Frequently Asked Questions
I will complete my program of study and intend to return home. I do not wish to apply for Optional Practical Training or continue my study for a new degree. How long can I remain in the United States after completing my program?
Prospective Students - Q&A
UCF offers 90 bachelor's degree programs, 91 master's programs, and 29 doctoral programs.
Click here for information and listing of bachelor's degree programs:
Click here for information and listing of graduate programs:
You will need to apply online to the university and submit your academic application materials to the undergraduate or graduate admission office, whichever applies to you. At the same time, you need to provide the International Services Center (ISC) with several immigration documents and forms. Please click here for detailed information about UCF application requirements: http://www.intl.ucf.edu/index.cfm?RsrcID=19&SubCatID=78.
You will need to apply online to the university and submit your academic application materials to the undergraduate or graduate admission office, whichever applies to you. At the same time, you need to provide the International Services Center (ISC) with several immigration documents and forms. This will include a UCF Transfer Clearance Form signed by an immigration adviser from your local institution with a transfer release date. Please click here for detailed information about UCF application requirements: http://www.intl.ucf.edu/index.cfm?RsrcID=19&SubCatID=78.
International students interested in obtaining an F-1 visa cannot apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. Students must apply for admission into a degree program.
Application deadline dates differ per semester of enrollment. Please view the deadlines here: http://www.intl.ucf.edu/index.cfm?RsrcID=19&SubCatID=78.
International students must show proof of having funds available to cover the entire academic year. These totals are based on 12 credit hours for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours for graduate students for fall and spring enrollment. For the current required amounts, please refer to the Certification of Finances Form.
The SEVIS Form I-20 is a document required by United States embassies around the world for the issuance of your F-1 visa. As part of the application process, you will have to complete an I-20 Request form, which can be downloaded from our website. Once you have completed the entire application process and have been admitted to the university, we will mail you the SEVIS I-20 along with other information and documents.
The $200 SEVIS fee is payable one time for each single educational program in which an F-1 student participates. Payment is required and used by the United States Department of Homeland Security to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. This program makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the United States. The fee also funds the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a computer system employed to track international students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. The fee must be paid and received three business days before your visa appointment with the embassy. You can pay the fee online by going to www.FMJfee.com.
How can my spouse and children join me in the United States for the duration of my studies as an F-1 student?
Your spouse and/or children may be permitted to enter the United States on an F-2 visa. When you submit your I-20 request form during the application process, complete the dependent information section so we can issue a SEVIS I-20 Form for each of your dependents. It's important to note that you must provide proof of sufficient financial support for your dependents in addition to your own expenses. You will need an additional $3,000 (U.S.) per year for your spouse and $3,000 (U.S.) for each dependent child.
UCF accepts international transcript evaluations from the following two agencies:
World Education Services, Inc.
Bowling Green Station
P.O. Box 5087
New York, NY 10274-5087
Telephone: (212) 966-6311
Fax: (212) 739-6100
Josef Silny and Associates, Inc
7101 SW 102 Avenue
Miami, FL 33173
Telephone: (305) 273-1616
Fax: (305) 273-1338
For specifics about transcript requirements for undergraduate students, please click here: http://www.admissions.sdes.ucf.edu/apply-now.asp?FirstSub=internationalstudinfo.
For graduate students, please click here: http://www.graduate.ucf.edu/pagegen/index.cfm?PageID=9.
Students whose first language is not English may be required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Please review UCF's admission requirements for detailed information on who should take the exam, minimum scores, and other test requirements.
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
UCF TOEFL Code: 5233
Yes. The IELTS exam is also acceptable for meeting the English language proficiency requirement. Please visit http://www.ielts.org/candidates.aspx for more information.
The Center for Multilingual Multicultural Studies (CMMS) at UCF offers excellent English language programs to meet various needs. Please click here for additional information and application processes: http://www.cmms.ucf.edu.
Besides assistantships, UCF offers fellowships and tuition support for selected international graduate students. The most important thing to remember is to apply early for admission. The FALL PRIORITY date is the application deadline for applicants who wish to be considered for university fellowships and assistantships for the next academic year. To learn more about the financial assistance available to our graduate students, please click here: http://www.graduate.ucf.edu/sitemap/index.cfm?RsrcID=52&SubCatID=124.
