Resources for International Students

 OBTAINING A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) FOR F-1 STUDENTS

To qualify for a Social Security Card, you would need to have at least ONE of the following:

Social Security Card
  • An offer letter from an on-campus job
  • An I-20 with approved CPT authorization
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) along with your I-20 with approved OPT authorization

Steps for applying for Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Email a PDF attachment from one of the requested documents mentioned above to ISGSS@lewisu.edu.
  • The Office of International Student and Global Scholar Services will issue you a Social Security Number Authorization Letter within 3 working days.
  • Call the nearest Social Security Office and make an appointment.
  • Prepare the necessary documents needed in applying for SSN

Requirements for applying Social Security Number (SSN)

  • Most recent i-20
  • Most recent i-94
  • Social security authorization letter (from ISGSS office)
  • Hire/ offer letter
  • Proof of address
    • If living on campus, ask one from the Office of Residence Life
    • If living off campus, acceptable documents would be the following:
      • Lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck
  • School ID / State ID
  • Passport and visa

Nearest SSN office from our Romeoville campus:
Address: 552 HOUBOLT RD, JOLIET, IL 60431
Phone:1-866-783-7302
Hours:

  • Monday to Friday - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Saturday & Sunday- Closed

 ILLINOIS DRIVER’S LICENSE AND STATE ID

TEMPORARY VISITOR’S DRIVER’S LICENSE OR TVDL (WITHOUT AN SSN)
The Secretary of State’s Office issues a “Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License” (TVDL) for noncitizens of the United State who have been granted temporary, legal entry into this country and are temporarily residing in the State of Illinois and ineligible for a Social Security Number. Note: TVDL is not an ID card. You will be asked whether you want to register to vote, you MUST decline.

Illinois Driver's License

Who is eligible for a TVDL?

  • A non-citizen, lawfully admitted to the United States
  • Have resided in the State of Illinois for more than 12 months
  • Residing in the state of Illinois
  • Ineligible for a Social Security Number

Requirements for a TVDL

  • Most recent i-20 (valid for at least one year with not less than 6 months remaining)
  • Passport and visa
  • Most recent i-94 (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)
  • Denial letter issued by the Social Security Administration indicating your ineligibility for a Social Security Number (not more than 90 days old)
  • $30 fee; $5 fee for ages 18-20 years old
  • Proof of address
    • If living on campus, ask one from the Office of Residence Life
    • If living off campus, acceptable documents would be the following:
      • Lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or click this link

Steps for applying TVDL

  • Call DMV before going to make sure they accept TVDL application for international students
  • Make sure your I-20 is valid for at least one year from the date you intend to apply for the driver’s license with at least 6 months remaining.
  • Request a letter of ineligibility (denial letter) from the Social Security Office.
  • Obtain acceptable documents to verify your current address in Illinois.
  • Prepare for your vision test, written test, and road test (you will need to supply your own vehicle for the road test).

For additional information, refer to the Secretary of State “Cyber Drive Illinois” website below:

ILLINOIS STATE DRIVER'S LICENSE (WITH SSN)
If you already have an SSN (Social Security Number) or you are eligible for an SSN, you can apply for a “regular” driver’s license and/or state ID. You will be asked whether you want to register to vote, you MUST decline.

To be eligible, you must have the following:

Illinois State Driver's License
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Total program length on i-20 of at least one year
  • More than 6 months remaining on your program at the time you apply
  • Successfully completed a 6-hour adult driver education course through a certified provider (only if you are 18-20 years old)

Requirements for Illinois State Driver’s License:

  • Social Security card
  • Most recent i-20 (valid for at least one year with not less than 6 months remaining)
  • Passport and visa
  • Most recent i-94 (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)
  • $30 fee; $5 fee for ages 18-20 years old
  • Proof of address
    • If living on campus, ask one from the Office of Residence Life
    • If living off campus, acceptable documents would be the following:
      • Lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or see Group D on the last page of this document for other acceptable documents

Steps for applying Illinois State Driver’s License:

  • Go to https://www.ilsos.gov/ to locate your preferred DMV office.
  • Schedule an appointment online.
  • Make sure your I-20 is valid for at least one year from the date you intend to apply for the  driver’s license with at least 6 months remaining.
  • Obtain acceptable documents to verify your current address in Illinois.
  • Prepare for your vision test, written test, and road test (you will need to supply your own vehicle for the road test).

