Frequently Asked Questions
Current International Students
Q: I plan to travel during school breaks. What should I take with me?
You will need to bring your I-20 with a current travel signature located on the second page of your I-20, , visa, and passport. Each signature on your I-20 is valid for one year. It is your responsibility to ensure that your signature does not expire before traveling. Bring your I-20 to an International Advisor (DSO) in the International Student Services Department (ISS) to sign if the signature will expire during the break. There will be designated I-20 signing days during each semester for the travel signature. Take these items with you with your carry-on items. Do not pack them.
Q: I am not able to finish my program by the completion date noted on my I-20. What should I do?
If you are not able to finish your degree program by the end of the date noted on your I-20, you can request an extension of your program. Contact Dawn Turner for assistance. There has to be a legitimate legally acceptable reason that you cannot complete your studies.
Q: I moved. Do you need my new location?
For any type of relocation, even if you moved to another residence hall, contact an International Advisor/DSO so they can update your information on your form I-20.
Q: I have changed my major. Do I need a new I-20?
Yes, you will have to notify Dawn Turner if there is a change in your major or minor. You will then receive an updated I-20. Do not discard any old I-20 forms or documents.
Q: I will be graduating soon. How can I receive authorization for employment after I graduate?
You should begin the process of applying for employment authorization at least 3 months prior to your graduation date. You must submit your employment authorization application prior to graduation; however, you may request that employment begin up to 60 days after the final date of your studies.
Q: Is it possible for me to take classes part-time for a semester?
Students with an F-1 visa are required to be full-time students. This means you must take at least 12 credit hours per semester. Only in very limited circumstances, you can take fewer classes than full-time status requires. You must receive prior approval before dropping below full-time status or you will be considered out of status. See Dawn Turner if you are considering dropping below full-time status so your case can be evaluated.
Q: Is health insurance required while I am a student in F-1 status?
Yes, North Carolina Wesleyan University requires that all international students carry health insurance throughout their education here.
Q: How will the Department of ISS assist me with maintaining my status as an F-1 student?
The Dept. of ISS will have international advising sessions for all status related policies. Request, Research and Response is our strategy. There will be status specific seminars to keep you informed about CPT and OPT.
Q: What is the form I-94 and how can I print it?
Form I-94 is the DHS arrival/departure record issued to aliens who are admitted to the U.S., who are adjusting status while in the U.S. or extending their stay, among other uses. A CBP officer generally attaches the I-94 to the non-immigrant visitor’s passport upon U.S. entry. The visitor must exit the U.S. on or before the departure date stamped on the I-94. Students can now print their electronic version of their I-94. Search: I-94, Get Most recent, add information requested just as it appears on your passport, select print. Make a copy for your files and send a scanned version to Suzanne Hening.
Q: What documents do I need to keep in my file for my records?
- The official acceptance/scholarship letters that you received from NCWC
- All current and past I-20 forms
- Copies of I-94 form
- Copy of social security card
- Copy of your CFR
- Receipt from paying your I-901 fee
- Any copies of official transcripts
Q: Can I take online classes?
F-1 students have regulations regarding online classes. You may take 1 online class per semester to count toward your full course of study.
Q: Can I take classes part time?
As an F-1 student, you are responsible for maintaining a full course load of at least 12 credit hours per semester. There are medical and academic exceptions to reduce those credits but a reduced course load (RCL) must be discussed beforehand and approved by your PDSO or DSO.
****Do not drop below 12 credit hours without discussing this first with your PDSO or DSO, as this could negatively affect your status.
Q: May I work off-campus?
F-1 students are not permitted to work off campus according to regulations. See the Dept. of ISS to inquire about CPT and OPT employment opportunities.
Q: What happens if my Visa expires?
You may remain in the US even if your visa expires as long as you are maintaining your F-1 status. If you leave the country on an expired visa, you will need a new on to re-enter the US.
Q: Do I need to file taxes?
In general, F-1 students who have been in the US for no more than five calendar years are exempt from Social Security (also known as FICA) and Medicare taxes. You should be sure to bring this to the attention of your employer because many employers are not familiar with this provision of the tax laws. Students in F-1 status are subject to all other taxes that may apply: federal, state and local.
Prospective International Students
Q: What do I need to do to apply for an F1 visa in my country?
Students will have to contact the US embassy in their city and get an appointment. Prior to your appointment you will need to pay the SEVIS fee. Make sure you have all the required documentation before your appointment. (I-20 form, Wesleyan’s acceptance letters, passport, photos, SEVIS receipt, non-immigrant visa application DS-160, and documentation of your financial ability to support yourself). For more details review your embassy’s website.
Q: I have been accepted into North Carolina Wesleyan University. What should I bring with me when I come?
Besides your personal items and clothing we would recommend you to bring; hygiene products (shampoo, soap, towel, deodorant, tooth brush and toothpaste, etc.), travel and additional spending money, and a charger adapter/converter.
Q: I will be staying in a residence hall on campus. What do I need to furnish my room?
Most residence halls on campus house two students per room. Rooms come equipped with a single bed with a Twin Extra-Long mattress, dresser, desk, chair, and closet for each student. Students will need to provide bedding and decorations. We recommend you order bedding and towels before you arrive and have it shipped to the campus.
Q: Will I be able to work while I am a student?
International students are only allowed to work on campus. They can work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session, and up to 29 hours per week during school breaks. These hours are allocated per each department. If a student wishes to have on-campus employment, it is the student’s responsibility to look for and find a job.
Q: What should I expect when I go through immigration inspection upon arrival?
You will be asked to show your passport, visa, I-20 form and immigration forms (handed on the airplane). It is important that you fill out the forms in a way that your name matches the name written on your visa. It is possible that you may be asked to show the receipt of the SEVIS fee as well as financial documents to prove that you have the means to pay for your education. Make sure all required documents are readily available while going through immigration. Do not pack these items in a suitcase you will be checking!
Q: What airport should I arrive at and will I have a ride to the school?
You will want to make arrangements to fly into RDU (Raleigh-Durham International) Airport. It is very important that you send your flight information to Suzanne Hening as soon as you book your flight. She will provide details about what to do when you arrive.
Q: What should I do when I arrive on campus?
A Worldwide Welcome Orientation Team leader or ISS staff will instruct you regarding where to go to meet the ISS team and formally check-in. All communication will be through Microsoft Teams.
Soon after you arrive, you will need to submit all of your official transcripts (in English).