UCF students have a choice of several types of housing arrangements. These include on-campus housing, off-campus university-affiliated housing, and off-campus apartment housing. UCF's on-campus housing consists of suite-style residence halls and apartment-style residence halls. All on-campus housing is wired for Internet service, fully carpeted, and fully air-conditioned. For additional information about housing, please visit the Housing and Residence Life Website or view our International Student Survival Guide section on housing.
You may enter the United States within 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20. Students are advised to arrive no later than one week before classes start.
Once you have been admitted to UCF, you will receive an e-mail invitation to register for the mandatory immigration session. This session will provide you with a clear explanation of how to maintain your F-1 status. Students are advised to register for the session as soon as the invitation is received. The session will have to be completed prior to registering for classes.
Upon your arrival, and in order to register for classes, you are required to report to the International Services Center. Please remember to bring your immigration documents (I-94 card, visa, passport, I-20 form) and your local street address. There are additional steps you will have to complete after you report to our offices and in order to register for classes. They are outlined on the "post-arrival checklist" included on the inside cover of your I-20 packet.
You are required to provide a foreign address from your home country in order to maintain your F-1 status.
UCF offers more than 350 registered student organizations and groups, which are based on many aspects of student life. For a list of these groups and contact information, please visit: Office of Student Involvement.
The International Services Center at UCF also offers a wide range of activities and events specifically designed for new and current international services. Visit http://www.intl.ucf.edu.
Current Students - Q&A
You will need to be admitted to a program of study at the University of Central Florida and be issued a Form I-20. A change to F-1 status can be done either through reentry into the United States after having obtained an F-1 entry visa stamp from a U.S. embassy/consulate or by submitting an application for a change of status to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. See an ISC adviser for more information on the procedure.
I received an approval from USCIS for my change of status to F-1. If I return home, do I need to have a valid F-1 entry visa stamp in my passport to reenter the United States?
Yes. To reenter the United States you must have a valid F-1 entry visa stamp (unless you are a citizen of Canada).
F-1 students who have a valid I-20 from the University of Central Florida and who are enrolled may be eligible to work on-campus. Students transferring to the University of Central Florida from another U.S. college or multilingual multicultural program must have their transfer authorized by ISC before they are eligible for employment. Employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to full-time during semester breaks and the summer vacation period.
Any off-campus employment requires specific work authorization, even during the summer vacation period. You must meet eligibility requirements for employment authorization. See an ISC adviser regarding work options and eligibility requirements or visit "Employment" in the "Students" section of the ISC website.
I am an F-1 student and I want to gain work experience off-campus in a job related to my field of study. How can I accomplish this?
You may be able to obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization to work in a job related to your field of study. See an ISC adviser regarding eligibility requirements and the application process.
I am an F-1 student and I will be graduating soon. How can I receive permission to work in the United States after graduation?
If you are completing your program of study, you may be eligible to apply for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). This application must be recommended by ISC and approved by USCIS. The employment authorization will allow you to work in a job related to your field of study. USCIS allows you to apply up to 90 days prior to your graduation date and up to 60 days after your graduate date. See an ISC adviser regarding eligibility requirements, the application process, and deadlines.
USCIS defines part-time as working 20 hours or less per week. Part-time CPT does not affect your eligibility for OPT, nor is there any limit on the number of semesters that you may engage in part-time CPT before graduating. Full-time CPT is defined as working 21 hours or more per week. If you accumulate 365 days or more of full-time CPT authorization, you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
I have been issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card for post-completion Optional Practical Training. Can I leave the United States and reenter?
In order to re-enter the U.S. while on OPT you will be required to have a valid unexpired F-1 visa stamp in your passport, an active Form I-20 which has been signed for travel by an ISC immigration adviser within six months prior to the re-entry date, a valid EAD Card, a letter from employer on company letterhead confirming you are returning for employment and a valid passport (valid for at least six months beyond the re-entry date to the U.S.). If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa while on OPT, please contact an ISC adviser for more information.
I will complete my program of study and intend to return home. I do not wish to apply for Optional Practical Training or continue my study for a new degree. How long can I remain in the United States after completing my program?
If you have completed a program of study, you are allowed a 60-day grace period from the date of your completion. During the grace period you can travel within the United States, but you cannot leave and re-enter as an F-1 student. You must permanently depart the United States within the 60-day grace period to avoid "visa overstay." Please inform an ISC adviser of your permanent departure and your departure date for SEVIS reporting.
