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Maintaining Student Status
International students enrolled at Hope College must maintain a minimum of 15 credits per semester. Students who fall below this minimum requirement must have written permission from the International Student Advisor. Please contact the International Student Advisor immediately for an appointment.
Planning on taking a May/June/Summer class? Please complete the Summer Class Application form and submit it directly to the International Student Advisor.
Visa & Immigration Information
As an international student on either a F-1 or J-1 visa, it is your responsibility to remain in good standing and to maintain your visa status eligibility. You will be registered each semester in SEVIS to document your enrollment at Hope College. Please visit Visa & Immigration for information pertaining to maintaining your visa status, applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) status, etc.
F-1 students are eligible to work only on the Hope College campus. Federal regulations stipulate that you work no more than 20 hours/week while classes are in session, except during vacation periods. The Hope College Student Employment Office can help you find an on-campus job. They will also regulate your hours. The amount of money you earn during the school year is usually enough for books and pocket money.
All international students must obtain a social security number before they are permitted to work on campus. Once you have been accepted for a job, please ask the department to provide you with a letter stating that you have been hired for the position. Present this to the International Student Advisor, who will arrange to take you to the Social Security Office. The requirements for obtaining a social security number for international students are quite specific.
International students may not work or intern off-campus unless the work is associated with Curricular Practical Training (CPT). In order to secure an internship, please work closely with the International Student Advisor, the Office of Career Services, and your academic advisor. All internships must be for credit and approved through the department.
The U.S. tax system may seem confusing to international students. That is because it is confusing. In addition, each country has its own way of regulating taxation. The U.S. tax system may be very different from the system in your home country. For example, in some countries students are not taxed. In the U.S. anyone who earns money must file a tax return. To help you understand the U.S. tax filing procedures, click on this link.
International students pay state tax and, depending upon income, federal tax. The regulations for international students are different than those for U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents. The regulations also vary depending upon the country from which the international student comes. International Education Office will offer a tax-filing workshop early in the spring semester. Links to current regulations and appropriate forms are provided below:
An excellent source of information on this topic is the websites of the University of Texas at Austin. The website is: http://world.utexas.edu/isss/tax/.
Although this is not an official IRS site, the information is reliable, updated each year, and is the reference to which the IRS liaison directs international students. It is clear and has links to all the needed form.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website: http://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm
Hope College has an agreement with a health provider. All students must have health insurance which meets the same standards. See a full explanation of these standards in this link http://www.hope.edu/admin/business/student/insurance.htm.
Michigan State ID/Driver's License
A Michigan Drivers License or Identification Card is often required in order to cash checks, open a bank account, or to buy something with either a check or a credit card. Without one of these documents, you will need to carry your passport with you at all times – which is not recommended. These documents are obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV]. An appointment is recommended. What is needed to obtain one of these identity documents is explained in detail – see Identification Requirements for Obtaining a Michigan Driver's License or State Identification Card in this link: http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,1607,7-127-1627---,00.html
Travel for F-1 and J-1 Students
Travel within the U.S.: Please make sure to carry your original passport and I-20 with you at all times. Note: Make sure you know which route you are taking when you travel through the U.S. – many American students traveling east from Michigan drive through Canada. If this is your route, you must follow the “Travel outside the U.S.” guidelines below.
Travel outside the U.S.: All F-1 and J-1 students traveling to other countries (including Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean) will need to have their I-20 signed by a Designated Student Official (see Visa & Immigration Information). Please remember to plan ahead and set up an appointment to have your I-20 signed. In addition to a valid passport, visa, and I-20, you may also be required to get a visa of the country you plan on visiting.
Please feel free to contact the staff of the Fried International Center at any point to have your questions answered. Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org