Frequently asked questions and answers


Q I'm a new student, when can I get my I-20 or IAP-66 form?

If you are a new student, you will get your I-20 after the Graduate School approves your acceptance and your file is complete, including official TOEFL scores and verification of sufficient funds.

Q How much money do I have to have before I can get an I-20 or IAP-66 form?

You have to have enough funds to cover your tuition and fees, room and board, and miscellaneous expenses for at least the first year of your studies. See financial requirements for details.

Q If I change majors, do I need a new I-20 or IAP-66?

Yes, you do. Your form always has to reflect the program in which you are currently enrolled. This means, that you have to get a new form every time you change majors or academic levels.

Q I lost my I-20 form. What should I do?

You need to request a new form from the International Service office from your university. Processing time is approximately 2-3 days.

Q I lost my passport and I-94 card. Can you replace it?

We cannot replace your passport or I-94. You will need to contact the embassy of your country in Washington, D.C. to report the loss and request a new passport. To replace your I-94 card, you will have to file form I-102 and send it to INS. The filing fee is $65.00.

Q Can I work on campus?

Yes, you can, if you are a J-1 or F-1 student. On campus employment is incidental to your status, but you cannot work more than 20 hours when school is in session. You may work up to 40 hours during the summer holiday.

Q I lived in Virginia for over two years. Can I pay in-state tuition?

No, you can't. As long as you are in a "non-resident alien" status (F-1, J-1, F-2, J-2, etc), by definition you cannot be a resident of Virginia, thus you don't qualify for in-state tuition.

Q I have made more than $4,000 on wages. Can my out-of-state fee be waived?

No, it cannot. You have to make the $4,000 during the academic year (fall and spring) on assistantship to qualify for the out-of-state fee waiver.

Q I was on assistantship last year. Can my out-of-state fee be waived for this year?

No. Your out-of-state fee can be waived only during the same academic year when you earn the $4,000 on assistantship.

Q Can my parents be included in my I-20 or IAP-66 form?

No. Only spouses and dependent children can be added to your form

Q Can my wife/husband work?

Spouses in F-2 status cannot work under any circumstances. Spouses in J-2 status may work with INS permission.

Q How long does it take to process the Optional Practical Training?

Generally it takes 6-8 weeks. However, in the peek periods in December and May it may take as long as 12 weeks to receive authorization.

Q When can apply for Optional Practical Training?

You can apply as early as a 120 days before you graduate, but latest within 60 days after your graduation. However, your practical training has to begin latest within 60 days of your graduation, so if you postpone the application until the last minute, you will loose practical training time while you are waiting for the approval.

Q My visa expired. Do I have to renew it?

You have to renew it only if and when you travel outside the United States. See visa and travel information for further details.

Q Can I renew my visa without leaving the United States?

No.Visas can be obtained and renewed only outside the U.S.

Q I have a valid visa in my old passport, but I have a new passport. Can I still use my visa?

Yes, you can use your valid visa in your old passport. When you travel, you will have to carry both your new passport, and the old one with the visa in it. If you have to return your old passport when you get a new one, you will lose your visa, and have to apply for a new one before you return to the U.S.