International Student Information
Disclaimer: The following informal information is provided for international students interested in studying in the master’s program in Computer Science at UNCG. While we make every effort to keep this up to date and correct, the Department of Computer Science does not have immigration or visa experts on staff, and students are referred to the appropriate office at UNCG for more information.
More about the I-20 (also see visa information).
An I-20 is generally issued for the amount of time typical to complete the intended degree. For a MS, we say 2-3 years, and usually issue the I-20 for three years (for BS, usually 5 years). We ask for the financial certificate only upon issuance of a new I-20. Once the student has been here one academic year, they are eligible to apply for off-campus employment for economic support, thus, we only require they show the evidence for the first year.
A new I-20 is necessary only if the student changes his/her program of study, or if the student needs an extension on their originally alloted time. For instance, if the student has completed one degree and is moving to another degree, which necessitates a new I-20, we require new financial documentation.
N.B.: The university’s International Programs Officer should sign a student’s I-20 whenever he/she leaves the country. That signature represents to the INS inspector at the border that the student was enrolled and that we (The University) want the student to be allowed to return to the USA to continue their studies.
A foreign applicant in North Carolina on an H4 visa asked if he could work on campus (e.g., consultant in a campus computer lab) after being admitted to the program. The answer seems to be “NO” as indicated in the following paragraph taken from Temporary Worker Visas on the Visa Services web site.
With the exception of “Q-1 Cultural Exchange Visitors,” the spouse and unmarried, minor children of an applicant under any of the above classifications may also be classified as nonimmigrants in order to accompany or join the principal applicant. With the exception of spouses of L visa “inter-company transferees”, a person who has received a visa as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept employment in the United States. The principal applicant must be able to show that he or she will be able to support his or her family in the United States.
Q:.I hold an H-4 visa, and I’m not planing to change my status at least this semester. I assume that I do not need an I-20 form. Do I need to meet the deadline which is required for the international students from aboard?
A: If you are not interested in changing your status, you are not subject to the admission steps required of F-1 International students, thus you are not held to international student dates, but held to whatever application deadline dates the department defines. And, you are right, we will not issue an I-20, thus you are not required to show financial evidence and you will not be required to full-time study. On the downside, you are not eligible to accept any form of employment, on or off-campus in your H-4 status, thus you are not eligible for an assistantship or fellowship.
Please be aware that if you should wish to change your status at a future date, the processing time is 6-8 months if you request a change while in the US. The alternative would be to return to your home country and request a student visa from the US Consular Office there.
Since we are not issuing an I-20, we do not need the financial certification.
The following information is the result of prior experiences with the Graduate School and International Programs.
- The Graduate School automatically returns the application of any international student who misses the international student deadlines (May 15 and Sept. 15), whether they are in the country or not . If this happens to a graduate student who is in the country, they should send the application to us and let us hand-carry it to the Graudate School.
- A graduate student who needs to take prerequisite courses and is not in the country must apply as an undergraduate second-degree student and then apply for the master’s when the prerequisites are almost completed.
- A graduate student who is in the country on some sort of visa and applies and is accepted will be automatically blocked from registering by the Graduate School because immigration forms have not been done by International Programs. If this happens to a student, they need to get in touch with us, and we ask the university’s DSO (in International Programs) to send a memo to the Graduate School saying immigration forms aren’t necessary. (The DSO says it’s no good to send this kind of memo in advance, because the Graduate School doesn’t take any notice of it.)