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Orientation update #8: Immigration basics & last minute reminders

Posted By: oiss    Published: Tuesday, 14 Aug 2012

Dear Future MSU Spartan,

You might have some questions about maintaining your status, international travel requirements, enrollment requirements, employment authorization and Social Security Numbers (SSN). Please read this information thoroughly as it will help answer questions you might have.

How do I maintain my status while studying in the U.S.?

Can I work in the United States?

  • F-1 Students are allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and more than 20 hours per week during school holidays.
  • J-1 Students are only allowed to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week with their J-1 sponsor's authorization when school is in session and more than 20 hours per week during school holidays.
  • You cannot work off-campus (even in the summer) without prior work authorization form OISS. All off-campus work requires authorization before you can begin working. For more information see an OISS adviser.
  • For answers to more employment questions, visit:

Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN)?

  • It is not always necessary for international students to have a social security number. F-1 students cannot get an SSN without proof of employment. You cannot apply for a SSN until you have been in the U.S. for longer than10 days and completed your government check-in that takes place during orientation. F-1 students must have a job offer letter in order to apply for a social security number. To learn more about eligibility and application requirements, visit:*.

What documents should I carry when entering the U.S. and if travelling outside the U.S.?

  • Valid Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) signed by OISS within the last six months.
  • Valid visa stamp in passport (except Canadian citizens)
  • Valid passport (minimum 6 months from the time you enter the U.S.)
  • For more travel information, visit:

My visa is expired; do I have to leave the United States?

  • No, you are allowed to remain in the U.S. with an expired visa as long as your passport and Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) are valid. If you leave the U.S. with an expired visa, you must renew your visa while you are outside the U.S. or eligible for Automatic Revalidation. To learn more about Automatic Revalidation, visit:

When can I obtain an MSU ID?

  • The MSU ID Office will be open on Thursday, Aug. 16th and Friday, Aug. 17th from 8-5pm. In addition, the MSU ID Office will be accessible on Sunday, Aug. 19th from 11-2pm for students who could not get their IDs on Thursday and Friday. There will only be a limited professional staff available on Sunday


Last Minute Reminders before Attending MSU:


Flight Arrival Survey - Lansing Capital City Airport
We need your help. OISS will have volunteers at the Lansing airport to greet newly arriving students the few days before the August 20th International Student Orientation program. To help us, Campus Living Services and the Department of Residence Life, we ask that you complete a survey about your arrival in East Lansing. Please complete the survey at:

Follow OISS on Twitter and Facebook for immediate updates on immigration news and programming events.


See you at International Student Orientation on August 20th at 9:00 a.m. at the Breslin Center! Visit the orientation webpage for more information at:


Tags: orientation  

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