Student during commencement

Regulations

As an international student or scholar, there are specific regulations regarding your travel, work, and academics, and it is important that you are familiar with these requirements so that you can continue to study or work in the United States. If you have any questions, contact our office.

Visas

The U.S. has specific rules and regulations you must follow to obtain your visa. Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa.

F-1 Student Visa

Immigration and Travel

As a student carrying an F-1 student visa, you are already familiar with Form I-20 which you used to apply for your visa. This was issued by Furman and provides proof that you were invited by Furman to come to the United States. When your visa was approved, you received a visa stamp in your passport. It is important that both of these documents remain up-to-date.

Once your visa stamp expires, you can arrange to get a new stamp at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. It’s OK if your visa stamp expires while you are in the U.S. You must have an updated one to enter the U.S. Additionally, you should always apply with your home country’s government to renew your passport at least six months before it expires.

At your port of entry into the U.S., an immigration official also stamped an I-94 Departure Record card and likely stapled it into your passport. This is your proof of arrival in the U.S. and you will be required to surrender it at the airport or border any time you leave the country. If you are only leaving for a vacation, you will receive a new I-94 Departure Record card when you return. Any time you leave the U.S., you must be sure that the travel authorization line on the second page of your Form I-20 has been signed within the last year by someone from the Office for Study Away and International Education and carry with you the four original documents mentioned above. It is also advisable to carry photocopies of all the documents with you. Be sure that our office has copies of your most recent documents.

Maintaining Status

When you arrived in the United States, your immigration documents were marked with a stamp that says “D/S,” an abbreviation for “Duration of Status.” This means that you can legally remain in the U.S. as long as you comply with the terms of your F-1 visa, that is, as long as you maintain status.

In order to assure that we can communicate with you and help you to maintain
status, it is imperative that you keep our office informed with your most recent contact information and that you check your e-mail regularly. Most correspondence from our office will be by e-mail. Federal requirements state that to maintain status, you must:

  • Report to our office within two weeks of the start of classes each term so that you can be registered with the federal government as being on-campus for the current term.
  • Attend the school authorized on your Form I-20.
  • Carry a full course of study and make normal progress towards completion of your degree. If you begin to have academic difficulty in your classes, please see someone in our office immediately so that we can advise you. Don’t withdraw from a class without notifying our office.
  • Refrain from unauthorized work.
  • Maintain health insurance. This requires purchasing Furman’s plan or having an alternate plan approved by Financial Services.
  • Maintain a valid passport (renew at least six months before it will expire)
  • When traveling abroad, always return in proper F-1 status. If your visa will expire before you re-enter the U.S., this will require getting a new visa stamp in your passport.
  • If you move, report a change of address to our office within 10 days of the change
  • Obey all state and federal laws
  • File timely requests with our office for a transfer, withdrawal, program extension, optional practical training, and other benefits.
Health Insurance

Due to the higher cost of health care in the United States, international students, scholars and their accompanying dependents must carry health insurance that meets or exceeds U.S. F-1 or J-1 visa regulations.

If you are an F-1 visa student, you will be automatically enrolled in the EIIA international health insurance program. Learn about your health coverage.

Driver's License

As an international student on an F-1 or J-1 visa, you are eligible to obtain a South Carolina driver’s license. Once you have been in the United States and in active status for 10 days, you can obtain a driver’s license at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

To apply for a driver’s license or learner’s permit, you will need to present the following original documents to the DMV:

  • Passport with unexpired visa
  • Social Security card or letter from Social Security Administration stating you are not allowed to work in the U.S.
  • I-94 card
  • Letter from our office stating you are enrolled at Furman and a resident of Greenville, SC. Letters must be requested 1 week in advance of your visit to the DMV. Submit a request for a letter.

Applicants applying for a driver’s license must also submit a valid driver’s license from their country of origin as proof of driving experience. A qualified translator must also translate a driver’s license unless an International Driving Permit accompanies the license. Examples of a qualified translator include:

  • a professor or instructor at an area college, university or high school who is authorized to teach a specific language
  • a person from a company or corporation who is authorized to translate corporate documents by the company
  • a translator certified to do translations professionally

Applicants who cannot show proof of driving experience must first obtain a beginner’s permit and hold it for 180 days before applying for a driver’s license.

Driver's License Letter Request

Please complete this form one week in advance of when you will need the letter. The letter will be mailed to your Furman Personal Mail Box.

Social Security Number

A social security number is a nine-digit identification number used by the United States Government for employment and taxing purposes. You will only need to receive a social security number if you have been offered a paid, on-campus position. Until you receive this number, Furman will not be able to process any payments to you.

You must appear in person at a Social Security Administration Building to apply for this number. You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Passport with unexpired visa
  • I-94 card
  • Original I-20 or DS-2019
  • Application for a Social Security Card
  • Letter from Student Employment stating that you have been offered an on-campus, paid position. You must request this letter from Student Employment at least one week prior to your trip to the Social Security Administration Building.
  • A letter from the Student Activities office verifying your enrollment and visa status at Furman. Letters should be requested 1 week in advance of your trip to the Social Security Office.

At the beginning of each semester, our office will offer a few planned trips to the Social Security Administration Building. You should block off at least two hours to participate in one of these trips.

Social Security Letter Request

Congratulations on getting a job at Furman! Please complete this form and we will schedule you for the next available Social Security Administration trip.

