of study";
  • Assessment of the student's ability to meet all expenses during the course of study, and specifically examination of documentation showing finances for at least the first year of study.

Once the prospective student has been accepted into a "full course of study" and all requirements are met, the admissions office will request issuance of the SEVIS Form I-20. The student is required to have a Form I-20 when applying for an F-1 student visa. The student must also meet the requirements of the U.S. Embassy in the country of his birth and/or country of permanent residence.

Upon the approval and receipt of the F-1 student visa, the student can (along with other documents) enter the U.S. to study.


The F-1 category is available only to students who will be pursuing a "full course of study."

The student in F-1 visa status must:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times;
  • Attend the school the student was authorized to attend;
  • Maintain a full course of study;
  • Apply for extension of stay before expiration of present I-20;
  • Follow proper procedures to continue in F-1 status from one educational level to another;
  • Follow proper procedures to transfer to another school;
  • Limit on-campus employment to 20 hours or less per week while school is in session;
  • Refrain from off-campus employment, including internships, without proper authorization from the Designated School Official (DSO)in the International & Cross-Cultural Center (ICC) and/or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • Report a change of address to the DSO in the ICC within 10 days of any move.

In order to assure that you are complying with these regulations, it is recommended that at the beginning of each semester, you should stop in the ICC to complete and updated personal information form and provide copies of your most recent I-94, passport, I-20 and visa.


Students in F-1 student status must maintain a full course of study throughout his/her education, except in very limited circumstances. An undergraduate full course load is considered to be 12 credit hours, and a graduate full course of study is considered to be 9 credit hours. Only under the criteria listed below may you be considered eligible for study less than full time.

  • If the language transition is too difficult to maintain a full load, in the first semester only;
  • If you are not required to be full time, which may apply only to your final semester;
  • If you have a special medical need;
  • If you were improperly placed in a course without having the requisite requirements to complete the course.

You must schedule an appointment with the ICC advisor to determine if you may be eligible for a reduced course load. You must complete a "Request for a Reduced Course Load Form" along with documentation verifying your circumstances. Do not drop classes. Your request can not be reviewed after classes have already been dropped. Permission to drop below a full-course load must be approved in SEVIS first.


If you have changed or added to your major and wish to include a minor, you may find that your I-20 program end date will expire before you complete your studies. It is important to note that you must extend your I-20 before it expires. If you find that you need to request an extension of your I-20, you must contact the ICC Office and complete the "Request for Extension Form" prior to the expiration date of your current I-20. ICC cannot extend the I-20 in SEVIS after the expiration date of your current I-20. Please also note that under USCIS regulations, we cannot legally extend your I-20 if you have academically failed classes and do not have the number of credits needed for you to graduate.


In order to comply with SEVIS and immigration regulations, students are required to contact the ICC when they first arrive on campus. Our office makes copies of your visa, passport and Form I-20 in addition to paperwork we require to complete your registration in the SEVIS system. As long as you are a student, federal law mandates that the following information must be reported in SEVIS:

  • The date and place of your entry into the U.S.
  • The starting date of classes;
  • Your degree program and field of study
  • The date of your enrollment each semester;
  • Your failure to enroll or continue in classes
  • Any change in name, address or curriculum (i.e. , if you change majors)
  • Any time you fail to maintain status or complete your program as expected;
  • Any time you drop below full-time status;
  • Any time disciplinary action is taken by the school as the result of a criminal at;
  • Date of graduation;
  • The date and reason for your termination of studies.

International Pre-Arrival Form

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Health Information for International students

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Orientation for International Students

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