Visa, SEVIS, and Other Documents

Visa and SEVIS

In consultation with WCU faculty and administration, the Office of International Programs and Services (IPS) determines the visa and employment options for international students, scholars, visitors, and employees, which, in turn, permits the greatest benefit and flexibility to WCU and to the individual. IPS works with federal and state government agencies, international organizations, U.S. and foreign consular posts, and other entities to obtain appropriate visa documentation for admission to the U.S., authorization for employment, and maintenance of legal status for the WCU international population.

In doing so, IPS uses the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to generate and issue the Visa documents needed to enter and study in the USA.

If you call the main office number, 828.227.7494, you can access the following Staff members during regular office hours, 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., on normal business days:

Name Title Phone
Kevin Childers Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) 828.227.3455
     
     


All entering international students must participate in the week-long orientation program conducted by IPS.


GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Department of State:
The Department of State is a federal executive cabinet department that is responsible for implementing United States foreign policy.
http://www.state.gov/. The Department of State is responsible for approving exchange visitor programs, issuing J visas and tracking all J visa holders while in the United States.

F-1 visa:
This visa status applies to nonimmigrant (a person who is a citizen of a foreign country and intends to return there) foreign students who are granted permission to enter the United States to pursue a full-time course of study at an approved college, university or other academic institution. Those individuals entering the United States via an F-1 visa are issued a SEVIS Form I-20 by the sponsoring academic institution.

F-2 visa:
This visa status applies to nonimmigrant ( a person who is a citizen of a foreign country and intends to return there) foreign nationals who are either a spouse or a qualifying child of an F-1 nonimmigrant.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”): 
The INS no longer exists. The former INS was divided to three separate agencies that are now a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The three agencies are:

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for the administration of immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing immigration services policies and priorities.

  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation’s border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security. ICE has investigative and enforcement responsibilities for federal immigration laws, customs laws, and air security laws.

  • US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for protecting the US borders. CBP has inspection responsibilities for US Customs, US Immigration, Animal & Plant Health Inspection and US Border Patrol.

J-1 visa:
This visa status applies to nonimmigrant (a person who is a citizen of a foreign country and intends to return there) foreign nationals who have been selected by a sponsor designated by the Department of State to participate in an exchange visitor program in the United States. Examples of J-1 visa holders at the University include professors, research scholars, short-term scholars & specialists. Those individuals entering the United States via a J-1 visa are issued a Form DS-2019 by the sponsoring exchange program.

J-2 visa:
This visa status applies to nonimmigrant ( a person who is a citizen of a foreign country and intends to return there) foreign nationals who are either a spouse or a qualifying child of an J-2 nonimmigrant.

PDSO:
The Primary Designated School Official is the person authorized by the University and approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to ensure the University’s SEVIS compliance with its approved foreign student program. The PDSO, along with the DSOs, is authorized to sign and approve F-1 visa related immigration documents on behalf of the University.

A DSO is a Designated School Official. A DSO is a person who is authorized by the University and is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to access SEVIS and manage the University’s foreign student program, under the supervision of the PDSO.

RO:
The Responsible Officer is the person authorized by the University and approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to ensure the University’s SEVIS compliance with its approved exchange visitor program. The RO, along with the AROs, is authorized to sign and approve J-visa related immigration documents on behalf of the University.

An ARO is an Alternate Responsible Officer. An ARO is a person who is authorized by the University and is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program to access SEVIS and manage the University’s exchange visitors program, under the supervision of the RO.

SEVP:
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program is the federal agency responsible for managing the SEVIS. SEVP is a unit of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security.


Obtaining a NC Driver's License from NCDMV

Obtaining a Social Security Card

Immigration and Employment Forms



Policy # 100
International Travel and International Visitors

Administering Office: Provost's Office
Approved by Executive Council: August 25, 2008
Posted: September 4, 2008

POLICY

Western Carolina University (WCU) is committed to the development of excellent international educational opportunities for its students, and collaborative international instructional/research opportunities for faculty. Additionally, WCU is becoming increasingly involved in regional economic development initiatives that have global impact. It is WCU’s policy to encourage and facilitate these international activities while at the same time ensuring compliance with various federal laws pertaining to export controls, state regulations and university procedures regarding public health/pandemics, and the Institute of International Education “open door” reporting requirements.

See entire Policy

 

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