Acceptable Identification Documents


 APPLYING FOR REINSTATEMENT

If an international student fails to maintain their status, or if there is some question as to whether they have, and their designated school official (DSO) terminates their Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) record, the student must file for reinstatement with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or depart the United States immediately.

Apply for Resinstatement

Eligibility for reinstatement:

  • Not be out of status for more than five months at the time of filing or show the exceptional circumstance that prevented filing in that time frame.
  • Not have a record of repeated or willful violations of regulations.
  • Not have worked without authorization.
  • Be pursuing or intend to pursue a full course of study in the immediate future at your school.
  • Not be deportable for any reason other than failing to maintain F-1 or M-1 status.
  • Be able to show that:
    • Circumstances beyond the student’s control caused the status violation.
    • Student fell below a full course load for a reason the DSO could have used to authorize a reduced course load, and the student would experience extreme hardship, if the student fails to get reinstatement.

Reinstatement Process

Step
Player
Action
1 DSO
  • Recommends reinstatement in SEVIS.
  • Prints and signs the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, issued for reinstatement.
2 Student Note: The Form I-539, Instructions for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, lists the required documents to submit with the Form I-539.

Filing Fee: $370 (Subject to change – check www.uscis.gov/i-539)

Note: If the student has been out of status for more than five months, he or she must also:
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee again.
  • Explain why the reinstatement application could not be filed sooner.
3 USCIS
  • Accepts/rejects the application.
  • Makes a decision and mails it to the student.
Note: USCIS may request additional information. USCIS will send all correspondence related to the application to the mailing address on the Form I-539.
3a SEVIS
  • SEVIS automatically emails the decision to the DSO who requested the reinstatement and to the PDSO.
  • If approved for reinstatement to a continuing program, SEVIS changes the status of the record to Active.
4 Student
  • If approved for reinstatement to a new program, the student enrolls for the program, as indicated on the Form I-20.
  • If approved for reinstatement to a continuing program, the student resumes a full course of study, if he or she has not already done so.
  • If denied, the student follows the instructions in the denial notice.
4a DSO
  • If approved for reinstatement to a new program, the DSO must follow the registration processes for the initial session at the school.
  • If approved for reinstatement to a continuing program, the DSO must register the student within 30 days and make sure the session dates are correct. 
Note: SEVIS will terminate the record for failure to enroll, if the Initial or Next Session Start Date is past the regulatory deadline.
4b SEVIS If denied, SEVIS closes the reinstatement request.

References

 Documents required for review

IMPORTANT: DO NOT SUBMIT your USCIS online application for reinstatement UNTIL you have received the Reinstatement I-20 from the Office of International Student and Global Scholar Services (ISGSS).

Before receiving the I-20 for Reinstatement from our office, you must submit the required documents in a PDF file for review:

  1. Thoroughly read the Lewis Reinstatement Application (see pages 1 and 2 of this document)
  2. Completed Form i-539 (if you are applying online, please send a completed snapshot of your application found on the last part of the online USCIS application but do not submit the online application yet)
  3. Affidavit of Financial Support
  4. Bank Statement or other Proof of Funding for 1 year or the length of time it will take you to complete your program.
  5. Copy of your current i20
  6. Copy of your passport & visa
  7. Copy of your most recent i-94
  8. A letter from you requesting reinstatement to F-1 student status. The letter must explain your situation and truthfully states that failure to maintain status was due to any or all of the reasons listed below:
    1. Circumstances beyond the student’s control caused the status violation.
    2. Student fell below a full course load for a reason the DSO could have used to authorize a reduced course load, and the student would experience extreme hardship, if the student fails to get reinstatement.
  9. Supporting documentation (for example, a letter of support from a faculty advisor familiar with the circumstances of your case)
  10. Current transcript and transcripts from other U.S. schools previously attended
  11. New I-20 from ISGSS requesting Reinstatement (will be provided after items 1-7 are completed)
  12. Here is the USCIS website where you will create your online account, submit the completed documents, and pay the processing fee: https://www.uscis.gov/feecalculator

You will need to complete an i539 Application for Reinstatement and then send that to ISGSS for review before we can issue the Reinstatement I-20 that you will need for your application to USCIS. The USCIS fee to USCIS for reinstatement is $455 ($370 filing fee + $85 required biometrics services fee) and that can be paid online after all application materials have been prepared, reviewed, and submitted through USCIS’ online system. Click here for more information from DHS on the Reinstatement Process.

Questions? Email ISGSS@lewisu.edu.


