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International Students Visas & Responsibilities

Mount St. Mary's University has the approval of the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) to enroll foreign students into its degree programs. An international student wishing to study in the United States must have a non-immigrant F-1 Student Visa.

Step 1: Apply to the Mount

An international student wishing to study in the United States must have a non-immigrant F-1 Student Visa. Applicants must complete the following steps:

  1. Apply to the Mount St. Mary's University degree program of your choice and submit all required materials;

  2. Submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores or other evidence of English language proficiency with program application;

  3. Get accepted – all academic documents and conditions must be reviewed and accepted by program - including language proficiency.

NOTE: An I-20 will not be issued for a conditional or provisional admission to an academic degree program.

Alice Creasman
Emmitsburg & Frederick campuses

Step 2: Obtain the I-20

Additional Mount Documentation

Upon acceptance to the degree program, the international student must submit the following documents to a DSO to obtain the I-20:

  1. a photocopy of passport (personal information and visa pages): your passport must be valid for at least six months after your entry into the United States.
  2. documentation of financial support: you will need to submit a certified bank statement and/or affidavit of support documenting that adequate funds are or will be available for each year of expected enrollment to pay the full educational and living expenses while in the United States.
  3. Complete the International Student Information Form in the student admissions portal

NOTE: If transferring a SEVIS I-20 contact the primary DSO or DSO for your degree program.

Mount issues the I-20

After being accepted to the Mount, the DSO will issue a Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility of Nonimmigrant Student Status. This will be mailed to the international student to be used for obtaining their international F-1 student visa.

accompanying family members

If you have immediate family members (spouse and/or children) who will accompany you, each must be included on your I-20 and must apply for their own F-2 visa. To request for immediate family member(s) to be included you must submit a photocopy of each person's passport, provide documentation certifying your relationship (marriage certificate or child's birth certificate), and provide additional financial support documentation to show you will have adequate funds available to you to support your family as well as your own living expenses and educational program.

Step 3: Get the International F-1 Student Visa Stamp

International students must work with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in order to obtain the international F-1 Student Visa Stamp which is needed to gain entry into the United States.

  1. Student (or delegate) will have to complete the electronic I-901 form and pay the $350 SEVIS fee with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. An electronic form I-797 is then issued as a receipt proving the fee was paid (note: no paper receipt will be issued).
  2. Student completes the electronic DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Application and prints out the confirmation for submission to the U.S. embassy/consulate.(Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 visa in order to study in the USA, but must have a valid I-20 and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee.)
  3. Student makes an appointment with closest US embassy or consulate office for visa interview.
  4. After the embassy grants the visa stamp (it may take four or more days for processing), the student can make travel arrangements for arrival in the U.S. (no sooner than 30 days before the I-20 “beginning” date, and no later than that date).

I-20 Transfers

International students with a previous I-20 record that is being transferred to the Mount do not need a new F-1 Visa stamp in order to attend Mount St. Mary's; the old F-1 Visa stamp in the passport is still valid for travel into the USA (even though a different school is listed) as long as the date has not expired and the international student has maintained status with a current I-20.

Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website for more information about the F-1 Visa and arriving in the U.S.A.

Designated SEVIS Officials

As with all U.S. educational institutions, the Mount is required by federal law to maintain records for such students through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The Primary Designated SEVIS Official (PDSO) is responsible for processing and maintaining international student visa records for all university programs.

Primary Designated SEVIS Official (PDSO)

Alice Creasman
Emmitsburg & Frederick campuses

Additional Designated SEVIS Officials (DSO)

Brandon Rockwell
New Students - Undergraduate Programs (Emmitsburg campus)

Chris Weber
Current Students - Undergraduate Programs (Emmitsburg campus)

Mindy Vollmer
New Students - Graduate and Accelerated Undergraduate Programs (Frederick campus)

Katie Soter
Current Students - Graduate and Accelerated Undergraduate Programs (Frederick campus)

Susie Nield
Seminary and Graduate Programs (Emmitsburg campus)

Amelia Y. Tigner
Seminary and Graduate Programs (Emmitsburg campus)

Maintaining Status with your F-1 Visa

International Students must comply with all USCIS regulations pertaining to your stay in the United States. Failure to do so will cause a student to go "out of status" and may result in the need for your immediate departure from the USQA. In order to maintain status, please review the Office of Homeland Security: maintaining status and complete the following requirements:

  1. Report to the DSO for your degree program at the beginning of each semester (before the end of the first week of classes) - bring your passport and I-20's.

  2. Inform the DSO of any changes to your address/contact information or financial sponsorship (within 10 days of the change).

  3. Maintain a full-time load of courses each semester, as defined by your degree program (speak with the DSO before dropping any classes) and make satisfactory progress towards completing your degree within the time frame specified on your Form I-20.

  4. F-1 students are NOT authorized to work except in very limited circumstances such as an on-campus job or CPT/OPT (speak with your DSO if seeking an on-campus job). F-2 visa holders are NOT authorized to work under any circumstances, although F-2 spouses may study part-time and F-2 children may attend school.

  5. Speak to the DSO about applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) if having an internship is an important part of your degree program. Note: International students may not be employed without the permission/approval of the DSO. Part-time CPT work will not be counted against the time allowed for OPT (see below).

NOTE: Failure to "maintain status" (by not complying with your responsibilities as an international student) could jeopardize the international students future ability to stay in the USA for further study or employment. For further information visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Study in the States website.

Graduation / Leaving the Mount

Graduating and Optional Practical Training

At the beginning of your final semester speak with the DSO about applying for Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is a period of up to one year during which the international student can retain student visa status while working fulltime in the U.S.A. (some conditions apply). International students must also apply for employment authorization (EAD) from USCIS (fee involved). Authorization for OPT is not guaranteed.

Transferring F-1 Sponsorship

If you plan to transfer to another school, inform the DSO before the end of the semester. Upon acceptance at the other school ask the international student advisor/DSO there to contact the DSO at the Mount to request that the SEVIS record be transferred.

Departure from the USA

There is a grace period of 60 days to leave the U.S.A. upon graduation. If an international student withdraws from the Mount and informs the DSO, there is a 15-day grace period to leave the U.S.A. However, an international student who falls out of status, is dismissed, or withdraws without informing the DSO must leave the country immediately.