International Student Information
The Office of Intercultural Student Success (ISS) strives to provide the best services, engaging programs and events, and exceptional student support for international students. If you have any questions including maintaining your non-immigrant status, getting involved, adjusting to American culture, or any other academic/non-academic issues you may be facing, please feel free to visit our office, or better yet, make an appointment with one of the staff members in our office.
While ISS has official responsibilities mandated and authorized by the federal government, it is important to note that it is not part of the Department of Homeland Security or any other government agency. Our staff is employed by UW-Superior and is dedicated to the mission of assisting our international students and exchange visitors to successfully achieve their academic goals in the U.S.
Jump down to:
- Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- Curricular Practical Training
- Optional Practical Training
- STEMP OPT Extension
- Off-Campus Employment: Severe Economic Hardship
- Maintaining your Status
- I-20 Extension
- Transferring Out
- Drivers License or State ID
- Health Care and Insurance
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) was implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect, maintain, and manage information about all foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. SEVIS tracks and monitors schools and programs, students, exchange visitors, and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation in the U.S. education system. SEVIS requires all schools and related academic institutions to regularly submit and update student information electronically in a central database that can be accessed by the government.
SEVIS Reporting Requirements
U.S. federal law and regulations require schools to update and maintain the SEVIS records of nonimmigrant students in F and J visa categories. The Office of International programs manages SEVIS reports for the university. It is extremely important to keep your email, telephone and address updated in E-Hive so that we can contact you in urgent situations where your SEVIS record may be in jeopardy.
Employment is work performed in exchange for compensation. Compensation can include money, room and board, and/or other significant benefits. Before accepting any kind of employment, be sure it is allowed by the F-1 regulations. You must maintain F-1 status to be eligible for the employment benefit; maintaining status means that you register for classes full-time (except for approved exceptions) and that you remain in good academic standing with a valid I-20.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study. CPT has to be “integral to your established curriculum,” as allowed by the immigration rules. CPT can be paid or unpaid. ISS authorizes CPT.
Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study.
STEM OPT Extension
Students in their 12-month OPT authorization period, with a qualifying STEM degree and working for an E-Verify registered employer, may apply for an extension of their OPT. STEM OPT refers to the 24-month extension of post-completion optional practical training (OPT).
To complete the STEM extension request, sign into your Terra Dotta Portal and apply.
Off-Campus Employment: Severe Economic Hardship
On occasion, students in F-1 status experience a sudden and unexpected change in their financial situation. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may authorize off-campus employment to help alleviate the situation. In order to qualify for off-campus work, you must have been in F-1 status for at least nine months. You must also be able to document the nature of your financial problem so that the USCIS can decide if off-campus work permission is warranted. If permission is granted, you may still only work 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during school vacations. Your total employment from all sources cannot exceed 20 hours during the academic year. Please make an appointment with an EDI coordinator for ISS if you think that you qualify for off-campus work permission due to economic hardship.
For more information on the federal regulations for off-campus employment, please visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/employment
Maintaining your Status
While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F student status. Your status relates to the purpose, or reason for why you want to come to the United States. The U.S. Department of State issues your visa based on your intended purpose. If the Department of State issues you an F student visa, this means that you are coming to the United States to study. You should not take any action that detracts from that purpose. Maintaining your status means:
- Fulfilling the purpose for why the Department of State issued your visa.
- Following the regulations associated with that purpose.
To maintain legal visa status and your eligibility to continue studying at the UWS, you must abide by the following immigration regulations:
In order to obtain a program extension, you must show that you have continually maintained status and that the extension is needed for compelling academic or medical reasons, such as a change of major or research topic, unexpected research problems, or a documented illness. Delays in completing your program caused by academic probation or suspension are not acceptable reasons for program extension approval [8 CFR § 214.2 (f) (7) (iii)].
If your program end date has expired or you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for a program extension, it will be necessary to file for reinstatement to F-1 status with USCIS, for which you will have to pay a substantial fee. In addition, failure to apply for an extension of stay in a timely manner is a violation of F-1 regulations, which can carry heavy penalties.
Submit this request by signing into your Terra Dotta Portal to request an extension of your I-20 at least 30 days before your current I-20 expires.
Admission to a new school does not by itself authorize an international student in F-1 status to begin studying full-time at the new school.
You must request your current school to transfer/release your F-1 SEVIS record to your new school before you can begin full-time studies there. The U.S. government calls this process a “SEVIS transfer.” (It is different from an “academic transfer.”)
Please sign into your Terra Dotta Portal and apply.
I-20 and Travel Signature
If you are travelling within the U.S., including it’s territories such as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, you do not need an updated travel signature. For travel to the rest of the world:
- If you are a full-time student who will continue studying after you return to the USA, the signature at the bottom of page 2 of your current I-20 (if you are on an F-1 visa) must be less than one year old (we recommend 6 months) when you re-enter the United States.