 BLACKBOARD TUTORIAL

Blackboard Tutorials

Blackboard is a widely recognized and user-friendly online learning platform that revolutionizes education. With its intuitive interface and comprehensive features, Blackboard facilitates seamless interaction between students, teachers, and institutions. This dynamic website allows learners to access course materials, engage in discussions, submit assignments, and receive personalized feedback. Blackboard's collaborative tools empower educators to create interactive content, conduct virtual classrooms, and track students' progress effectively.

With its robust integration capabilities and mobile-friendly design, Blackboard ensures accessibility and flexibility in the digital learning environment. Whether in traditional classrooms or remote settings, Blackboard remains a trusted and indispensable resource for enhancing educational experiences.

Learn more about Blackboard by going to the Student Tutorial Site.


 INVITING FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO THE U.S.

If your family/friends wish to visit you in the U.S., they may need to apply for a visitor visa. In preparation for their visa application and interview, your family/friends will need to prove:

Inviting Friends to U.S.
  • WHY they are coming to the U.S.
  • WHAT they will be doing here.
  • WHERE they are going in the U.S.
  • WHEN they will be in the U.S.
  • WHEN they will return to their home country.
  • HOW they will support themselves while they are in the U.S.

NOTE: If your family/friends need a visitor visa, they need to thoroughly read the instructions for visitor visa applications which can be found on the website of the U.S. embassy/consulate where they will apply for the visa. This is a personal application in which applicants must demonstrate their eligibility through a visa interview.

Useful tips for visa applications

Invitation Letter:

  • You are responsible in creating your own invitation letter for your friends & family. See sample letter here
  • Your family/friends may bring a letter from you explaining who you are and what you are doing in the U.S. and that you want to invite them to visit for your graduation (and/or vacation, tour, etc.).
  • Your letter should list the dates and locations that your family/friends will visit in the U.S.
  • You should be as specific as possible. Include your name, date of birth, SEVIS ID# (if applicable) and address in the U.S.

Additional (Optional) documentation

  • Most recent I-20
  • If you do not have a copy, you can request through ISGSS website under the Forms for international students.
  • Most recent I-94
  • Copy of your passport and visa
  • Proof of graduation (if inviting friends and family for graduation)
  • MyLewis Portal > Degree Works (you can print this out as proof)
  • More info for graduation can be found here
  • Official school transcript – order here

 SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

STUDENT EMPLOYMENT THROUGH HANDSHAKE
We want to make college as affordable for you as possible. That's why we offer student work opportunities that can provide you with some much-needed spending money while at school. We have teamed with Handshake, a well-known online resource that connects students with career and internship opportunities, to provide access to these student work opportunities. Students can view all open positions on the myLewis portal. Once logged in please go to the Resources section and select the Handshake resource. Complete directions for finding student employment can be accessed by clicking the Student Employment picture to the right.

PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT/ ASSISTANTSHIPS
Lewis University offers both Academic Assistantships (students hired by a specific academic department program they are enrolled in) and Staff Assistantships (current Lewis graduate students employed as staff members of the University). These positions are coordinated through Human Resources or the specific department itself.

  • Academic Assistantships: Lewis University offers graduate students who are enrolled in a certain academic department program the chance to work as Academic Assistants. These jobs give you the chance to assist the department in a variety of ways while picking up real-world experience associated with your study area. The best approach to advance your academic career while getting financial aid is through academic assistantships.

  • Staff Assistantships: Lewis University also provides staff assistantships that are available only to enrolled graduate students. You will be working for the university as a staff member in these positions. Staff assistantships offer a special chance to work in several areas and support the operation of the institution. These jobs give you the chance to develop your professional abilities and collaborate directly with teachers and staff.

  • Graduate assistantships not only provide financial support but also offer a platform for networking, mentorship, and skill development. They are highly regarded for their contribution to academic and professional growth.

OFFICE OF FINANCIAL AID
Through financial aid and other benefits, students receive a private education at Lewis University for less than the cost of a state or public university. As part of the Catholic and Lasallian Mission, Lewis University provides values-based education for qualified students. Learn more about the ways we help students to decrease and afford tuition costs.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARSHIPS AND FINANCIAL AID
IEFA (International Education Financial Aid) is a highly valuable resource for international students seeking scholarships and grants to support their education. As an international student, financing your education abroad can be a significant concern, and IEFA aims to address this challenge by providing a comprehensive listing of scholarships specifically designed for international students. By accessing IEFA, you gain access to a vast array of scholarship opportunities that may otherwise be difficult to find. The platform features scholarships that cater specifically to international students, enabling you to navigate through the overwhelming amount of information and identify relevant opportunities for your educational goals.


