Students, scholars and researchers are eligible to study or work in the United States with various visa types. These visa types have many benefits and restrictions that foreign nationals need to comply with in order to stay in this country. To familiarize yourself with the different policies and interpretations, please visit: www.international.ucf.edu and see the International Policies in the Policy Guide. The most important item to remember is not to advise these individuals without knowing the policies, since providing incorrect advice could result in the termination of their status.
International Affairs and Global Strategies (IAGS) at www.international.ucf.edu actively recruits foreign students to bring diversity and international recognition to the campus. They find the best recruitment tool abroad is developing a systematic feeder program through relationship building with international universities, organizations and students. Faculty members are the most effective in developing these relationships, and are thus encouraged to participate in recruitment activities and establish agreements with universities when traveling abroad. Recruitment activities may include giving presentations, meeting with prospective applicants, and making connections between students/institutions abroad and UCF. Faculty members are also encouraged to provide program information to IAGS recruiters in order to assist the recruitment team in promoting available UCF graduate degree options. IAGS is able to assist faculty by providing resources, recruiting materials and information on establishing agreements with institutions abroad.
For general information about admissions please see International Admissions. This section contains specific information about what happens after the admissions decision has been made and how the appropriate homeland security issues are handled. International Affairs and Global Strategies is responsible for ensuring students are eligible to receive a Form I-20 as part of the UCF international admissions process. Without this form admission is not final and students are unable to apply for a visa. The process of applying and getting a visa approved varies by country and generally takes one week to four months. Most students apply to various institutions and usually accept the first admission they receive to ensure they are able to start a program on time. To stay competitive, faculty responsible for making admissions decisions need to make them as early as possible, but no later than the scheduled admissions deadlines for international students.
February is the best month to admit an international student for the fall semester, and August is the best month to admit an international student for the spring semester. Please enter your admissions recommendation into G-WIS in GradInfo as soon as possible after considering the application and the College of Graduate Studies will send out the admission decision and financial offer letters (if applicable) once the admission recommendation is made. Please keep in mind that international applicants are not admissible to certificate or degree programs that are exclusively online.
Every semester International Affairs and Global Strategies creates a list of admitted students who have incomplete immigration files and forwards the list to the department coordinators. Please use the list to e-mail students encouraging them to submit outstanding immigration documents.
International students tend to be less familiar than domestic students with the U.S. higher education system and often have many questions during the application process. Please make every effort to respond to academic and program related inquiries in a timely manner. For questions on transcript evaluations and English language requirements, please see the Admissions section. If students have immigration related questions, do not hesitate to forward the inquiry to IAGS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once students arrive at UCF, they are required to attend one of many available SEVIS immigration orientations. To obtain the dates for orientations, please view the International Affairs and Global Strategies website or contact email@example.com. When communicating with international students about their arrival date to UCF, note that immigration regulations do not allow students to arrive prior to 30 days before the start of classes. IAGS recommends students arrive two weeks before the start of classes to allow ample time to attend orientations, register for classes and settle in their new homes. Please refer to IAGS Prospective Student FAQs for more information on new student entry procedures.
In addition to the challenges of dealing with cultural adaptation and academic success, international students holding an F-1 or J-1 visa are required to learn and comply with immigration regulations to maintain lawful immigration status. Although program and graduate policies may allow students to engage in certain activities, federal immigration regulations and International Affairs and Global Strategies policies may prevent students from doing so. Failure to comply with regulations, even when students are misadvised by faculty members, can result in serious consequences, such as termination of immigration status.
Faculty members have opportunities to assist international students with adapting to their new environment and reaching greater academic achievement. We encourage you to use IAGS as a resource to help international students with their social and academic adjustment. Additionally, faculty should consult or refer students to IAGS when uncertain that a particular action may violate an immigration regulation and place the student in jeopardy.
Below are the most important immigration regulations students must follow:
- Maintain full-time enrollment during the fall and spring semesters (12 credit hours for undergraduates and 9 for graduates).
- Do not work more than 20 hours on campus during the spring and fall semesters, except when classes are not in session.
- Obtain approval from IAGS to engage in any type of employment outside the UCF campus. This includes internships and volunteer work.
- Maintain valid health insurance at all times.
- Keep information on Form I-20 up to date and keep document valid during entire length of study.
To view more information about policies international students must abide by, please see the International Policies in the Policy Guide.
Employment and Taxation
For a description of policies and regulations, please see the International Policies in the Policy Guide.
All foreign nationals (individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) employed by UCF must meet with IAGS Employment and Taxation before starting work to complete their payroll sign-in procedure. They must also complete the I-9 Form prior to their work start date. Please request international students who will be paid by UCF to make an appointment with the IAGS office as soon as possible after arrival.
Faculty involved with the signing and submission of electronic Personnel Action Forms (ePAFs) for assistantships need to be very mindful of the submission process and deadlines. All financial support documentation is required by August 15 of each year for continuing and August 31 for NEW international graduate assistants. Failure to submit the ePAF within the deadline will prevent the graduate assistant from receiving an assistantship and health insurance for that semester. This can be financially detrimental, particularly to new international students who are overspent from immigration fees, travel/moving expenses, and large housing and utilities security deposits. Please review the International/Non-Resident Alien (NRA) Employment at UCF Human Resources for instructions on the hiring process, or contact International Affairs and Global Strategies at 407-823-2337 and ask to speak to Employment and Taxation. IAGS copies departments on e-mail reminders to UCF employed foreign nationals prior to their I-9 expiration date, which must be active during the length of employment. Please remind employees to update their I-9 form prior to expiration and for the following:
- Current immigration status expires
- Changing immigration status
- Getting a new I-20/DS-2019
- Receiving EAD card
- Applying for permanent residency
- Becoming a U.S. resident
If you or your department is interested in sponsoring a foreign national for an H-1B work visa, please contact IAGS Employment and Taxation for guidance. IAGS works as a liaison with the Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, P.C. law firm to assist with this process.
In addition, if you are deciding to end the relationship with an H-1B employee and/or not renew the employment contract, the department should notify the employee and then send a notification letter to IAGS immediately. The department should consult with the employee as to his or her intention to remain in the United States or return to the home country. If the employee plans to return home, the hiring department should either purchase a ticket or reimburse the employee for the cost. The department should consult with IAGS prior to making any final decisions.