Information for Current Students

Maintaining F-1 Status

  1. Your immigration form (I-20 or DS-2019) must always be valid. 
    • I-20s have an expiration date found in item 5; the DS-2019 expiration date is found in item 3. If your immigration form is going to expire before you finish your program, consult International Support Services at least a month before the expiration date. To apply for an extension, please complete the program extension form and submit to the ISS office before your I-20 or DS-2019 expires.
  2. You must always be enrolled full-time.
    • Undergraduates is a minimum of 12 credit hours in the fall/spring
    • Graduate full-time is a minimum of 6 credit hours in the fall/spring
    • Enrollment must be in seated classes on campus. Only one online class will count towards your minimum.
    • Always meet with both your academic adviser and the director of International Support Services before dropping any class.
  3. Work only with authorization.
    • All international students must have permission from either International Support Services or CIS before they begin working.
    • F-2 visa holders may not work.
    • J-2 visa holders may work with USCIS permission.
  4. Your passport must always be valid for at least six months into the future
    • ISS can assist you in contacting your Embassy to renew your passport.
  5. You must report any address change within 10 days.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exchange data on the immigration status of internationals. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 or J-1 student’s academic career in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS.

How does SEVIS work?

  1. After Drury University admits an international student, SEVIS is notified, and the DHS approves Drury’s request to issue an immigration form (I-20 or DS-2019). Drury sends the new bar-coded form to the student.
  2. The student pays a SEVIS fee, a visa application fee, and visits the U.S. consulate abroad. The consulate confirms through SEVIS the immigration form the student is carrying is a valid document. If everything is in order, the consulate issues the visa.
  3. A DHS officer at the U.S. port of entry reports to SEVIS the student’s entry into the U.S.
  4. When the student arrives on campus, he/she reports to the International Support Services Office, and the school confirms through SEVIS the student’s enrollment. Drury continues to provide regular electronic reports to DHS throughout the student’s academic career.
  5. Finally, SEVIS records the student’s departure from the United States.

What data does SEVIS collect?

  • Whether the student has enrolled at the school, or failed to enroll.
  • A change of the student or dependent’s legal name or address.
  • Any student who graduates prior to the end date listed on the I-20.
  • Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction.
  • If the student drops below a full course of study without prior authorization from the DSO (Immigration regulations refer to the international student adviser as “designated school official” – DSO).
  • Termination date and reason for termination.
  • Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extensions, school transfers, changes in level of study, employment authorizations, and reinstatement.
  • Any student who fails to maintain status or complete his or her program.

What does “fail to maintain status” mean?

Some examples of failure to maintain status include dropping from full-time to part-time enrollment without prior approval from the DSO, attending a school other than the one the student is authorized to attend, failure to apply for a timely transfer of schools, failure to apply for a timely extension of program, failure to apply for a timely change in level of studies, unauthorized employment, and failure to report a change of address in 10 days.

What are the consequences if a student fails to maintain status?

The student’s record will be updated with SEVIS every semester. Students who fail to maintain status lose the privileges of their student immigration status and become subject to deportation. Specific consequences may include denial of re-entry to the U.S., inability to move from undergraduate to graduate status, denial of requests for practical training, denial of requests for change of immigration status, and possible denial of all future visa applications.

Can a student who is “out of status” regain legal status?

If a student drops below a full course of study without prior approval from the DSO, the “event” would be reported to DHS, via SEVIS, and the student would be out of status. The student may apply to DHS for reinstatement if the violation resulted from circumstances beyond his or her control. Reinstatement is intended to be a rare benefit for exceptional cases. The student may not apply for reinstatement if s/he is out of status longer than five months unless s/he can show exceptional circumstances beyond her/his control such as: serious injury or illness, closure of the institution, or a natural disaster. If DHS does not reinstate the student, he or she may not appeal that decision.

How will Drury help students comply with the immigration laws?

Drury is committed in assisting students in ways that prevent status violations from occurring. F-1 students new to Drury must physically check in with the International Support Services Office (ISS) during new international student orientation. ISS reviews the student’s immigration documents and confirms in SEVIS that the student has arrived on campus. International students are not able to drop below a full course of study without prior authorization from ISS.

Acceptable reasons for reduced credit load include:

  • Medical problem. (12 months maximum). Medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist stating problem and how long the student is advised to reduce course load must be submitted to the ISO. If for two semesters, must be revalidated each semester.
  • Initial difficulties with English language or reading requirements. (First semester only.) Advisor or instructor’s letter must be submitted to the ISS.
  • Unfamiliarity with American teaching methods/improper course level placement. (One semester only). Advisor’s letter must be submitted to the ISS.
  • Final semester for degree.
  • Concurrent enrollment at another institution. Student must supply transcript to the ISO.

