International Students Maintaining Legal Status

All international students studying in the United States are subject to the requirements of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is an Internet-based, electronic data collection system that allows schools and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exchange data on the visa status of international students. It is a student’s responsibility to know and comply with all visa regulations regarding international students. Upon arrival at UW–Madison, all international students attend a mandatory orientation from International Student Services (ISS) that educates new international students regarding these regulations. It is imperative students understand and comply with these regulations. Consequences of non-compliance are serious and may result in loss of status and inability to remain in the U.S. International students are encouraged to seek advice from ISS whenever they are in doubt about their status.

International students should keep I-20 or DS-2019 forms with their passport. They will need to present these documents to ISS if they wish to travel outside the U.S. and later return to UW–Madison.

International students should contact ISS if they are a currently enrolled UW–Madison graduate student and wish to add a second master’s program, continue from a master’s to a doctoral degree or are planning to complete a degree in the current term; if they or their dependent have a change of formal name or address; or if they wish to drop below full-time enrollment (8 credits, no audits). Permission from ISS to drop below full-time enrollment does NOT exempt an international student from meeting the enrollment requirement determined by a Teaching Assistantship (TA), Project Assistantship (PA), Research Assistantship (RA), fellowship, traineeship, or dissertator status. If international students plan to transfer from UW–Madison to another institution within the U.S., they should contact the new institution first for transfer procedures.

Certain visa regulations may allow students to be employed part-time. Students holding an F or J visa are permitted to engage in no more than 20 hours of compensated employment per week during the academic year. TA, PA and RA appointments are restricted to no more than 50% for international students. Fellowship and Traineeship appointments are not considered to be compensated employment for VISA purposes. Any off campus employment should only be undertaken after consultation with ISS.

For further information, contact International Student Services.

See Addition/Change of Program, Plan, or Named OptionEnrollment RequirementsLeave of AbsenceMaximum Levels of AppointmentsProject or Program Assistant (PA)Research Assistant (RA)Teaching Assistant (TA)