Jun 21, 2024  
International Student Handbook 
International Student Handbook

International Students

 Who is classified as an International Student?

An international student is an individual who is issued a non-immigrant visa (NIV) to be allowed entry into the United States (US) temporarily:

  • With the primary purpose to study in a degree-seeking program (F-1 visa) and participate in the Student Exchange and Visitors Program (SEVP)

  • With the primary purpose of participating in the Exchange Visitors Program (EVP) sponsored by an organization (e.g., Fulbright) or their government.

  • Whose primary purpose is not study; however, they are authorized to enroll incidental to their primary NIV status.

NOTE: Students who hold US citizenship, naturalization, permanent residence (green card), or are asylees, refugees, or undocumented immigrants are not classified as international students.

F-1 Visas

F-1 visa students 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 the necessary documentation.

J-1 Visas

J-1 visa scholars participate in the “Exchange Visitor Visa,” which is managed under the Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). The goal of EVP is to increase mutual understanding between the US and others through 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 to as “Other Non-immigrant Visa (NIV) Types.” The US government uses the term non-immigrant to refer to foreign nationals admitted into the country for a specific purpose. It issues a temporary NIV visa classification to identify the reason for entry into the US. Please view the NIV Study-Work-Residency Guide  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 the NIV Study-Work-Residency Guide  for more information.

  • Some students may have study (and employment) restrictions, while others are not eligible to study unless they change their visa type (e.g., the B, C, D, and VWP statuses are ineligible to study in the US).

If you are a non-F/J Visa student, it is important to understand that you are responsible for knowing your study guidelines and restrictions to complete 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 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 verify their intended or current visa classification when completing the International Admissions application.

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 21) accompany or later join them in the US.

  • Eligible dependents may remain in the US if the principal visa holder maintains a valid status.

  • For most NIV statuses, 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 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). 

    • Please 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 legal dependents visiting on a J-1 exchange visit. Eligibility for a J-2 visa 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 pay the estimated costs of attending to 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 dependent visa, others do not. Certain restrictions apply depending on the type of dependent visa an individual seeks. Non-F/J students are responsible for knowing the dependent visa eligibility guidelines and the application process.

    • Some 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.

Other Family Members (non-legal dependents)

Family members not considered legal dependents of the primary visa holder who 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 an SEVP-certified school must apply to change to the F-1 Visa if they wish to continue to study or enroll full-time after age 21.

J-2 visa holders:

  • They 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 NIV Study-Work-Residency Guide   to verify if your dependents 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

All students must know the respective staff, faculty, and departments they must contact to be assisted. Please view the following list of the most common points of contact and some of the primary 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