Students must complete at least 6 credit hours even with authorization for a reduced course load (except for medical reasons or last semester for degree ). Remember, only the Designated School Official in the ISO has authority to authorize a reduced credit load!

What happens if Drury fails to comply with the SEVIS regulations?

The DHS is required to audit Drury’s compliance with these new requirements every two years. Failure to comply with the federal regulations could result in the loss of Drury’s ability to accept international students.

Will SEVIS benefit students in any way?

Data moves faster through an electronic system than through a paper system. Students can expect that DHS forms will be produced faster, applications for benefits such as practical training will be approved more quickly, and visas will be granted with shorter delays.

What should students do to prepare for SEVIS?

  • Read all mail and e-mail from ISS, and periodically check ISS web site. Changes in immigration procedures can happen quickly. Information is shared as soon as we have the facts.
  • Understand the immigration regulations, learn how to maintain lawful status in the U.S., and refer any questions or problems immediately to the experts in ISS. The four words we hate to hear are: “But my friend said!”. Information on how to maintain F-1 student status can also be found on the ISS website.
  • Be proactive. Students should plan their course schedules carefully so that they maintain full-time enrollment. Make travel arrangements early, and anticipate delays at consulates and border crossings. Keep all documents up-to-date. Changes in degree level, extension of program, and travel validations must be done in a timely manner and on SEVIS documents. Allow time for processing new forms.
  • Feel free to come to ISS for assistance. Drury University is a better place because you are here, and we are committed to your success!

Where can I find information about SEVIS? 

The ISS has scheduled information meetings about SEVIS throughout the semester. Check your e-mail and our web site for announcements. Also, if you have specific questions about your immigration status, call ISS at (417) 873-7885, visit us in the Findlay Student Center, Room 107, or send us an email at

Tax Information for International Students

Students and scholars in the United States are not exempt from taxes. The tax system of the United States is complex and can be difficult to understand. 

Free tax assistance is available to Drury University international students each spring.

There are essentially two federal income tax systems in the United States; one for tax residents of the U.S. including citizens, permanent residents, and certain non-immigrants, and the other for tax nonresident. The definition of “residence” for tax purposes and for immigration purposes are not the same and should not be confused.

The first step for foreign students and scholars in the tax process is to determine their tax residence. Special rules apply to persons in F and J immigration status in determining tax residence.

The second step is to determine whether the source of any income is a “U.S. source” or a “foreign source.” Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, provides definitions and explanations of these issues.

Individual tax reports are generally due on April 15 of the following calendar year. If no U.S. wages were received, the due date is June 15. Instructions and forms are available on the IRS web page. All nonresident alien tax returns and statements are mailed to: Internal Revenue Service Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19255, U.S.A.

Please note that failure to properly complete tax reports may constitute a violation of immigration status.

Apply for a Missouri State Driver License

To apply for a Missouri Driver License, you must take a written test and a driving test. Visit the Missouri Department of Revenue website for more information and a copy of the Missouri State Driver’s Manual.

Springfield Contract Office – in downtown

149 Park Central Square Room 116
State Office Building
Springfield, MO 65806

Phone:  (417) 869-5100

You must take these items with you when you apply for the Missouri Driver License:

  1. Passport with US visa
  2. I-94 card or online printout
  3. I-20 (for F-1 students) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
  4. Currently Enrolled Letter from Registrar’s office in Bay Hall (obtain an enrollment verification)
  5. Proof of Residency
  6. Social Security Card or if you don’t have a social security number, you will need a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that you are not eligible for a social security card. (bring the items above #1-5 to the SSA office)
    • For F-2 or J-2 dependents, they must take the I-20 or DS-2019 with them and a letter of current enrollment stating their spouse is a full-time student of Drury (letters of enrollment are completed by the Registrar’s office in Bay Hall)

Social Security Administration

1570 W. Battlefield, Suite 100
Springfield, MO  65807
(417)  866-6925

Travel Information for International Students

Please review this information if you will be traveling.

Required Documents for Re-entry in the United States:

  • A passport that is unexpired and valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
  • A valid F-1 Visa (be sure to check to be sure you have entries remaining)
  • Current Immigration Form (I-20 or DS-2019) with re-entry signature from ISS that is less than 6 months old at the time of re-entry.
  • If you are on OPT, a valid Employment Authorization Card (EAD) and verification of employment.