If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT), the signature at the bottom of page 2 of your current I-20 must be less than six months old on the day you re-enter the USA.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months into the future at all times. You can renew your passport in your home country or at a foreign consulate in the U.S.
You must have a valid F-1 student visa to reenter the U.S. Your visa can expire while you are inside the U.S. You cannot renew your F-1 or J-1 visa inside the U.S. If your visa expires during your travel, you must renew it prior to returning to the U.S.
Drivers License or State ID
To apply for a Wisconsin State ID Card or Driver License you must go to a state Department of Motor Vehicles. Be advised that the requirements for getting an ID/Driver License are very strict. If you do not have the proper documents, listed below, you will not be able to apply.
Individuals can find the local DMV at:
Superior Service Center
1701 N. 4th Street
Superior, WI 54880
Disclaimer: The information contained on this page and related links is intended for UW-Superior international students only. It is provided as a general guide, and is not intended to substitute for advice from a qualified tax professional. We cannot assume responsibility for use of this information by other people or entities. Thank you for your understanding.
Please note: If you arrived in the U.S. for the first time on or after January 1 of this year, you do not have to send in any tax forms this year.
A further note: The information in this page applies to F-1 international students who are considered to be non-resident aliens for tax purposes’. Generally speaking, students who have been in the US for more than all or parts of 5 years are considered to be ‘resident aliens for tax purposes’ and must file different tax forms. If you are in doubt about your status for tax purposes, do the IRS “Substantial Presence Test“.
Most international students who have been in the US for 5 or fewer years are considered ‘non-resident aliens’ for tax purposes’, and may have to complete one or more of the following tax forms:
Form 8843. All international students must file this form, even if you had no employment in the previous calendar year. See sample form here. Note: if you use GLACIER, this form is included with your federal form.
Federal tax form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ.
If you earned more than $0.01 last year or received Foundation scholarships, you must file a federal tax return. University of Wisconsin-Superior provides free access to tax preparation software, GLACIER, to help you prepare Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ. Attend a tax information session if you need guidance.
Wisconsin Form 1NPR, for non-residents of WI. If you had Wisconsin State taxes withheld from your pay, and want a refund, you must file a state tax form. This is a fillable form that can be e-filed for FREE. See the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website for details and instructions.
You must also file a state tax form if you earned more than $2000 last year, even if your wages were exempt from federal taxes.
Minnesota Schedule M1NR, for non-residents of MN. It must be filed with Minnesota Form M1, Individual Income Tax Form
The tax reciprocity agreement between Wisconsin and Minnesota ended in 2010, so you may have to file both Minnesota and Wisconsin State tax forms if:
- you lived off campus in Minnesota, and worked on campus at UW-Superior in, or
- you lived in Wisconsin, and did Practical Training (CPT or OPT) in Minnesota in.
Be sure to complete your federal tax form before filling out your state tax forms, as you will need information from your federal form for your state form(s).
The Office of ISS does not provide tax preparation software or advice for state tax forms. We cannot guarantee their accuracy or suitability for your particular tax situation. Please understand that ISS staff can offer guidelines only, and that the responsibility for submitting the correct tax forms remains with you.
For more specific federal tax questions, call the Non-resident Alien Tax Help Line of the IRS at 1-267-941-1000, or visit the websites below.
For Wisconsin state tax questions, call the Individual Income Tax Help Line at 1-608-266-2486, or visit the websites below.
Important note about employment and taxes: Check your pay statements each pay period. Even if you have your pay deposited directly to your bank account, it’s important to check your pay statements to be sure that the proper amounts of tax are being withheld (or not withheld). Different tax rules apply to most F-1 international students, so you should be sure to tell your employer that you are an F-1 student when it is time to do your employment paperwork, especially the Form W-4.
In particular, you should check the following:
- Federal and State Tax: These are usually withheld from your pay each pay period. If you are from a country that has a tax treaty agreement with the US, you may be exempt from tax on some or all of your wages. You must ask your employer for the correct forms if you want to claim a tax treaty exemption.
- Social Security and Medicare (also called FICA) taxes: These should NOT be withheld from your pay, unless you are considered to be a ‘resident for tax purposes’. If they are being improperly withheld, then you will have to file some extra paperwork to get a refund, which can be a significant amount of money. Follow the instructions to request a refund.
Source: IRS Publication 519, Chapter 8.
Health Care and Insurance
The University of Wisconsin System requires all F-1 students to have illness and accidental insurance coverage. The requirement is for your protection because medical care in the U.S. is very expensive.
UW-Superior provides an international student accident and sickness insurance policy underwritten by Consolidated Health Plan (CHP).The charge will be automatically listed on your account and does not need to be paid separately. The insurance covers illness, accidents, preventative care and routine physical examinations ONLY. It does not cover sports examinations, routine vision or dental care. We strongly recommend that you take care of these needs in your home country before coming to UW-Superior, or while you are home during university breaks.