 GRADUATION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS - MAY 2024


Ceremony Schedule

See Schedule


Basic Expectations

  • Arrive at least 1 hour before your schedule ceremony time.
  • Show up to the appropriate ceremony on time – student check-in begins one hour before the ceremony with everyone lined up by no later than 15 minutes before the ceremony start time. 
  • Students/families should plan to stay for the entire ceremony.
  • After walking across the stage when your name is announced, it is expected that you return to your seat for the remainder of the ceremony to watch the rest of your classmates graduate. 

Important Dates to Remember


April 01, 2024: Deadline to order your cap and gown.

  • Candidates are responsible for the shipping fee and tax for their cap and gown. The shipping fee is $14.90 plus tax for orders placed by the deadline.
  • Order your cap and gown through Order Cap & Gown.
  • Late orders will incur a $25.00 expediting fee and candidates will be required to pick up their cap and gown on the day of graduation.

Ceremony Schedule:
Friday, May 10:

  • Evening Graduate Degree Ceremony
    • Time: 7:00p.m.
    • Colleges: Business & Education and Social Sciences ONLY

Saturday, May 11:

  • Morning Graduate Degree Ceremony
    • Time: 9:00a.m.
    • Colleges: Aviation, Science and Technology & Nursing and Health Sciences ONLY
  • Afternoon Undergraduate Degree Ceremony
    • Time: 1:00p.m.
    • Colleges: Aviation, Science and Technology, Nursing and Health Sciences & Humanities, Fine Arts, and Communications ONLY
  • Evening Undergraduate Degree Ceremony
    • Time: 5:00p.m.
    • Colleges: Business & Education and Social Sciences ONLY

Participation Guidelines for May 2024 Candidates:

  • May 2024 candidates who have met all degree requirements or are waiting only for Lewis University Spring semester grades to be posted are eligible to participate in the degree ceremony. May candidates must have a ‘Clear Except Final Grades’ or ‘Cleared for Graduation’ DW status by April 11 to participate in the ceremony.
  • E-ticketing details are available on the commencement webpage.
  • Financial Policy: Lewis University policy requires that a student account must be clear before tickets are available for the ceremony. 

Graduation Tickets:

  • Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria can redeem up to seven (7) guest tickets for their assigned ceremony.
  • Redeem tickets by Monday, April 29.
  • Additional tickets request deadline is 5p.m. (CST) on Monday, April 29.

Deadline for Address Changes:

  • All address changes are due by May 17, 2024.

May 2024 Commencement Website


Questions? Please email registrar@lewisu.edu.


 TAX FILING RESOURCES FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

We've teamed up with Sprintax to assist international students in filing their taxes. Sprintax is an online self-preparation software that will walk you through every step of the tax preparation process. Explore their guide below and sign up to one of their FREE webinars (listed at the end of the guide). To receive a Sprintax tax filing DISCOUNT code, please email us at isgss@lewisu.edu.

Sprintax Tax Filing Guide for Students


 TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AS AN F-1 STUDENT

Below are things to take note on when traveling outside of the United States and re-entering the U.S: 

  1. If this is your last semester, it is NOT recommended to travel outside of the US. If it is an emergency, please let us know and we will advise you accordingly.
  2. Inform the International Student and Global Scholar Services Office of your travel dates 2 weeks prior to make sure your records are okay and active.
  3. Please send an email to ISGSS@lewisu.edu with a copy of your most recent I-20. (Read the note below before sending i20)
  4. Make sure you are registered for classes, as well as for the next upcoming term when you travel back to the US.
    1. If you have face-to-face classes, make sure you communicate with your professor.
    2. Please send us a screenshot of your current (and future) course registration
  5. Bring a printed copy of your current and future class schedule with you when you travel
  6. Make sure to bring your i20 when traveling
    1. The 1st page of your i20 on the Form Issue Reason should state "continued attendance" on the first box.
    2. The 2nd page of your i20 should have a signature on the Travel Endorsement box. Each signature and endorsement are valid for one year.
    3. If you do not have a travel signature or the signature is more than a year old, please send back your i20 and we will add a new signature
  7. Also having a valid passport and visa which are valid for at least 6 months into the future from the date of travel.

Note: we can only issue travel i20 if you are registered for in person classes for next upcoming term. If you haven't, please register and get back to us. 

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