Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Graduating International Students

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation. As you prepare for your departure from Virginia Wesleyan University, here are resources for you as you consider your next steps.


As a Virginia Wesleyan University student, in addition to your academic studies, there are additional questions that many international students have in regard to life in the United States. Here you will find information to assist you with these questions and maintaining your status.

 

OPT is training, or work experience, directly related to your program of study.

There are two types of OPT:

Pre-Completion OPT

  • Can be done while pursuing your degree
  • Limited to 20 hours a week while school is in session; can be full-time during school breaks
  • This does count toward your post-completion OPT time.
  • Ex. Six months of part-time (20 hours a week) of pre-completion OPT work takes three months from your post-completion OPT time
  • Must submit the I-765 form and all supporting documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive the required Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Application Fee: $410
  • An EAD form for pre-completion OPT cannot be used to obtain work as part of post-completion OPT. A separate application and an additional application fee will need to be filed to obtain a new EAD.
  • To be considered for this training you must speak to your academic advisor and have your I-20 authorized for the off-campus work by Mandy Reinig, areinig@vwu.edu.

Post-Completion OPT

  • Must have completed your program of study
  • Can be paid or unpaid
  • Can be full-time
  • Allows for one year of work experience that must be related to your field(s) of study
  • You do not have to have a job to apply for OPT
  • Can apply up to 90 days before graduation to 60 days after graduation.
  • The earlier you apply the better it is because it can take several months to receive approval.
  • A social security number is required to be paid for off-campus employment as a part of OPT.
  • Must submit the I-765 form and all supporting documentation to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive the required Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Application Fee: $410
  • To be considered for this training you must speak to your academic advisor and have your I-20 authorized for the off-campus work by Mandy Reinig, areinig@vwu.edu.
  • STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) fields can apply for a 24-month extension to your OPT.
  • The STEM extension requires that the E-Verify employer and the student complete Form I-983 and submit the form to the PDSO, Mandy Reinig.
  • The PDSO will update the student’s record so the extension can be submitted.

 

  • International students who wish to transfer from VWU to another U.S. college or university, or who plan on attending graduate school, should make an appointment with Ms. Mandy Reinig (areinig@vwu.edu), Principal Designated School Official, to discuss the transfer of your SEVIS record.
  • Once you are accepted by another institution, contact their international office and request a Transfer-In Form. This form will facilitate the release of your SEVIS record.
  • The Transfer-In Form will generate a transfer release date that is usually the day after the last day of the semester you are currently enrolled in at VWU.
  • Your new institution will issue you an I-20 as appropriate.
  • You will complete the transfer process by beginning classes at the new institution.

Graduation is an exciting time for international students who have completed their programs of studies. Many would like to invite relatives who live in other countries to the United States to see them process in graduation ceremonies. To do this family members need to obtain a B-1/B-2 visitor visa, in most cases. Citizens from some countries are eligible to enter the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program.

The following documents are required to apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa:

  • Valid passport - good for at least 6 months from the date of return to the home country
  • Photographs
  • Visa Application Fee
  • Visa Application Form

To strengthen your family members' B-1/B-2 application and to clarify that this is a temporary visit for a special occasion additional supporting documents may be useful. These include:

  • Proof of employment of the applicant
  • Proof of property ownership in home country
  • Proof of contact with other family members in home country
  • Proof of finances - bank statements, etc.
  • A formal letter of invitation by the F-1 student indicating the specific reason for the visit, proposed dates, and information about your status as an F-1 student.
Note: VWU cannot provide invitation letters for your family members. University invitation letters have been shown to no longer be effective and it is better if the invitation letter come from the F-1 student.