Maintain your immigration status

Full time enrollment: In compliance with the United States Citizenship, Immigration and Naturalization Service, (USCIS), Undergraduate international students are required to carry no fewer than 12 credit hours each semester and have two semesters to achieve a 2.00 grade point average. Graduate international students are required to carry no fewer than 9 credit hours each semester and have one semester to achieve the appropriate grade point average. For that reason, students must have the written approval of the Director of International Student and Scholar Services before adding, dropping, or changing classes. Failure to meet these guidelines may result in dismissal from Grand Valley State University and USCIS will be notified that the student is out of status.


Change of Address: 

Federal Requirements: United States immigration law requires the reporting of a change of address within 10 days of the move, even if it is changing apartments within the same complex. 

Reporting Change of Address: Grand Valley students must report their change of address in four ways:

  1. To the US Postal Service 
  2. On Grand Valleys myBanner 
  3. In an email to Kate Stoetzner to report to SEVIS
  4. In the USCIS immigration form AR-11AR-11 Instructions 

Travel Signatures: Any student wishing to leave the country for either travel or vacation must have their I-20 or DS 2019 endorsed by the Designated School Official. Please allow a minimum of 2 days for this signature. It is the responsibility of the student to make sure that their documents have this signature and each signature is good for one year from the indicated date. There will not be problems for the student to leave the country, but without the signature, re-entry may not be granted. Students travelling to Canada or Mexico are encouraged to have their documents signed within 6 months of travel. If you are interested in visiting Canada and/or Mexico, you should visit the Canadian and Mexican embassy websites before traveling. Be sure to have Kate Stoetzner's contact information while traveling. 

Travel advice from Immigration.

Work Authorization:

Please view these slides for information! Presentation

On Campus Employment: F-1 and J-1 students may work on campus, for the university, for 20 hours a week during the academic year and 40 hours a week during breaks. Employment may be found at You will need to complete an I-9 We recommend that you begin looking for positions early. You should inquire at the Student Employment Office as well as any office or department that you are interested in working at for application instructions. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT): work authorization for F-1 students while enrolled at GVSU. CPT must be required for your program or degree and an integral part of the program. 

CPT Overview and Application  Link may be found here for online portal.

CPT Advisor Approval Form

CPT PowerPoint Presentation

Optional Practical Training (OPT): work authorization for F-1 students after graduation. Students are eligible to apply for OPT the semester that they will graduate. The Padnos International Center hosts an OPT Fair biannually in September and January. 


OPT Overview

OPT Extension Overview 

USCIS Link to I-765

USCIS Link to G-1145

Academic Training (AT): work authorization for J-1 students after program completion. Some J-1 students may be eligible for AT after their program ends. Students should make an appointment in their last semester with Kate Stoetzner to discuss eligibility.

Social Security Numbers:  Students must be in the United States 10 working days before applying for a Social Security number. You must bring: I-20 or DS-2019 Passport Visa I-94 Letters from PIC and a completed Application The application should be filled out in blue ink and must be printed legibly. 

Process for Applying for a Social Security Number 

Social Security-Map 

SS App-Instructions

Taxes: All F-1 and J-1 students are required to complete taxes by April 15th, even if they did not work. PIC provides two tax sessions with tax consultants prior to the deadline. All information permitted by law to be given out by the university can be found here.

Health Insurance Information: Health care is very expensive in the United states. That is why all GVSU international students are required to have health insurance to cover major medical expenses during their stay in the United States. GVSU partners with Ascension Services to provide health coverage.  Details on the plan, as well as the waiver process, may be found here.

Insurance rates: 

The cost for Ascension insurance is $1430.64 and will be billed to your student account in three equal installments of $476.88. 

Information on GVSUs Campus Health Center 


Page last modified November 17, 2017