Your citizenship and immigration status can impact your access to a variety of opportunities, services, and benefits - on and off campus. Most international Grinnellians are present on an F-1 visa, but we also enroll students in other statuses. OISA staff are familiar with many of the unique nuances that a student will face if you don’t hold U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status, and we hope that you will feel confident bringing your questions and concerns to us! 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, at your own expense. The OISA can help to offer referrals for students who need additional, more specialized assistance.
The OISA is responsible for the institution’s compliance with the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). We teach and advise F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors and dependents, to help them remain in lawful status. All three staff members are certified Designated School Officials (P/DSOs), supporting F-1 Student compliance. Two of us are also authorized as Responsible Officers (A/RO), supporting the Exchange Visitor Program for J-1 Students, Professors, Researchers, Short Term Scholars, and J-2 dependents.
To remain fluent in regulatory issues, and to support our SEVIS compliance, OISA staff maintain membership in NAFSA: Association of International Educators. This includes membership access to the NAFSA Advisor’s Manual 360, which is an excellent resource for advisors. We participate in regional and national conferences, maintain relevant professional networks, and we pay close attention to changes and updates that can impact international Grinnellians.
**To make an appointment, call 641-269-3700 (from campus, only 3700 is needed)
OISA Advising Handouts
OISA Advising Handouts are available on GrinnellShare (login required):
F-1 topics include information about Compliance; Internships and Curricular Practical Training; Optional Practical Training (OPT, and STEM OPT); and SEVIS Transfer, Study Abroad, or Program Extension Procedures.
General topics include information about securing a State ID or Driving Licenses; Tax Compliance; Consulting an Attorney (immigration or criminal matters); H-1B Basics; and information re. Other Non-Citizen Visa Categories.
The OISA GrinnellShare site also hosts information for academic departments who wish to host J-1 Exchange Visitors (Students, Professors, Researchers, Short Term Scholars, and dependents).
Other Helpful Links
- TRAVISA can help you secure entry or transit visas to other countries around the globe.
- ACLU Know Your Rights (tips for interacting with police and understanding your rights in the U.S.)
- Foreign Consulates (inside the USA) and US Consulates (outside the USA)
- I-94 Arrival Departure Record (print a copy each time you re-enter the U.S.)
- Social Security Number Application & Guidance
- Individual Tax ID Number (ITIN – if you do not qualify for a SSN)
- Traveling to CANADA or MEXICO
- U.S. Department of State Diversity Lottery
- Davis Brown Law Firm’s Immigration Law Blog
- UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student Program
- American Immigration Lawyer Search