Office of Global Engagement

Telephone: 706-542-2900

Immigration Services advisors offer important and timely immigration advice to international students studying at UGA. Do not hesitate to contact our office with questions. Immigration Services Advisors are here to assist you with maintaining legal status.

  • Compass Portal Login +

    Compass is the University of Georgia's portal for benefit applications relating to international students, scholars, faculty, and staff at the University of Georgia. Students should use Compass to request changes and updates regarding their immigration status.

    Compass

  • Maintaining Status +

    International students in the U.S. must comply with all U.S. regulations governing their stay. This can be complex and somewhat frustrating, but the Immigration Services advisors are happy to help. Click on the links below for more detailed information on maintaining legal student status in the U.S.

  • F-1 Employment +

    International students who are maintaining lawful student immigration status in the U.S., and who are maintaining normal progress toward their degree completion are eligible for certain employment benefits in the U.S. Employment is any work performed or services provided (including self-employment) in exchange for money or other benefits or compensation (i.e. free room and board in exchange for babysitting).

    For F-1 students, the main types of employment authorization include:

    On-Campus employment

    On-campus employment does not require prior permission. It is limited to 20 hours per week or less while enrolled for full-time courses.

    On-Campus Employment Information

    Curricular Practical Training

    Curricular Practical Training (CPT), employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum.

    CPT application Process

    1. Online workshop completion: If you wish to apply for CPT, you must complete the online workshop available at:  Online CPT Workshop . Please review the workshop all the way to the end and fill out the form certifying your completion. This workshop is required before you can meet with an advisor to discuss CPT, even during walk-in hours.
       
    2. CPT application completion: You must also complete the CPT application in the Compass Portal . After you submit your form, your academic advisor will also be asked to submit a form through iStart.
       
    3. Immigration Services Advisor Review: A Student Advisor will review the complete application and notify the student when a decision is made. If the application is approved, a new I-20 with the CPT recommendation will be processed and placed at the front desk for student pick up.
      CPT Information Sheet
      CPT Online Workshop

    Optional Practical Training

    There are three types of Optional Practical Training (OPT) authorization

    • Pre-Completion OPT
    • Post-Completion OPT
    • STEM OPT Extension

    OPT Application Process

    1. Online Workshop Completion: Students applying for Pre- Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a STEM OPT Extension must complete a mandatory online workshop before applying.

      OPT Workshop
      STEM OPT Extension Workshop
       
    2. CompassPortal Request: Students applying for Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a STEM OPT Extension must complete request forms in Compass.
       
    3. Optional In-Person Meeting: After completing steps 1 and 2, students are encouraged to meet with an advisor to review the application and discus any last-minute questions. Consulting an advisor is not mandatory, but encouraged.

    Additional F-1 Student Employment Resources

    Employer Reporting Requirement

    ALL students on Post-Completion OPT MUST report their employer information to UGA. Please click on the link below "Report my OPT Employment" to do so. Failure to report your employer information can result in a loss of legal status.

    Economic Hardship Employment

    F-1 students who experience severe, unforeseen economic necessity may apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for off-campus work authorization. Students should make an appointment with an Immigration Services advisor to discuss this type of work authorization.

  • J-1 Employment +

    International Students in J-1 status, and their dependents in J-2 status, are eligible for certain Employment Benefits in the U.S.  The processes for applying for work permission are different for the J-1 and J-2 visa holders, however.  The J-1 applies for work permission to the International Student, Scholar, and Immigration Services Office at UGA, while the J-2 dependent must apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office of the U.S. government.

    On-campus employment

    Students maintaining J-1 status are eligible to work on campus. Work performed on the school premises is "on-campus" employment as long as the employment provides direct services to students.

    J-1 On-Campus Employment Information

    Academic Training

    Academic Training (AT) is designed to allow J-1 Students the opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off-campus.

    Academic Training Information Sheet

  • Travel +

    In order to leave the U.S. and re-enter in valid student status, students should plan carefully.