ISC is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Students can see an adviser during these hours. Please contact ISC (407-823-2337) to schedule an appointment. Most of the information and forms are available on the ISC website. Please review the ISC website before visiting your ISC adviser so you can ask relevant questions.
Yes. In accordance with 8 CFR 214.2 (f)(10)(ii)(A)(3), a graduate student must have completed all course requirements for the degree (excluding thesis or dissertation) in order to apply for OPT. Please see an ISC adviser for additional information and eligibility requirements.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Are there any other eligibility requirements for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
Under the new SEVIS regulations, eligibility for OPT and CPT begins after completing one full academic year of full-time enrollment at a SEVP-certified U.S. institution.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows you to apply up to 90 days prior to your graduation date and up to 60 days after your graduation date, provided that the application is received within 30 days of your ISC adviser issuing a new I-20 recommending OPT.
E-filing your OPT application is not recommended at this time.
The current USCIS application fee for OPT is $340 (US dollars).
USCIS accepts personal check/money order/bank check for OPT applications.
While on post-completion OPT, you must continue to report any name or address changes to ISC because we continue to maintain your F-1 record until OPT ends. Please complete the “OPT Status Form” found under “Employment” in the "Students" section of the ISC website and submit it to ISC. Your ISC adviser will update your address in SEVIS.
No. Proof of employment is not required in order to apply for OPT.
Review the "OPT Checklist" under “Employment" in the "Students" section of the ISC website. This checklist describes the forms and documents you will need and other information about applying for OPT.
Yes. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new regulations for OPT that took effect on January 1, 2003. You are now eligible for 12 months of practical training for EACH change to a higher educational level. For example, a student in F-1 status who enters as a bachelor's degree student is eligible for up to 12 months of practical training upon completion of the bachelor's degree and ANOTHER 12 months upon completion of the next higher degree (master's).
Yes. However, if you decide later to obtain the remaining practical training, you will need to submit a new application to the USCIS Service Center for your new Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and pay the application fee again.
Processing time at the USCIS Service Center is highly variable and difficult to predict. It can take up to 90 days and sometimes longer. Therefore, you are urged to apply early to allow sufficient time for you to receive your EAD card.
No. EAD cards for students are not processed at USCIS (INS) local or district offices. Cards are only processed by mail at the USCIS Service Center. In case your application is not approved and an EAD card is not issued within 90 days of your application, please check with the ISC adviser for further assistance with your application.
Yes. You can include ISC’s mailing address on the I-765 application. Please contact your ISC adviser for assistance.
What if my employer wants to hire me for longer than the authorized period of my practical training?
Your employer may wish to consider filing a petition for H-1B Temporary Worker status for you. This status is good for up to six years and is usually approved for three years at a time. The H1B petition requires approval from both the USCIS and the Department of Labor. The entire application may take two to four months to process, or longer. Therefore, it is recommended that you file an application well before your practical training period expires so that there will be no interruption in your employment.
Yes. Please bring your EAD card to the ISC so that a photocopy can be made for your UCF file. Further, you are required to report any changes of address, legal name, employer’s name and address, and/or any interruption of employment within 10 days of the change. To report these changes, please submit to ISC the “OPT Status Form” found under “Employment” in the "Students" section of the ISC website.
Please Note: Employment cannot begin until the date authorized for practical training on the EAD.
You must obtain your EAD card prior to departure. Your EAD will say "not valid for reentry" on the front. This means that the card, by itself, is not a reentry document. It must be accompanied by a valid passport, a valid F-1 visa, an active Form I-20 which has been signed for travel by an ISC immigration adviser within six months prior to your re-entry date, and a letter from your employer confirming you are returning for employment (on company letterhead).
Please Note: If you will need to obtain a new F-1 visa and are not employed, such travel may be risky. There have been cases where students who had completed their degree programs were denied a new visa and were not permitted to reenter the United States. Even if your visa is still valid, USCIS regulations state that reentry is permitted only to "resume authorized employment." Therefore, students who do not yet have jobs take a risk if they travel outside the United States. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their travel plans with an ISC immigration adviser.
After you complete your OPT, you have a 60-day grace period to remain in the U.S.