J-1 Student and Scholar Visa

Immigration and Travel

As a student or scholar carrying a J-1 visa, you are already familiar with the Form DS-2019 which you used to apply for your visa. This was issued by Furman and provides proof that you were invited by Furman to come to the United States. When your visa was approved, you received a visa stamp in your passport. It is important that both the visa stamp and passport stay up-to-date. Once your visa stamp expires, you can arrange to get a new stamp at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. It is OK if your visa stamp expires while you are in the U.S. You must have an updated one to enter the country. Additionally, you should always apply with your home country’s government to renew your passport at least six months before it expires.

At your port of entry into the U.S., an immigration official also stamped a white I-94 Departure Record card and likely stapled that into your passport. This is your proof of arrival in the U.S. and you will be required to surrender it at the airport or border any time you leave the country. If you are only leaving for a vacation from school, you will receive a new I-94 Departure Record card when you return. Any time you leave the U.S., you must be sure that the travel authorization line on the front page of your Form DS-2019 has been signed within the last six months by someone from our office. You must also carry with you the four original documents mentioned above. It is advisable to carry photocopies of all the documents with you. Be sure that our office has copies of your most recent documents.

Maintaining Status

When you arrived in the United States, your immigration documents were marked with a stamp that says “D/S,” an abbreviation for “Duration of Status.” This means that you can legally remain in the U.S. as long as you comply with the terms of your J-1 visa, that is, as long as you maintain status. In order to assure that we can communicate with you and help you to maintain status, it is imperative that you keep our office informed with your most recent contact information and that you check your e-mail regularly. Most correspondence from our office will be by e-mail. Federal requirements state that to maintain status, you must:

  • Report to our office within two weeks of your program start date listed on your Form DS-2019 so that you can be registered with the federal government as complying with visa regulations.
  • Engage in activities consistent with your J-1 visa category. Students must carry a full load of classes and scholars or professors must research and/or teach.
  • Refrain from unauthorized work.
  • Maintain health insurance. This requires purchasing Furman’s plan or having an alternate plan approved by Financial Services
  • Maintain a valid passport (renew at least six months before it will expire) and I-94 card.
  • When traveling abroad, always return in proper J-1 status. If your visa will expire before you re-enter the U.S., this will require getting a new visa stamp in your passport.
  • If you move, report a change of address to our office within 10 days of the change.
  • Obey all state and federal laws.
  • File timely requests with our office for program extension and other benefits.
Health Insurance

For students or scholars carrying a J-1 visa, three options exist:

  • Enroll in the VISIT international health insurance plan. This price varies depending on the total time spent in the United States.
  • If you are a Language House Assistant, you’ll automatically be enrolled in the VISIT international health insurance plan as part of your contract.
  • If you have health insurance that meets or exceeds J-1 international insurance requirements, you can waive the VISIT health insurance plan. Send proof of coverage to our office prior to arrival, and complete our insurance waiver form. Download the insurance waiver form as a PDF.
Driver's License

As an international student on an F-1 or J-1 visa, you are eligible to obtain a South Carolina driver’s license. Once you have been in the United States and in active status for 10 days, you can obtain a driver’s license at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

To apply for a driver’s license or learner’s permit, you will need to present the following original documents to the DMV:

  • Passport with unexpired visa
  • Social Security card or letter from Social Security Administration stating you are not allowed to work in the U.S.
  • I-94 card
  • Letter from our office stating you are enrolled at Furman and a resident of Greenville, SC. Letters must be requested 1 week in advance of your visit to the DMV. Submit a request for a letter.

Applicants applying for a driver’s license must also submit a valid driver’s license from their country of origin as proof of driving experience. A qualified translator must also translate a driver’s license unless an International Driving Permit accompanies the license. Examples of a qualified translator include:

  • a professor or instructor at an area college, university or high school who is authorized to teach a specific language
  • a person from a company or corporation who is authorized to translate corporate documents by the company
  • a translator certified to do translations professionally

Applicants who cannot show proof of driving experience must first obtain a beginner’s permit and hold it for 180 days before applying for a driver’s license.

Driver's License Letter Request

Please complete this form one week in advance of when you will need the letter. The letter will be mailed to your Furman Personal Mail Box.

Social Security Number

A social security number is a nine-digit identification number used by the United States Government for employment and taxing purposes. You will only need to receive a social security number if you have been offered a paid, on-campus position. Until you receive this number, Furman will not be able to process any payments to you.

You must appear in person at a Social Security Administration Building to apply for this number. You will need to bring the following documents with you:

  • Passport with unexpired visa
  • I-94 card
  • Original I-20 or DS-2019
  • Application for a Social Security Card
  • Letter from Student Employment stating that you have been offered an on-campus, paid position. You must request this letter from Student Employment at least one week prior to your trip to the Social Security Administration Building.
  • A letter from the Student Activities office verifying your enrollment and visa status at Furman. Letters should be requested 1 week in advance of your trip to the Social Security Office.

At the beginning of each semester, our office will offer a few planned trips to the Social Security Administration Building. You should block off at least two hours to participate in one of these trips.

Social Security Letter Request

Congratulations on getting a job at Furman! Please complete this form and we will schedule you for the next available Social Security Administration trip.

Students standing outside for group photo

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