Feb 25, 2024  
International Student Handbook 
    
International Student Handbook

Designated School Official (DSO)


 What is a DSO?

Designated school officials (DSOs) are employees dedicated to helping F-1 students maintain their nonimmigrant status at their school maintain their nonimmigrant status

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Student Exchange and Visitors Program (SEVP) requires all SEVP‑certified schools to appoint DSOs, who are responsible for communicating with SEVP, updating F-1 student records, and ensuring F-1 students maintain their status by providing advice, assisting with interpreting immigration regulations, and essential forms. 

DSOs must authorize or recommend many actions F-1 students can take; without this authorization or recommendation, students risk violating the terms of their visa, which can result in the termination of their status and the ineligibility to continue to study.

PDSO vs. DSO

  • The Principal DSO (PDSO) maintains university compliance and SEVP certification and oversees high-level compliance issues and concerns. 

  • The DSO provides F-1 visa and immigration regulations advising to ensure students maintain their status to study in the US; they also issue the Form I-20, monitor and report student compliance (and non-compliance), and provide resources to students in other nonimmigrant categories who are seeking to, or currently studying at Florida Poly. 

F-1 students are required to speak with a DSO before:

What about students who do not hold an F-1 visa?

Students studying at Florida Poly under non-F-1 visa categories not seeking to apply for the F-1 visa are responsible for ensuring they are aware of the study restrictions applicable to their visa type.

DSOs are unauthorized to provide advice on immigration regulations to students studying under other visa types (non-F-1 students). Still, they can provide general information and direct students to the appropriate points of contact where they may obtain direct assistance.


 University Appointed DSOs

The Office of the University Registrar includes the university-appointed PDSO (Principal DSO) and two DSOS that monitor the SEVIS database and Student Exchange Visitors Program (SEVP).  

Please view the appointed university PDSO and DSOs to confirm their primary roles, which will assist you with scheduling an appointment with the primary point of contact for your specific process, request, or general inquiry. 


Roquiah S. Francis (she/her/hers)| International Student Compliance Specialist & DSO

Primary Point of Contact for:
  • F-1 Pre-Arrival Onboarding (Initial Form I-20)

  • F-1 Post-Arrival Onboarding

  • On-Campus Employment

  • Tax Compliance General Information

  • SEVIS Transfers (In or Out)

  • SEVIS Registration

  • Undergraduate Student Appointments for:

    • ​General Immigration Advising 

    • Reduced Course Load (RCL) Requests

    • CPT Requests

    • OPT Requests

    • STEM OPT Requests

    • Travel Signatures

    • University Withdrawals


Jennifer Kent (she/her/hers) | Assistant Registrar & DSO

Jennifer Kent

Primary Point of Contact for:
  • Degree Audits

  • Graduation Applications

  • Program of Study Changes

  • Program Extension Requests

  • Graduate Student Appointments for:

    • ​General Immigration Advising

    • Reduced Course Load (RCL) Requests

    • CPT Requests

    • OPT Requests

    • STEM OPT Requests

    • Travel Signatures

    • University Withdrawals


Andrew Konapelsky (he/him/his)| University Registrar & PDSO

 Andrew Konapelsky

Point of Contact for:
  • University Compliance with SEVP and Immigration Regulations
    • University SEVP I-17 Certification
  • High-Level University Immigration Compliance Matters and Reporting (i.e., this does not encompass student immigration advising)

 DSO APPOINTMENTS:

  • Walk-in availability can be limited, to allow the required time, preparation, and research of immigration regulations (as applicable to services requested), it is recommended to schedule a DSO appointment.

  • You may request a virtual appointment in the notes section if you do not wish to meet in person. If this is not noted, your appointment will be scheduled for an in-person meeting with a DSO. 

    • As there are two DSOs, it is important to note the IST Room number when scheduling your appointment so you are at the correct location on the day of your appointment.

    • DSOs have primary processes they manage; although both DSOs can assist all students as needed, we encourage students to schedule their appointments with the primary DSO applicable to their request or immigration advising needs (please see chart below)

    • Please view the booking calendar: Schedule DSO Appointment.


Important to Remember: P/DSOs must adhere to US immigration regulations regarding F-1 students and the SEVP. They are not academic advisers or counselors. They may provide immigration advising and are responsible for reporting if students are maintaining their status. Any DSO requests for information or additional items should always be delivered promptly, and all guidelines verified should be adhered to. Not adhering to the guidance from a DSO or not providing what is requested can affect F-1 students adversely and result in the termination of their F-1 status.