Skip to main content

Tips and Advice

Helpful tips and advice for current international students:

International Student Admissions & Programs

If you violate F-1 visa law, it must be reported to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. To stay in status, you must:

  • Make normal progress in your program of study. Register full-time every fall and spring semester
    • Attend classes everyday
    • Do your classwork so you can make good grades
    • Pay fees on time
      • If you don’t pay by the deadline, you cannot be allowed to attend classes- University Policy
    • If you are not in classes, you are not making normal progress.
  • Report the address where you are living in the U.S. within 10 days of moving.
    • You can report your address change in the ISSS Portal
  • If your address in your home country changes, report the new address directly to a Designated School Official (DSO/ International Student Adviser).
  • Immigration Documents:
    • Your passport cannot expire while you are in the U.S.
    • Your I-20 cannot expire and you must be doing what is reported on your I-20
    • Print your I-94 arrival information from the U.S. Customs and Border protection Website ( after every entry to the U.S.
    • You must have a valid F-1 Visa for entry to the U.S.
      • It is OK if your F-1 visa expires while you are in the U.S.
  • Check your Georgia Southern e-mail every day.
    • It is the official means of communication with students
      • You are responsible for knowing information sent to your Georgia Southern University e-mail 
  • ELP students in F-1 visa status can only work on campus
    • Look for Student Assistant jobs on the Student Employment Center website
    • Ask Career Services  to help you prepare a U.S. style resume and cover letter for the jobs you want to apply for.
    • If offered a job, as the hiring department to prepare a Social Security employment letter on their letter head.
      • Schedule a time to bring that letter to  Tanya Brakhage to have a Social Security number eligibility letter issued to take to SS with the employment letter
  • If you want to apply for a Georgia Driver’s license
    • Take all your immigration documents to the Social Security Administration Office
      • Get a Social Security number denial letter
    • Review the non-citizen driver information posted on the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) website.
      • Collect the required documentation
        • Residency documentation if living on-campus is
          • Letter form Housing
          • Letter from ELP Coordinator
        • Take all that documentation and immigration documents to DDS
  • If you plan to travel outside the U.S. and to come back to the ELP, you must have a Designated School Official (DSO/International Student Adviser) sign your I-20 before you leave.
    • Office of International Programs and Services
      • Tanya Brakhage Veazey Hall, Room 2030
      • Appointments are encouraged to make sure we will be in when you come with your I-20.
        • You can check our Google calendars to see times that are already blocked out.
  • If you plan to continue studying in the U.S. after the ELP,
    • In less than 60 days after the ELP classes end,
      • You must have an I-20 issued or
      • Your SEVIS record transferred to another school
    • If you want to continue study at Georgia Southern University
      • Submit your application early, and
      • Have proper financial documentation prepared
        • Refer to the future international student section of the Office of International Programs and Services website
        • Contact Tanya Brakhage if you have questions about the financial documentation requirements.
    • If you plan to study at a different school in the U.S.
      • Submit all application materials and financial documentation early!
      • You must be official admitted before your SEVIS record can be transferred to a different school
    • If you plan to stop studying in the U.S. and
      • You complete the highest level of the ELP and passed the exit exam,
        • You can stay in the U.S. for 60 days after classes end even if you will not start another program of study- this is the grace period
      • You don’t complete the highest level of the ELP and pass the exist exam.
        • You must make immediate arrangements to leave the U.S. There is no grace period if you don’t successfully complete the program

Last updated: 3/30/2022