Jun 05, 2023  
2022-2023 International Student Handbook 
2022-2023 International Student Handbook

About International Students

International Student Services

International students are an important and integral part of the University. With small classes and many opportunities for involvement on campus, international students have the chance to intimately learn about American culture. International Student Services, better known as “ISS” helps international students with information about immigration issues, provides support for academic and cultural adjustment, and offers opportunities for involvement in the University community.

ISS is the liaison between international students and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and helps students understand how to maintain their visa status, obtain permission to work or get practical training or transfer from one institution to another.

ISS comprises several university departments collaborating to ensure international students are supported and acclimated to the university. We understand the different things international students must learn and adjust to and are here to help navigate the processes and regulations required for studying in the United States (US).

 What is an International Student?

An international student is a foreign national who chooses to undertake all or part of their tertiary education in a country other than their own and move to that country to study.

  • Florida Polytechnic University defines an international student as anyone enrolled under a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) type.

  • If you are not a US citizen, permanent resident, refugee, or asylee, you are classified as an international student at Florida Poly.

Foreign nationals seeking to study in the US must obtain a student visa.
  • The type of visa you apply for depends on the type of education you want to pursue in the US. 

  • Most US schools require international students to have an F-1 visa for academic studies or a J-1 visa if they want to work/study based on the exchange and visitor program (EVP). 

Important: M-student visas are for nonacademic or vocational studies; the M visa is ineligible to study at Florida Poly and will not be referenced hereafter.

F-1 Visas

The most common student visa type enables foreign nationals to participate in the Student and Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP) and attend a SEVP-accredited college, a US university, or an English language institute.

  • Prospective F-1 students must complete the International Admissions application and verify their intent to study under the F-1 Visa. 

  • The DSO issues Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status (I-20), which is required to apply for the F-1 Visa; this includes F-2 visa dependents (spouse or children under the age of 21) that will be accompanying them to the US.

  • The I-20 documents your study plan and financial source of funds; it will be issued only after you have been accepted, paid the required enrollment deposit to the university, and have submitted all required documentation.

J-1 Visas

Commonly known as an “Exchange Visitor Visa” and managed under the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) to increase mutual understanding between the US and other countries using educational and cultural exchanges. 

  • Exchange visitors accomplish this by teaching, lecturing, consulting, or conducting research for educational institutions.
    • For more information on the different J-1 visa categories, view the EVP Category Chart.
  • Prospective students who meet the criteria for the J-1 Visa must first apply through a sponsoring organization (i.e., IIE or AMIDEAST) that will assist them with the process steps to apply to Florida Poly.

  • The sponsoring organization will issue Form DS-2019, “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor,” and be responsible for administering and monitoring students.

Other Visa Types (Non-F-1/J-1 Visas) 

Visa types other than the F-1/J-1 Visa are commonly referred as “Other Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) Types.” The US government uses the term nonimmigrant to refer to foreign nationals admitted into the country for a specific purpose and issues a temporary NIV visa classification to identify the reason for entry into the US. Please view NIV Study Guidelines  for more information.

  • Once the purpose of the Visa is fulfilled, they must either change their status to remain in the US or depart the country. 

If you do not hold or are not applying for the F or J visa, you are still considered an international student, but you will not have the same study guidelines or benefits as F/J Visa students. 

  • Students holding another NIV type attending school incidental to their primary purpose for being in the US may participate in part or full-time study (per the immigration regulations for their NIV type). Please view NIV Study Guidelines  for more information.

  • Some students may have specific study (and employment) restrictions, while others are not eligible to study without changing their visa type (e.g., the B-2 Visa is not eligible to study in the US).

If you are a non-F/J Visa student, it is important to understand that you are responsible for being aware of your study (and employment) guidelines and restrictions and that you cannot exceed your stay in the US for the purpose of completing a program or a degree. 

  • This means you will not be administered or monitored by a DSO or sponsoring organization (as F/J students are) and that you are solely responsible for maintaining the primary purpose of your visa classification while studying in the US.

For more additional details on NIV regulations visit:

Visa Types Not Allowed to Study in the US

The following visa types are ineligible to study at Florida Poly. If you hold one of the following visa types, you must apply to change your visa status to gain eligibility to study in a degree-seeking program at Florida Poly. 

Regardless of NIV status, all prospective applicants should apply, however, they must ensure to verify their intended or current visa classification when completing the application for International Admissions.