    Travel Signatures


    F-1 and J-1 students and their dependents must have a signature from an Immigration Services advisor on the form I-20 or DS-2019 before they depart the U.S. To obtain the signature, please visit the Office of Global Engagement Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-5:00PM or join us for Travel Signature Day on Reading Day each academic term.

    Valid Travel Documents

    Students returning to enroll in classes need the following documents to re-enter the U.S.:

    • Passport issued by student’s country of citizenship with an expiration date of no less than 6 months in the future
    • F-1 or J-1 visa obtained at an U.S. Consulate or Embassy located outside the U.S. & valid at the time of re-entry to the U.S.
    • Unexpired I-20 or DS-20 signed for travel
    • Students my find it helpful to travel with an Enrollment Verification statement issued by the UGA Registrar. Students may request this document in ATHENA.

    Departing the U.S. After Degree Completion

    Students that have completed all degree requirements may find it problematic to travel outside the U.S. if their intent is to re-enter using the F-1 or J-1 visa.  We encourage students to speak with an Immigration Services Advisor before traveling.

    Students with pending or approved Optional Practical Training (OPT) applications should contact an Immigration Services Advisor for guidance before leaving the United States.

    Automatic Revalidation

    Students may travel to some locations for a short visit without renewing a new student visa. This is called “Automatic Revalidation” There are several conditions for this option to be possible. Please contact your Immigration Services Advisor with specific questions.

    Automatic Revalidation Information

  • Extending, Transferring, Changing Immigration Documents +

    Changes in a student’s academic program may require changes to the immigration documents.

    Change of Address

    Immigration Services must report all address changes in a student’s SEVIS record. Students will need to log into the Athena account and change the address immediately. Once this is done, the Athena system will notify our office and the update will be recorded in SEVIS.

    Extension of Academic Program

    Students in F-1 or J-1 student status, and their F-2 and J-2 dependents, may be able to receive extension of their immigration status, if something changes about the academic program, or more time is needed to complete the academic program.  For an extension, the student must have a valid, compelling academic reason for needing more time to complete the program, and this reason or reasons must be confirmed by the academic department or supervising faculty member.  The student must submit new proof of adequate funding to the immigration advisor in the Immigration Services office at UGA in order to receive an immigration program extension.  If approved, your immigration advisor at UGA will issue a new DS-2019 form, or I-20 form, with a new program end date. 

    Note that this DOES NOT give you a new F-1 or J-1 "visa" in your passport.  If you depart the U.S after receiving an immigration program extension, and your previous F or J visa has expired, you will need to apply for and receive a new visa before returning to the United States.

    Changing Degree Level or Major

    Upon admission to a new degree program, students should request an updated Form I-20 or DS-2019.  This request is to be made within iStart.uga.edu.

    Change of Educational Level or Major Information

    Transferring to a Different School in the United States

    International students in F or J status are eligible to transfer their immigration records in SEVIS to a new U.S. school.  This is a separate process form the academic transfer, and involves sending the new U.S. school your active SEVIS F or J record. Students should request the SEVIS transfer in iStart.uga.edu

  • Change of Immigration Status +

    Students who are currently inside the U.S. and who wish to gain a different immigration status in the United States have two choices:

    1. Depart the United States and apply for the appropriate visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, and then apply for entry to the U.S. using the visa
    2. If currently inside the U.S., apply for a “Change of Status” from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) without departing the U.S.

    Immigration Advisors can assist students with general questions regarding the “Change of Status” application within the U.S. but seeking outside legal counsel is advised.

    Change of Status Information

  • Loss of Immigration Status +

    International student may sometimes find it difficult to maintain their immigration status. The U.S. government has put into place a procedure for international students to apply for "Reinstatement" to lawful student status.  This process is different for F-1 and J-1 students.  J-1 Students should contact Immigration Services for additional information.

    F-1 Student Reinstatement Options

  • Additional Information for International Students +