Visa documents are maintained in the Immigration database known as SEVIS, the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System. ISSS is required to update each student's enrollment each fall and spring semester. Other information such as funding, major, expenses, etc., must also be kept current. This system is overseen by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security.
The visa stamp is, basically, a "ticket" issued by a U.S. consulate, giving an individual permission to request entry into the U.S. to, in our students' cases, obtain an education. The visa stamp can and often does expire; however, an expired visa stamp has no effect on a student's eligibility to be in the U.S. should the student return home for a visit and the visa stamp is expired, a new visa stamp must be applied for at the local U.S. consulate. There is no government office within the U.S. where a visa stamp can be issued.
Basic requirements for F-1 and J-1 statuses (most of ODU's international students are on an F-1 visa):
- Minimum required courseload in the fall and spring semesters (more information for each academic level above)
- Prohibition of off-campus employment without written persmission from ISSS and/or Immigration
- Maintenance of an address overseas to which the student will return once degree is completed
- Maintain "normal progress" in current program (keeping minimum grades)*
*continuation of "normal progress" toward the completion of the current academic program; while Immigration does not require a minimum GPA, repeated class failure would mean that the student is not making normal progress and, therefore, if an extension of the visa document is requested, it would have to be denied.
If the visa status is violated, then the student must either request the reinstatement of his/her visa or leave the U.S. and return on a new visa document.
Professors sometimes contact our office, fearful that a student will be deported; this very rarely happens and only in cases where the students have been in serious violation of Immigration laws. In cases where a student claims that getting a bad grade will result in deportation, we advise the professor that the student must get the grade s/he deserves.