Additional Change of Status Resources:

Bringing Dependents to the US

International students newly admitted or currently enrolled at Florida Poly may be eligible to have a legal dependent (spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21) accompany or later join them in the US.

  • Eligible dependents may remain in the US as long as the principal visa holder maintains valid status.

  • Children dependents lose eligibility once they reach the age of 21 and must either return to their home country or change their visa status for eligibility to remain in the US. 

F-2 Dependent Visa

The F-2 Visa is issued to the legal dependents of F-1 students. 

  • F-1 students will be issued the F-2 Dependent I-20 after they submit the F-1 Dependent Request and:

    • Account for an additional $3000 USD per dependent and provide evidence of additional financial liquid assets (e.g., bank statement or certified letter of funds).

    • Submit a copy of passport(s) for all dependent(s). 

    • Submit a copy of the marriage license/certificate for their spouse.

    • Submit a copy of the birth certificate(s) for children.
    • Submit a color copy of the F-2 Visa after it is awarded and the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record after they arrive in the US.

  • F-2 Visa holders are ineligible to work in the US.

J-2 Dependent Visa

The J-2 Visa is issued to the legal dependents J-1 exchange visitors. 

  • A J-2 visa’s eligibility depends on the specific exchange program offered to the J-1 student by a sponsor organization.
    • The J-1 categories of au pair, camp counselor, secondary school student, and summer work travel do not permit J-2 Visas.
  • The application process for the J-2 dependent Visa is the same as the J-1 visa process.

    • The sponsoring organization must approve the accompaniment of the spouse and children, who will each be issued Form DS-2019 (for dependents).

  • In most cases, a J-2 Visa holder can seek employment.

    • To work, a J-2 Visa holder must obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    • J-1 students cannot use the income earned by a J-2 dependent as evidence of financial ability to cover estimated costs of attendance of dependent care. 

    • J-1 student must contact their sponsoring organization regarding the dependent employment application process.

Other Dependent Visa Types 

  • While many NIV classifications have their own dependent Visa, others do not. Certain restrictions apply depending on the type of dependent Visa an individual is seeking. Non-F/J students are responsible for being aware of the dependent visa eligibility guidelines and the application process.

    • Some of these require all family members to apply for the same visa class, such as E-2 and C-2 visas.

    • Others such as the D-1 Visa do not allow travel for dependents at all.

Other Family Members (non-legal dependents)

Family members not considered legal dependents of the primary visa holder that wish to visit must apply for a B-1 or B-2 “Visitor’s” Visa to gain entry to the US.

  • For more information on immigration regulations for the B-1/B-2 Visa, please refer to the travel.state.gov website.

Can Dependents Study?

F-2 visa holders are permitted to study in the US for:

  • Kindergarten - 12th grade

  • Non-credit continuing education classes (e.g., art class, community class, part-time language class)

  • Part-time study only at a SEVP-certified school at the university level (non-degree and degree-seeking). 

    • F-2 dependents studying at a SEVP-certified school must apply to change to the F-1 Visa if they wish to continue to study or enroll full-time after reaching the age of 21.

J-2 visa holders:

  • Are permitted to study part or full-time at any education level in the US.

Other NIV dependents seeking to study in the US may be eligible to study and must:

  • View the US Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) Guide: Nonimmigrants: Who Can Study?
    • This guide will confirm if your dependent(s) are eligible to study and the specific guidelines they must adhere to.

Important Points of Contact

It is important for all students to be aware of the respective staff, faculty, and departments they must contact, so they may be assisted proficiently. Please view the following list of the most common points of contact and some of the main services they provide (listed in alphabetical order):

Financial Aid
  • Assist students with financial aid and scholarship application process.
Human Resources
  • Student On-Campus Employment Opportunities
International Admissions
  • How to Apply

  • Admission Requirements

International Relations
  • Study Abroad

  • Faculty Exchange Program

  • Student and Scholars Exchange Program

Payroll and Tax Services
  • Provides access to foreign national tax preparation software
    • Note: Does not provide tax advice.
Student Affairs/Development
  • Academic Support

  • Career Services/Development

  • Health and Disability Services

  • Housing and Dining

  • International Student Programs and Activities

  • Student Recreation 

  • University Clubs & Events

Student Business Services
  • Student Billing and Payments

  • Processes disbursements and refunds

University Registrar
  • Degree Audits

  • Graduation

  • International Student Compliance

  • Program Changes

  • Records & Transcripts

  • Registration Requirements

  • Transfer Credit