Currently the UCF Health Insurance is only available to students that are enrolled in classes.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined as alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the University of Central Florida. CPT gives F-1 students the possibility to work off-campus. It may be required or optional, but it must be a related and integral part of the student’s academic program. CPT is typically done on a part-time basis (up to 20 hours per week) during the school year and on a full-time basis (over 20 hours per week) during vacation periods. Eligibility for CPT must first be determined by an ISC immigration adviser and then authorized prior to students beginning employment.
- An F-1 student must be in status at the time of the CPT authorization application and must have been in full-time student status for one academic year preceding the CPT application. Exception: Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participation in an internship may apply prior to meeting the one academic year requirement.
- The CPT employment must be directly related to the student’s major area of studies. CPT employment must be approved by either the Co-op Education Office of the University of Central Florida if it is a co-op experience or by the college internship adviser if it is a required internship.
- F-1 students on full-time or part-time CPT must be registered full-time. Students may not take a reduced course load and then apply for CPT unless they are in their last semester at UCF. The ISC immigration adviser will determine the eligibility for full-time CPT.
- Students who are finished with their program requirements and who are merely delaying their graduation to make use of CPT will not be granted CPT.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines “required” as the following: “Everyone in a degree program must do an internship or they will not receive the degree.” Some programs at UCF have required internships, including education, hospitality management, physical therapy and nursing.
If CPT is not required by the program, it must be an integral part of the program, which means that it must be related to the major that the student is pursuing. Sometimes CPT can be connected to the curriculum that students have taken in the previous semester.
The Office of Experiential Learning (Co-op Education) is an academic program that verifies CPT’s relevance to the academic program and establishes cooperative agreements with local businesses and organizations for the placement of students involved in internship or co-op learning experiences. In order to apply for CPT authorization at the International Services Center, F-1 students must receive a co-op letter from the Office of Experiential Learning.
You must have an offer of employment to apply for CPT. In addition, this job offer must be approved and supported by a letter issued by either the Office of Experiential Learning at UCF or your academic department.
The International Services Center authorizes CPT for one semester at a time. It is the student’s responsibility to re-apply for CPT prior to the beginning of each semester.
You are authorized for specific dates of employment on your I-20. You should not “begin” CPT employment before the start date or continue working after the end date. If your CPT authorization is close to expiration, you must re-apply for CPT and obtain new authorization to continue your employment. If you work beyond the end date of CPT, you will be working illegally as it is considered unauthorized employment. In this case, you will become out of status and will not be eligible for any F-1 benefits until you re-gain F-1 status.
If you change your employer while on CPT, you need to file a new CPT application. CPT is employer-specific; you can only work for the company that you have authorization to work for on your I-20.
F-1 students must complete and bring the items listed on the CPT Checklist when they come for an appointment with an ISC adviser to obtain CPT work authorization. The “CPT Checklist” can be found under “Employment” in the "Students" section of the ISC website.
A full-time course load for undergraduate students is 12 undergraduate credit hours and for graduate students it is 9 graduate credit hours.
Unless this is your last semester at UCF, please see an ISC adviser before making the decision to register for less than a full-time course load or withdrawing from a class that will result in less than a full-time course load. The ISC adviser will be able to determine if your reason for falling below full-time enrollment is valid under F-1 visa regulations. You will be asked to complete a “F-1 Student Reduced Course Load Request” Form and to obtain a letter from your academic adviser verifying your specific situation. A Reduced Course Load due to medical condition requires medical documentation from either a licensed physician or licensed clinical psychologist.
I am working on my thesis or dissertation, and my academic adviser said that I do not have to enroll full-time this semester. Do I still need to submit something to the ISC office?
Even if your department does not require you to be enrolled full-time, you may still need to submit a Reduced Course Load Form with your department’s approval to the ISC office. Eligible graduate students must complete the “F-1 Student Reduced Course Load Request Form" to request that 3 credit hours of thesis be considered as full-time enrollment. Graduate students who are completing their thesis or dissertation must comply with the College of Graduate Studies policies for students on thesis or dissertation.
I want my spouse and/or children to join me in the United States. What do I need to do?
You will need to request a dependent I-20 from the ISC office. Your dependents must apply to the U.S. embassy or consulate for F-2 entry visa stamps. They must present the dependent I-20, evidence of financial resources, copies of your immigration documents (ie. I-20, I-94 card and F-1 visa), proof of relationship (ie. marriage or birth certificates), and evidence of intent to return home. They may also be asked to present a copy of your transcript and evidence of your current enrollment.
