International Services Current Students | Webster University

Current Students

The information provided on this page is to help current international students on F-1 or J-1 visas to understand the U.S. immigration regulations and Webster University policies regarding international students. We encourage you to use this website as your first resource for information regarding your visa status. For additional information, please contact International Services at Please click on the links below and to the left of this page to familiarize yourself with the information provided.

Duration of Status (D/S)

F-1 and J-1 students will normally be admitted to the United States for "duration of status," noted as "D/S" on their passport and on I-94 Admission Record. Duration of status refers to the period that a student is pursuing a full course of study, plus any practical training authorized following completion of the course of study.

Grace Periods: Duration of status includes "grace periods" that determine how early a student can be admitted to the U.S. to begin studies, and how long the student can remain in the U.S. after completion of studies or practical training. The grace periods are:

  • 30 Days before Commencement of Study: F-1 and J-1 students may be admitted up to 30 days before the program start date listed on Form I-20.
  • 60/30 Days after completion of Study or Practical Training/Academic Training: F-1 students may remain in the United States for up to 60 days beyond the program completion date or post-completion OPT completion date. J-1 exchange students may remain in the U.S. for 30 days after completion of studies or academic training. 
  • 15 Days for Authorized Withdrawal: A student granted authorized early withdrawal may remain in the United States for up to 15 days following the withdrawal indicated in student’s SEVIS record.

Change of Level: An F-1 or J-1 student who moves from one educational level to another is considered to be maintaining status, if the change is done in a timely manner.

Annual Vacation: Likewise, an F-1 or J-1 student who is taking his or her annual vacation is considered to be maintaining status if he or she intends to register for the next term.

Cap-Gap Extension: Finally, the duration of status includes the cap-gap extension given to an F-1 student who is the beneficiary of an H-1B petition and request for change of status, whose status is automatically extended until September 30 of the current fiscal year.

 Annual Vacation

F-1 students are eligible for annual vacation and are considered to be in status during their annual vacation, if they have completed one academic year prior to taking the vacation and intends to register in the next term.

All students studying on an F-1 or J-1 visa must be enrolled full-time every term except during annual vacation.

When is a student eligible for a vacation term?

Undergraduate Students - Summer

Undergraduate students must be in school for the traditional school year, August – May. They are not required to enroll in the summer term (although they may do so if they wish).

Graduate Students – Fifth (5th) Term

Graduate Students must have been in school full-time for four (4) consecutive terms before they are eligible for an annual vacation in the fifth (5th) term. For example, a student who was enrolled full-time during Spring I, Spring II, Summer and Fall I, is eligible for an annual vacation in Fall II term. They are not required to enroll in their fifth term, but they may do so if they wish and can be part-time.

Graduate students who are eligible for vacation are required to submit Annual Vacation Form   

 Change of Major or Change of Level 


As F-1 and J-1 students you are admitted to the United States to complete a specific educational or professional objective as reflected on your I-20 or DS-2019. Therefore, if you are changing your academic program (major) or changing your degree level, it is your responsibility to request an updated new I-20 or DS-2019.  Please, notify International Recruitment and International Services of your intention to change your major or academic level, before your current I-20 or DS-2019 has expired, so that a new SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 may be processed.

A change of level may be from a Bachelor’s to a Master’s, or a Master’s to a Doctorate degree. This also includes same-level degree changes such as a second (sequential) bachelor’s or master’s degree and also a change from Master’s to Bachelors or Doctorate to Master’s degree.

Change of Major or Program

If you decide to change your current major before you complete the program, you will need a new I-20 or DS-2019 to reflect that change. To request a new I-20 or DS-2019, please submit the Change of Major or Change of Level Form to International Services.

Change of Level

Moving Up a Degree Level: If you are moving up a degree level (such as from Bachelor’s to Master’s, or Master’s to Doctorate), you must submit an International Admission Application online and all requirements to the Office of Admission.

Same-level Sequential Degree: If you are pursuing a same-level sequential degree (such as a second Bachelor’s or a second Master’s), you need to submit the Change of Major or Change of Level Form and all requirements to International Services. Upon review International Services will issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019 to reflect the changes in your program.

 Extension of Program

F-1 and J-1 students are expected to complete their educational program on or before the program end date indicated on their I-20 or DS-2019. A student who is unable to complete his or her studies by that date must apply for an extension prior to his or her program end date.


  • The student must be currently in lawful status, and must have continually maintained status.
  • The student needs to show that the delay was caused by a compelling academic reason (such as changes of major or research topics, unexpected research problems, etc.) or compelling medical reasons (documented proof is needed).
  • The student’s I-20 or DS-2019 has not yet expired. The expiration date of the I-20 is listed on item 5 and that of DS-2019 is listed on item 3.
  • Proof of sufficient funding available to meet the tuition, fees and cost-of-living expenses for the extension period you are requesting.

A delay caused by academic probation or suspension is not an acceptable reason for extension. Students who are ineligible for extension of stay are considered out of status and must apply for reinstatement.

Application Procedure

The student must contact International Services before his or her I-20 or DS-2019 expires by submitting the following documents:

  • A completed Program Extension Form signed by you and your academic advisor.
  • Financial documents indicating your ability to pay to continue your studies to the new anticipated completion date.
  • A copy of your current I-20 or DS-2019.

