Immigration Issues

COVID-19 Planning Information for 2020–21

OISA staff are fluent in the regulatory issues facing students and exchange visitors who don’t hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency. Immigration status impacts access to opportunities, services, and benefits, and international Grinnellians are invited to bring questions our way. You will be treated with respect and privacy. If your regulatory needs exceed our purview or expertise, we will encourage you to pursue legal counsel outside of the College.

Most international Grinnellians are present on an F or J visa, and the OISA is responsible for the institution’s compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). We support F-1 students with their visa application and initial entry; throughout all four years at the College; and for up to three years following commencement — during post-completion optional practical training (OPT) or STEM OPT. We teach and advise F-1 students and J exchange visitors to help you maintain lawful status. OISA staff are certified designated school officials (P/DSOs) supporting the F-1 program, and two of us are authorized as responsible officers (A/RO) supporting the J Exchange Visitor Program for students, professors, researchers, short term scholars, and dependents.

OISA staff maintain membership in NAFSA: Association of International Educators, which includes access to the NAFSA Advisor’s Manual 360. We participate in regional and national conferences; maintain relevant professional networks; retain expert legal counsel (via Ware Immigration and Dentons Davis Brown Law Firm); and monitor changes that impact international Grinnellians.

To make an appointment, call 641-269-3703 or use the calendar links on our staff page.

OISA on GrinnellShare (Login Required)

F-1 student and alumni handouts offer detailed information about:

  • F-1 compliance
  • internships and curricular practical training (CPT)
  • optional practical training (OPT)
  • mid-program departure and returns
  • international study and travel
  • non-resident tax returns
  • state ID or driving licenses
  • consulting an attorney regarding immigration and/or criminal matters
  • H-1B basics;
  • etc.

Faculty and staff partners can access information about how international Grinnellians are impacted by culture and visa status as well as information for departments who wish to host J exchange visitors (students, professors, researchers, short-term scholars, and dependents).

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