Your spouse is not able to enroll for classes as an F-2 visa holder. Individuals in F-2 status can apply for admission to a program of study and file for a change in status to F-1 before the program begins. F-1 status will need to be approved by USCIS before your spouse can enroll or work on campus.
No. Individuals holding F-2 status are not, under any circumstances, allowed to work in the United States. This includes student positions and assistantships on campus.
I am not able to complete my program by the completion date noted in number 5 of my I-20. What should I do?
You must apply for a program extension before your I-20 expires. Do not allow your I-20 to expire without completing your program. That will result in the automatic loss of your legal status. See an ISC adviser regarding the procedure to apply for a program extension.
Your I-20 should always reflect your current degree program. If, however, you are pursuing a master's program concurrently with a doctoral program and you wish to participate in practical training based on the master's program, you should not request a new I-20 to reflect your doctoral program. Please see your ISC adviser regarding the new I-20.
Yes. Your I-20 should reflect your current program. See your ISC adviser regarding the new I-20.
To request a new I-20, you must come to the ISC office and submit an I-20 Request Form. A Certification of Finances form may need to be included with your I-20 Request Form even if you have already submitted one in the past.
If your change of status has been approved while in the United States, your Notice of Action will include a new I-94 card. You will need to apply for a new U.S. entry visa if you leave the United States and wish to re-enter.
Apply at a U.S. embassy abroad. Please contact the U.S. embassy in your home country for guidelines about applying for a U.S. F-1 entry visa.
Please contact the ISC office immediately for assistance with this matter.
Yes, but it is recommended that you renew your passport at your embassy in the United States at least six months before it expires.
You may be able to renew your passport at your embassy in the United States if your home country has an embassy here and provides that service. Visit the "Useful Links" section the ISC website for a listing of the foreign embassies in the United States.
Employment and Taxation - Q&A
Tax Guidance and Compliance
Q&As adapted from the University of Texas with permission.
What happens if I fail to file my taxes?
If you owe taxes and don't file, the IRS can assess penalty and interest and seize your U.S. bank assets for repayment. Fines and penalties can often amount to more than the original tax debt. There can also be immigration consequences for failing to file taxes. Applicants for permanent residency green cards are frequently asked to show proof of tax filing for previous years in the U.S.
I'm an F-1 or J-1 student and I had no U.S. earned income or scholarships for 2004. Do I need to file?
Yes. You must file IRS Form 8843. Dependents in F-2 and J-2 status must also file Form 8843.
I only arrived in the United States in December of 2004, and I didn't work. Do I still have to file Form 8843?
Yes. If you were in the United States even one day in 2004, you must file Form 8843.
I had bank interest on my checking or savings accounts. Is that earned income and must I file other tax forms?
No. Simple bank interest and interest on CDs are not considered earned income for nonresident aliens, and therefore, are not reportable. Your bank generally reports this interest on Form 1099, and you should retain this form for your records, but do not mail it with your tax return. If you file taxes as a resident alien, bank interest is taxable income.
Yes. If you had any U.S. source earned income or scholarship, you will need to file IRS Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR and Form 8843.
I'm married and have a child who was born in the United States. Can I claim personal exemptions for my spouse and child?
Generally, no only students and scholars from certain countries can claim exemptions for their dependents (Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan and India).
I tried to get a Social Security number for my spouse or dependent child and was refused. What do I do?
For dependents not eligible for a Social Security number, you must apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Complete Form W-7 and attach with supporting documents that are then included with your tax return. ITIN numbers are for tax filing purposes only.
I am from one of the countries that can claim an exemption for my spouse and/or child. Can I claim them if they don't have a Social Security number or an ITIN?
No. In order to claim personal exemptions for dependents, they must have a valid Social Security number or an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).
Not as a rule. Only those students and scholars in nonresident tax statuses who are from one of the countries that can claim dependents (Mexico, Canada, Korea, Japan and India) can claim the Child Care Tax Credit.
I am a nonresident for tax purposes. Can I claim the HOPE or Tuition Tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit?
No. Nonresident aliens cannot claim the HOPE or Tuition Tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit. Once you qualify to file as a resident alien for tax purposes, you may be eligible to claim these credits.
I have a student ID starting with the numbers 997 or 995 or 999 that looks just like a Social Security number. Can I use this number as my taxpayer identification number?
