A Canadian national or landed immigrant pursuing studies at a university in the United States requires documentation of his/her relationship with the University. This documentation is needed for presentation to U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Inspectors at the U.S.-Canada border. The documentation to be used depends upon the extent of enrollment.
There are minor variations in INS requirements for the part-time student who crosses the border on a school day basis. The Office of International Student Services (ISS) will issue border crossing documents to you upon your request to facilitate your entry into the United States with INS officials at the U.S. port if you are a part time student.
A passport is not required of Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. Individuals holding other, temporary statuses in Canada, may be required to hold a passport and to obtain a U.S. visa before seeking admission into the United States.
A full time student is defined as a graduate student enrolled for at least 8 credit hours or an undergraduate student enrolled for at least 12 credit hours.
Full time students generally enter the United States in F-1 status using an I-20AB. Students meeting the criteria for entry into the United States as a J-1 Exchange Visitor will be issued a form known as an IAP-66.
The initial I-20 for Canadian students attending Lewis
University full time for the first time or entering a new level
degree program (i.e. moving to a graduate degree after completing
an undergraduate degree) is issued by the International Student
Services Office. When a student enters the U.S. under F-l visa status
he/she must present form I-20AB to the U.S. Immigration Inspector.
The student will be then be issued form I-94 (Record of Arrival/Departure)
which will reflect admission for duration of the status indicated
on the form I-20AB.
F-1 visa documentation (I-20AB Form) is issued when a student presents:
Evidence of academic admissibility
b) Evidence of financial support; and
c) Evidence of English proficiency as appropriate.
Once a Canadian student has registered full time or obtained an exception from normal full time enrollment, he or she must obtain an endorsement from the Office of International Student Services in order to make subsequent reentries to the United States as a student.
Individuals who meet the criteria
for "exchange visitor
status," and who intend to enroll full time, or obtain an "exception
from full time enrollment," will be issued an IAP-66 for J-l
Exchange Visitor student status. Students are eligible for the
Exchange Visitor program if at any time during their college studies
in the United States:
1)They or their program are financed directly or indirectly by:
a) The United States Government;
b) The government of the studentís home country (aka the Canadian government); or
c) An international organization of which the United States is a member by treaty or statute;
The programs are carried out pursuant to an agreement between the
United States government and a foreign government;
3) The programs are carried out pursuant to a written agreement between:
American and foreign educational institutions;
b) An American educational institution and a foreign government; or
c) A state or local government in the United States and a foreign government; or
The exchange visitors are supported substantially by funding from
any source other than personal or family funds.
J-1 visa documentation (Form IAP-66) is issued when a student presents:
Evidence of financial support; and
b) Evidence of English proficiency as appropriate.
c) An application form called a "Request for Exchange Visitor Visa Documentation" endorsed by a department academic advisor or chairperson
d) Evidence of the fact that the student meets one of the criteria for Exchange Visitor status.
When a student enters the U.S. in J-1 Exchange Visitor student status he/she must present the form IAP-66 to a U.S. Immigration Inspector. The student then will be issued Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) and the "pink copy" of the IAP-66 which will be stamped to indicate date of entry and that they have been admitted for the duration of status (D/S) indicated on their form IAP-66.
Canadian J-1 students who are enrolled full time must have the back of their immigration document (IAP-66) signed each semester by the Office of International Student Services in order to cross the border on a regular basis. This signature may be obtained from the ISS upon showing proof of full time registration and meeting the Insurance Requirements. Any F-1 or J-1 undergraduate student who fails to maintain 12 credit hours, or graduate student who fails to maintain 8 credit hours, should contact an ISS Counselor.
To qualify for Optional Practical Training an F-1 student must have maintained their non-immigrant status for nine consecutive months or two academic semesters. For information about eligibility for J-1 academic training, see the Office of International Student Services handouts on this topic.
Canadian students who commute are cautioned that if they are full time students and drop below a full time course load, and fail to apply and qualify for an "exception from full time enrollment" at the ISS, may lose both their visa status and, as a result, their eligibility for practical or academic training benefits.
A full time student commuting from Canada, on F-1 visa status is entitled to 12 months of Optional practical training if the training is recommended by a Designated School Official (DSO)/Counselor at the ISS and granted by the INS. To qualify for Optional Practical Training F-1 students must be in valid student status for two semesters. Some F-1 students may qualify for another kind of practical training known as curricular practical training.
A student holding J-1 status is entitled to 18 months of Academic Training in the U.S. after graduation (36 months if graduation is from a doctoral program), if the work is related to the degree received and such training is not readily available in Canada.
A student on a J-1 visa status participating in the planned Lewis University Exchange Visitor program may also be granted permission for off-campus employment by a Responsible Officer in the LU Office of International Student Services -- based on urgent financial need which has arisen since the time of the studentís initial entry in the United States. A student on F-1 visa status is seldom granted similar authorization by the INS.
A graduate student enrolled for less than 8 credit hours or an undergraduate student enrolled for less than 12 credit hours in any one semester may be granted a special border crossing status by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. This status may be granted on the basis of a "border crossing letter" issued by the ISS. A border crossing letter will be issued by the ISS upon presentation of proof of registration and completion of an "Application for a Border Crossing Letter." The border crossing letter is kept in the studentís possession once an appropriate validation stamp has been placed on it by the U.S. Immigration Inspector at the time of initial entry to the United States. The documentation must be presented to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service each time you cross the border to attend class, use the library, and/or participate in other related campus activities. It may only be used for these purposes. A new border crossing letter must be obtained for each semester of part-time enrollment.
A visa is not required of a Canadian national entering the U.S. for any temporary purpose. A passport may be required of a Canadian national only if entry is occurring after a visit outside the Western Hemisphere. In most cases a Canadian landed immigrant (citizen of another country) must obtain a visa for entry to the U.S. through the nearest U.S. Consulate. Questions related to an application for a non-immigrant visa through the U.S. Consulate in Toronto can be directed to the Consulate by calling (416) 595-1700. When making an application for a non-immigrant visa, the student must present the necessary visa documentation (Form I-20AB or IAP-66 issued by the LU Admissions Office and evidence of adequate financial support).
A commuting Canadian is in the position of being able to shift from part-time to full-time enrollment and vice versa without jeopardizing his/her ability to continue studies in the United States. A change of documentation appropriate for the new level of enrollment must, however, be made on a timely basis and can impact later immigration benefits. Failure to present appropriate documentation to U.S. Immigration officials at the time of each entry can result in forfeiture of status in the U.S. or delays at the port of entry.
Canadian students are encouraged to apply for documentation once registration for a semester is complete. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization officials will grant border crossing privileges for the purpose of completing registration without documentation from the University. The border crossing privilege for the purpose of attending classes does require documentation consistent with the proposed level and extent of enrollment. Once again, requests for such documentation should be presented to the ISS at the time of registration. Although such requests can be accepted through mail, it is recommended that they be made in person on the day of registration. Visa documentation will either be mailed to Canada or will be available for pickup within 48 hours after the request is made. In the case of a part-time student border crossing letter, the appropriate documentation will be issued at the time the request is submitted (subject to availability of staff).