Apply | Passports and Visas | Current International Students
What do I need to do?
- Discuss student interest and options
- NOTE: In case of third party programs, student initiates third party program application
- Student meets with academic advisor to discuss study abroad and seek approval for study abroad courses for transfer back to UGF
- Registrar reviews student application and reviews courses to be transferred back from study abroad experience. Grades earned on off-campus study will be calculated into the student’s cumulative GPA
- Financial Aid reviews student application and reviews student financial aid package for the study abroad period
- Students register for study abroad semester by taking either TRV 355, 365, 375, or 376 (link to attached document saved as “Travel Abroad course descriptions”). Students remain enrolled as full-time students at the University of Great Falls and pay the comprehensive fees for tuition while participating in off-campus semester programs in order to receive credit toward graduation for their studies. The required course load while on off-campus study is 12 to 15 semester credits. It is not the number of classes but the amount of credit awarded that determines the appropriate course load while off campus.
- Student pays any applicable study abroad fees
- Either obtain a passport, or make certain your passport will not expire until at least 6 months after leaving semester or year abroad!
- Do I need a student visa or any inoculations for that country?
- Remember that you are an ambassador for the United States and the University of Great Falls.
Download, print out, and turn in the following forms:
Study Abroad Approval Form
Student Worksheets, Application and Approval Forms
Click below for a printable flowchart of your Study Abroad experience.
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If you do not have a passport, get yours now! A U.S. passport is valid for 10 years, but it does take time to apply and receive one. If you do have your passport already, make sure that the name matches the name you are traveling under (marriage/divorce, etc.) Also, some countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates. This site will also answer if you need a student visa for your study experience—some countries do require one and that also takes time. Visas are issued to American citizens by a foreign country's Embassy or Consulate located in the United States. Every country has its own regulations governing the issuance of visas.
To apply for a US passport you need:
• Completed passport application Form (Form DS-11)
• Proof of U.S. citizenship (an expired U.S. passport or certified birth certificate)
• Present proof of identity (valid driver's license or military I.D.)
• Two passport photos (both identical, taken within the last six months, and measuring 2 x 2 inches)
• Your Social Security Number
• The application fee
If you need your passport quickly, you can pay an additional fee for expedited service.
Here is the US state department link:
Don’t forget that some countries may require immunizations before your arrival. Check the Center for Disease Control website:
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As an international student at the University of Great Falls, you need to know important visa information.
PDSO (Principal Designated School Official) – A PDSO is someone who works for the college, but is also authorized by the U.S. government to act for the government. A PDSO may make changes in the government system regarding a school's certification to educate foreign students.
DSO (Designated School Official) – A DSO is someone who works for the college, but is also authorized by the U.S. government to act for the government. A DSO may only make changes to student information in the government database.
I-20 – A document issued to you after your acceptance to UGF. The I-20 allows you to apply for admission to the U.S.
F-1 – Student status in regard to the visa type that is issued.
J-1 – Exchange visitor visa type issued to those interested in study for a short term, usually less than one year.
Full-time enrollment – As international students, you are required by law to take a "full course load:" 12 credit hours per semester, not including online courses. If you fall below 12 credit hours by dropping courses, you become "out of status" or illegal. When you violate status, it is a very serious matter, and it may result in your having to leave the country.
SEVIS (The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) – SEVIS is an electronic tracking system used by the U.S. government to monitor international students and scholars as they enter or leave the country or as significant events occur.
For purposes of immigration law, your passport must be valid for six months beyond the period of your approved stay in the U.S. Check your passport expiration date, and get an extension if you need one.
The F-1 visa stamp in your passport and your I-20 give you permission to apply for entry into the U.S. The visa itself has nothing to do with how long you can stay in the U.S. Do not confuse the validity of your visa stamp as being an indication of your approved period of stay here. The visa must be valid at the time of any entry to the U.S. – it does not have to be valid for you to remain in the U.S.
You should keep the stamped I-20 that will be returned to you at the port of entry to the U.S. This is a permanent record of your F-1 non-immigrant status, and you will need it for any necessary endorsements and certifications by a designated school official (DSO). Information such as transfers and employment recommendations are also recorded on the I-20. This is also used for re-entry to the U.S. after a brief visit outside the country. Your I-20 only needs to be endorsed once a year.
Maintaining status refers to your visa status. As a student with an F-1 visa, there are regulations that you must follow to continue to study in the U.S. In order to maintain student status you must:
•Remain enrolled full-time (12 credit hours or more) at the institution you are authorized to attend;
•Maintain a 2.00 GPA or better;
•Hold a valid, current I-20;
•Maintain a passport that is valid for at least six months into the future;
•Have appropriate authorization for any work and not be employed for more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session; and
•Inform the Registrar’s Office of any change of address. The DSO will update your SEVIS record.
To discuss work opportunities in full detail, please visit the Registrar’s Office. If a student is in violation of status by working without permission, dropping below 12 credits without permission, or dropping below the 2.00 GPA, he/she is no longer eligible for these benefits until reinstated to F-1 status.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as an "alternative work study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school." This means that you qualify for CPT as long as it is "an integral part of an established curriculum." CPT can be either part-time or full-time employment.
Eligibility: You must have completed nine months in F-1 status.
You may be authorized for temporary employment through Optional Practical Training (OPT) while you are still pursuing your course of study and/or after you have finished your degree. OPT must be directly related to your major area of study. The total amount of time you may spend engaging in OPT is 12 months. You may be authorized for OPT:
1.During your annual vacation and other times when school is not in session if you are currently enrolled and eligible and intend to register for the next semester;
2.While school is in session, provided that practical training does not exceed 20 hours a week;
3.After completion of course requirements (can be full-time); or
4.After graduation (can be full-time).
Eligibility: You must have been in F-1 status for at least one academic year.
Do not work-off campus without approval from the Registrar’s Office.
If you are a foreign student wishing to study at the University of Great Falls, here is the link for ISEP:
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