No. You must have a valid Social Security number or an ITIN (Individual Tax Payer Identification Number).
Not necessarily. If you are from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States or you received a U.S.-based scholarship or fellowship, you may also receive Form 1042-S from Payroll. This form is generally mailed about one month later than Form W-2, and you will need to have both forms before you can file.
My country has a tax treaty with the U.S. and I earned below $5,000, which is the amount of wages exempt by my treaty. Do I still need to file?
Yes. You must file Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR. In the case where you earned more than the exempt amount of your treaty, you may receive both a Form W-2 and a Form 1042-S, or you may just receive only a Form 1042-S.
I had a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA) at UCF. Is this the same as a scholarship or fellowship?
No. GTA and GRA salary payments are not considered scholarships or fellowships. Income from GTA and GRA positions and tuition remission is considered earned income and is taxable.
No. Only those students who had bona fide scholarships or fellowships (no work was required as a condition of receiving the award) may deduct expenses paid for tuition, books and fees up to the amount of the scholarship or fellowship.
Normally no, equipment, such as a computer or educational supplies that are not required course items, is not a deductible expense. If it were required for everyone in a particular class or major, then the expense would be deductible.
Yes. Due to a tax treaty provision, ONLY students from India may claim the standard deduction on the nonresident forms. For 2003 the standard deduction is $4,850 single or married filing separately.
Note: Visiting scholars and researchers from India cannot claim the standard deduction.
Yes, but they are limited itemized deductions for nonresident aliens. You can claim itemized deductions for state and local taxes, charitable contributions to churches or charities, casualty and theft losses, certain unreimbursed job expenses and tax preparation fees. For those claiming only deduction for state and local taxes, you may use Form 1040NR-EZ. For those claiming other itemized deductions, you must use Form 1040NR.
Yes. Always keep copies of your tax return, W-2, 1042-S, 1099 bank interest statements and any other pertinent forms as proof that you have filed. The IRS can audit individual returns for up to three years following the filing deadline and your tax records are essential in proving your case.
If you are filing Form 1040NR-EZ or Form 1040NR, the deadline to file is April 15. If you are filing Form 8843 only, the deadline to file is June 15.
If you owe taxes, make checks payable to United States Treasury. Make sure that your Social Security number is on the check and that in the memo section you write "For 2004 income taxes."
Forms 1040NR-EZ, 1040NR and Forms 8843 should be mailed to: Internal Revenue Service Center Philadelphia, PA 19255
File Form 4868, "Extension of Time to File," which extends the deadline to file until August 15. If you owe any taxes, though, you must still mail your estimated tax payment by April 15, or you will be assessed penalty and interest as of April 15 on any payment owed.
I need tax forms or additional help or information. Where can I get the necessary forms or assistance?
For questions about refund checks, call 1-800-829-4477 or 1-215-516-2000 (not toll free). For problem resolution, call Technical Services Division of the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. To download tax forms and publications, go to the IRS website at(http://www.irs.ustreas.gov/formspubs).
Make sure UCF Human Resources and the International Services Center Employment Coordinator have your foreign address so that your Form W-2 and Form 1042-S can be mailed to you. Download the appropriate forms and instructions and file your U.S. taxes from abroad. Save copies of all forms submitted for your records.
Yes. F and J visa holders are not subject to Social Security or Medicare taxes as long as they are considered a nonresident alien for tax purposes (IRS Publication 519). Refund of these taxes may be requested from your employer. If your employer is unable to refund these taxes, you may file Form 843 and Form 8316 for a refund from the IRS.
I worked or attended a university in another state and paid state taxes. How do I report this on my federal tax return and am I required to file a state tax return?
You may claim an itemized deduction on Form 1040NR-EZ (line 11) or Form 1040NR (line 36) for any state taxes withheld. You may also be required to file a state income tax return in addition to the Federal Income Tax Return, if you earned income in a state that withholds state taxes. Florida does not have state withholding tax.
Information for Departments
I am hiring an international student. What paperwork needs to be completed?
If it is the student’s first time being hired on the UCF Payroll, the student must contact the Employment Coordinator at ISC to set up an appointment to complete the hiring paperwork.
I have an international student who has applied for a Social Security number, but he hasn’t received it yet. Can he start working?