Once submitted, please allow 5-7 business days for processing. You will receive an email from International Services when your new I-20 or DS-2019 is ready for pick up. If you are at another U.S. campus location, your new I-20 or DS-2019 will be mailed either to your campus main office or to you directly. 

Shorten Program

An F-1 or J-1 student who is completing his or her program of studies earlier than the current estimated program end date on his or her I-20 or DS-2019 needs to get his or her SEVIS record and immigration documents updated. Students will need to complete the Shorten Program Form to request International Recruitment and International Services to shorten the end date to their new completion date. The form needs to be signed by your academic advisor as well.

If you plan to apply for post-completion optional practical training (OPT) or academic training, then you don’t need to complete the Shorten Program Form separately. Instead, use either the Optional Practical Training Request Form or Academic Training Request Form. Your program will be shortened with your recommendation for employment authorization.  

Transfer from Webster University

A student who is maintaining status may transfer from one school to another by following proper transfer procedure. An F-1 or J-1 student is not permitted to remain in the U.S. when transferring between schools except when the student will begin classes at the new school or program within 5 months of transferring out of the current school or within 5 months of the program completion date on the I-20, whichever is earlier.  For a student who is engaged in post-completion OPT or academic training, he or she must be able start classes within 5 months of transferring out of the school that recommended OPT or the academic training.

If you are out of status you are generally ineligible for school transfer except when the school you are transferring to is willing to assist you to file for reinstatement. Please consult the international student services office of the school you are transferring to, to find out if they are willing to assist you with the reinstatement application.

To transfer schools, an F-1 or J-1 student must notify Webster University of his or her intent to transfer, and submit a copy of his or her acceptance letter to International Services. We shall transfer your SEVIS record to the new school.

School transfer must be initiated before the end date of the 60-day grace period (for F-1 students) or the 30-day grace period (for J-1 students).

Transfer Procedure

  • Notify International Services of your intent to transfer by completing the Transfer-Out Form.
  • Submit a copy of your acceptance letter to International Services. 
  • Provide International Services your transfer release date. The transfer release date is the date when your I-20 or DS-2019 SEVIS record will be available to your new school. Webster University will no longer have access to your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 record. It should be set after the end date of the current semester/term.
  • Finally, contact your new school to obtain your new I-20 or DS-2019
  • You must report to the new school within 15 days of the program start date on the new school’s I-20

    Withdrawal and Leave of Absence


If you decide to withdraw or take a leave of absence from Webster University please contact International Services prior to leaving the U.S. or dropping your classes. You are required to leave the United States within 15 days of withdrawing from classes or program.

Withdrawal means you are leaving, you do not intend to return to study at Webster University in the future, and you will be departing the United States.

Leave of Absence means you are taking a temporary break from your studies at Webster University and you are departing the U.S., but you intend to return to Webster University in the future. You cannot spend your leave of absence time in the United States. You must leave the U.S. as soon your request is approved.


If you are withdrawing from Webster University and have informed International Services in advance, your current I-20 or DS-2019 SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized early withdrawal and you will not be able to use it ever again to re-enter the U.S. You will be required to leave the United States within 15 days of the termination of your SEVIS record.

Leave of Absence

If you must take a break from studies during a period that is not your annual vacation, then you need to obtain permission from International Services before taking the leave of absence. However, students must first meet with their academic advisors to discuss their intent to take a leave of absence from studies.

Withdrawal Procedure and Departure from the United States: Complete and return Withdrawal and Leave of Absence Request Form to International Recruitment and International Services. Then contact your academic advisor to withdraw from classes. There are two kinds of leave of absence, namely:

Leave of Absence from the U.S. of Less than Five (5) Months 

An F-1 or J-1 student who has been absent from the United States for less than 5 months may re-enter with a current I-20 or DS-2019 and a valid travel signature. Therefore, get a travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 before you leave.

Termination of I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS record: Your Form I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized withdrawal upon approval of your leave of absence by International Services. You are required to leave the United States within 15 days of this action.

Proof of Departure: Before and after you leave the U.S. you must provide International Services with a proof of your departure such as a copy of your airline ticket, your boarding pass for the international flight, or the arrival stamp inside your passport showing you have entered into another country. Please send these documents to International Services via email to

Returning to Webster University: If you are returning to Webster University, please contact International Services at least 60 days prior to your return. We shall then submit a request to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to reactivate your SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 record. You must not attempt to re-enter the United States until after you have received confirmation that your I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS record has been reactivated.

You may re-enter the U.S. as soon as your I-20 has been reactivated. Please ensure that you have a valid passport, a valid F-1 visa, and your current I-20/DS-2019 with a valid travel signature.

Leave of Absence from the U.S. of more than Five (5) Months

If you are going to be absent from the U.S. for more than 5 months, your I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS record will be terminated for authorized withdrawal. When you want to return to resume your study at Webster University, you must contact International  Services at least 4 months before your return and request a new Form I-20/DS-2019. Please submit to International Services a current financial document showing you have available the funds to pay for your educational and living expenses for one academic year. We shall issue to you a new I-20 or DS-2019 after receiving the financial document. You must pay a new SEVIS fee based on your new I-20 or DS-2019 and apply for a new visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy before you can return.

Please Note: You may re-enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date printed on your new I-20 or DS-2019.

Check-in: All international students returning from a leave of absence must check-in with International  Services after returning to Webster University. You should bring or send copies of your I-20/DS-2019, passport, and I-94 Admission record.