Bring your passport with visa and your I-20, to ISS at least one week prior to expected travel. Be sure to read the FAQ for F Non-immigrants: Entry and Exit on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website before you travel.

Suggested Additional Documentation: 

  • Transcript from Drury University (showing full time student status since you’ve been here). Request the transcript from the Registrar’s Office, Bay Hall. If you have attended another school in the U.S., attach transcripts from the school attended to the appropriate Form I-20.
  • Proof of course registration for the following semester (shows a purpose for your return to the US). Available at the Registrar’s Office.
  • Current financial support documents.
  • If you are on OPT, a letter from your employer stating that you are employed there, the job description and the dates of employment (which will need to match your EAD!).

Please Note: Be aware that this list of required and suggested documentation is no guarantee that you will be allowed to re-enter the US. You may encounter difficulties at the Consulate or Port-of-Entry. If you choose to travel outside the US, make sure you stay up to date on the news and events happening around the world – and be aware of the potential difficulties with travel as well as with re-entry into the US. Expect longer than normal lines at Ports of Entry, more extensive questioning about your travel, increased security checks at airports within the US and possibly abroad, increased security checks by the airlines at boarding, and increased restrictions on your carry on luggage (all carry on items may be inspected, therefore if you are carrying gifts, etc. do not wrap them in such a way that you cannot open them).

When packing, be smart. If you plan to take items from the US, home to family or friends be sure you are able to open and inspect all items carefully. If you cannot do so, do not take them with you. Select carefully items you will be put in your bag. Items such as wrapped gifts for family and friends at home and electronic equipment may cause further inspection of your luggage and longer delays for you. Please remember the reasoning behind all of this and have patience. These precautions are for everyone’s safety.

Upon Your Return: Once you have reentered the US please you bring your I-94, I-20 and passport to the ISS so we can update our files. Also, we would like to hear about your experience so we can better inform future travelers.

Travel Within the United States:
All non-immigrants traveling in the US are advised to carry with them all their original identification documents: Valid passport (if your visa is in an older passport carry the old passport in addition to the new one, the visa need not be valid as long as it was valid when you entered the US and all your other documents remain current/valid), I-94 card, I-20 or DS-2019, and if applicable a copy of any other documents such as EAD card (associated with OPT, economic hardship, etc.).

We also urge all who have declared immigrant intent or who have been granted permanent residency, as well as those on work visas (H1B, TN or other), to make sure you have all your documents when traveling as well.

The ISS Office has received information regarding reports of non-immigrants boarding domestic flights within the US being questioned and asked for documentation. In several incidents, the DHS officer doing the questioning told the individual that he is required to carry his passport, I-94 and/or I-797, DS-2019, or I-20 with him at all times. Non-immigrants not carrying their documents may be held until sufficient documentation is provided to the officers/agents.

Legal Note: Section 264(e) of the US Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) does require individuals over the age of 18 to carry their “registration” documentation with them at all times. Section 264.1 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) delineates what constitutes a registration document for different classes of individuals, including non-immigrant.

Based upon this information, the ISS advises all internationals at Drury University of the possibility of such incidents at airports even if the flight does not leave the US. Please contact the ISS prior to any travel, even if you will travel only within the US. The ISS will review your documents and ensure that they are valid and up-to-date, and that they accurately reflect your current status in the U.S.

Inviting Family Members to Visit

During your studies at Drury University, you may want to invite your parents or other family members to visit. Here are some suggestions to help them apply for a visitor’s visa (B-2) at a US Consulate or Embassy in their home country.

To facilitate their visa interview process you may do the following:

  • Write a letter of invitation. Include the purpose of the visit, your relationship to the individuals, a statement of your status here, itinerary details and the length of time they will be visiting (usually less than three months). It is best to emphasize the temporary nature of the invitation and to demonstrate their intention to return to their home country following the visit. If you will support them financially while they are here, include that information as well.
  • Include a copy of your I-20 to confirm your student status. Graduate students who hold an graduate assistantship may want to also attach a departmental funding letter.
  • If you are graduating and they are traveling to attend your commencement ceremony, provide details of the Commencement Ceremony.
  • For additional information about U.S. Consulate/Embassy locations and application procedures, review the U.S. Department of State visa information.

Providing your family members with this documentation may improve their chances of obtaining a visa; however, there is no guarantee a visa will be issued and such letters aren’t a part of the application. The success of their request for a visa lies in their ability to prove that they have no intention of staying permanently in the U.S. 

Please note that ISS staff members are unable to write letter of invitation for your family members.