The Social Security card for an international student does not provide the student with work authorization. The passport, I-94 Card and I-20 fulfill the requirements of the I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form. Therefore, the student does not have to have a Social Security number in order to start working. However, the student must have a Social Security number in order to be paid.
During Fall and Spring Semesters, they can only work 20 hours a week. During school breaks and summer, they are eligible to work 40 hours a week.
They may continue working if they have an Optional Practical Training (OPT) card effective the day after they graduate. If not, they must be taken off of Payroll until that time. They must contact the Employment Coordinator at ISC to update their records. With the OPT card; they may work 40 hours a week.
I have a student who has been working for me since she was an undergraduate. She is now a graduate student. What paperwork needs to be completed?
At a minimum, the I-9 form will need to be updated with the student’s new I-20 with the Employment Coordinator at ISC. The student will have to be terminated off of a SARF (Student Assistant Recommendation Form) and hired on a PAF (Personnel Action Form). A new hire package may need to be completed if the one on file is less than a year old. The student will need to contact the Employment Coordinator at ISC to schedule an appointment.
H-1B Visa Information
Content was adapted from FRAGOMEN resources with permission.
What is a H-1B nonimmigrant visa?
An H-1B visa allows individuals to come to the United States and perform services in a "specialty occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry for the occupation in the United States” (INA 214[I]; 8 USC 1184[I]).
The position offered to an H-1B worker must require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a specialized field, and the candidate must possess a bachelor's degree or equivalent in a specialized field. Foreign degrees must be translated and evaluated by a third party educational evaluation service to ensure the equivalency will be recognized by USCIS.
If the degree is in an unrelated field, the candidate must present complete transcripts, a detailed résumé describing previous employment history, and letters from previous employers confirming the candidate’s work experience in the specialized field. The education and work experience will then need to be translated and evaluated to determine if they are recognized as equivalent to a U.S. degree in the specialized field.
If the candidate does not possess a degree, USCIS will recognize as the equivalent three years of full-time professional work experience in the field for every year of college missing. In other words, if the candidate has no college education, then he or she will need to possess 12 years of full time, related work experience.
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) must be filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) and approved before an H-1B petition can be filed. The LCA attests to the fact that the employer is paying the prevailing wage for the H-1B position, that working conditions will not be affected, that there is no work stoppage affecting the occupation, and that notice of the employer's intent to hire an H-1B worker has been posted at the worksite. In certain situations, an LCA may already have been approved for multiple workers for the same position and location. Petitions consist of an application form, employer letter and other supporting documents including copies of the candidate employee’s educational credentials. Documents that support the H-1B petition may have to be translated and evaluated by a credentials service.
Once the LCA has been approved and all of the documents are in order, the H-1B petition can be filed with USCIS. Upon approval, USCIS will issue a Notice of Approval that may be used to obtain the H-1B visa.
It usually takes USCIS from 120 to 180 days to process an H-1B visa application. However, processing times for the H-1B visa petition vary according to the availability of information to prepare the petition, government interruptions and backlogs at the Department of Labor and U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. These government-processing times are beyond the control of the law firm and International Services Center. To check on current processing times, log on https://egov.immigration.gov/cris/jsps/Processtimes.jsp?SeviceCenter=Texas.
Expedited or Premium Processing is available for H-1B visa petitions for an additional fee of $1,000. If Premium Processing Service is chosen, the USCIS Service Center will process the petition in 15 calendar days, beginning from the date the Service Center receives the petition. If the Service Center does not process the petition within the 15-day period, it will issue a refund of the additional fee.
Those individuals who have temporary work authorization based on their student visa status (Optional Practical Training) may begin employment prior to the approval of the H-1B petition provided they possess a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS.
If you are already in H-1B status with another employer, you may begin to work once the H-1B petition has been filed. This is referred to as H-1B portability. The timing of your start date under portability and the filing of the H-1B petition must be carefully coordinated. You must not begin your new employment until you have been advised to do so. Also, it is not advisable to leave your prior employment too soon. USCIS generally takes the position that there should not be a gap in employment. There is no grace period for gaps in H-1B employment though the USCIS may exercise discretion to allow such a break under certain circumstances.
If you are in the United States in another status, you may not begin your employment with the university until the petition filed on your behalf has been approved, and you have received a new I-94 form evidencing your new status. If you are outside the United States, you may not begin your employment until you have obtained an H-1B visa stamp in your passport, and you have been admitted to the United States in H-1B status.
Initial H-1B petitions are approved for three years. An extension may be filed for an additional three-year period. An extension must be filed before your current visa status expires in order to preserve your right to work. Generally, individuals are entitled to a maximum of six years in H-1B status. That six-year period includes H-1B status with other employers as well as any time spent in H-4, H-3 or L-1 status. There are two exceptions:
- If a labor certification or I-140 employment-based petition for permanent residence on your behalf has been in process for at least 365 days, your H-1B status may be extended in one-year increments until the time your permanent residence case is approved.
- If visas for your country of birth are oversubscribed, and you are the beneficiary of an approved I-140 employment-based petition, your H-1B status may be extended in three-year increments until such time as your application to adjust status to permanent resident is approved.
If the change in location is outside of your geographical area (i.e., city or metropolitan statistical area), and/or you have a material change in job responsibilities, including promotions, the university may be required to file an amended H-1B petition on your behalf. Any change in job location or job duties should be brought to the attention of the Employment Coordinator at the International Services Center and Fragomen law firm immediately.
May I travel outside the United States while my application for a change of nonimmigrant status is pending?
The Department of Homeland Security's policies concerning changes of status are complex and subject to change. Where questions arise on these sensitive issues, please contact Fragomen law firm.
If you have applied for a change in your immigration status; for example, you are seeking to change your status from an F-1 foreign student to an H-1B specialty worker--travel outside the United States will have a detrimental effect on your application. If you leave the United States while your application is pending, USCIS considers your application to have been abandoned. Though your underlying petition may be approved, you will need to apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate before returning to the United States.
If I am applying for a nonimmigrant visa, how do my spouse or child apply for a dependent visa stamp?
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years may accompany you or follow to join you in a dependent visa category (e.g., H-4 if you are in H-1B status). They automatically qualify for a dependent visa when you apply for your visa.
Every nonimmigrant and immigrant is required to report a change of address within ten days to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This report is made on form AR-11 and must be completed by each family member. The AR-11 form can be downloaded from the official USCIS website at http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/ar-11.htm. Failure to comply can result in a $200 fine, imprisonment for thirty days and may be used as a ground for removal. H-1B visa employees must also notify the Employment Coordinator at International Services Center about their change of address.
Travel Guidelines - Q&A
I plan to travel home and need a new F-1 visa stamp to re-enter the United States. What should I do?
- You will need to present an active Form I-20 to the visa officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
- In addition, you will be asked to document your financial resources, your intent to return to your home country, and you may be asked for a transcript from each school that you have attended in the United States. Additional information can be found under “Travel Guidelines” in the Students section of the ISC website.
- If your visa application is subject to a Security Check, it could take a few months before you receive a decision. Determine if you need to prearrange an appointment at the embassy or consulate. To check on the requirements of a particular embassy or consulate, please visit: http://www.usembassy.gov.
I plan to travel home, and my F-1 entry visa stamp is valid for another two years. Is there anything that I need to do with my Form I-20 for reentry?
- Please make sure you have an active Form I-20, which has been signed for travel on page 3 by an ISC immigration adviser within one year prior to the re-entry date.
- Students may request a travel letter from an ISC immigration adviser by completing a Travel Authorization Request Form. Letter is optional and it can take up to 3 business days to process.
- Additional information and required documents can be found under “Travel Guidelines” in the Students section of the ISC website.
While you are a continuing student at UCF, you must be in good immigration standing and considered "in status" with the university in order to return to the United States. Your status will be confirmed by an ISC immigration adviser at the time that you request a signature for travel on your I-20. Students visiting a country other than their home country must ensure they have the required entry documents (e.g. visitor visa). Students are encouraged to plan ahead. Please contact the embassy for the country that you plan to visit to learn about entry requirements.
I have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and have not received my Employment Authorization Document (EAD card). Can I travel outside of the United States?
No, you must obtain your EAD card prior to departure. Your EAD will say "not valid for re-entry" on the front. This means that the card, by itself, is not a re-entry document. It must be accompanied by a valid passport containing a valid unexpired F-1 visa, an active Form I-20 which has been signed for travel by an ISC immigration adviser within six months prior to the re-entry date and a letter from employer on company letterhead confirming you are returning for employment.
It can take up to three business days from the time that you drop off your I-20 and Travel Request Form, provided that you have submitted the proper paperwork.