International Student Forms

Follow the link below to find all of the forms needed for an accepted international student.

Travel and Reentry for F-1 Students

Entry to another country:

If you wish to temporarily visit your country of citizenship or permanent residency, you will be allowed to enter that country if you hold a valid passport.  Before temporarily visiting a country other than your country of citizenship or permanent residency, you must check on entry visa requirements for said country.  Go to  for the addresses and phone numbers of all foreign embassies located in Washington D.C.

You should always inform the International Students Office at least 30 days in advance with information on when you are leaving, returning and where you are traveling.

Reentry to the U.S.:

To reenter the U.S. after a temporary absence (i.e., an absence of five months or less), you must have a properly endorsed Form I-20, a valid passport, and a valid F-1 visa (not required for citizens of Canada).

Properly endorsed Form I-20: If you have already used your Form I-20 to enter the U.S. once, then you must have page 2 of your Form I-20 endorsed by the International Students Office.  This page, when properly endorsed, may be used for reentry to attend the same school after a temporary absence from the U.S.

In the case that you have left the U.S. without a valid I-20, you need to contact immediately for assistance.

You should always inform the International Students Office at least 30 days in advance with information on when you are leaving, returning and where you are traveling too.

Valid Passport: You must have a passport that is kept valid at all times while you are in the U.S. If your passport will expire within six months, contact your embassy in the U.S. and make arrangements to renew as soon as possible.

Valid F-1 visa: The U.S. visa tells you by which date you may enter the U.S. The expiration date of the visa has nothing to do with how long you may remain in the U.S. – that is determined by your I-20 and I-94.  However, if you are traveling abroad and wish to reenter the U.S., then you must have a valid F-1 visa in your passport.

Documents you will need for visa issuance: You will need a valid passport, a current photograph, a properly endorsed Form I-20, proof of financial capability for continuing studies, and continued nonimmigrant intent. Go to the Department of State website for other documents you may need.

Where to apply: Although you may be able to secure an original or renewal of an F-1 visa in a foreign country other than your own, your chances of being issued an F-1 visa are greatest when you apply at a U.S. consular office in your country of citizenship or permanent residency. You may face more stringent requirements in a third country and should allow more time in case of delays. It is not possible to obtain an F-1 visa in the U.S.

When to apply: You usually cannot apply for a new visa until 90 days before the expiration of the old one.

Visa voidance: If you have overstayed or been unlawfully present during your studies immediately prior to leaving the U.S., you might be subject to visa voidance. Such overstayed students would be subject to the payment of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and would need to obtain a new F-1 visa stamp in the home country in order to reenter the U.S. The SEVIS fee must be paid online through use of a credit card, locally using the Western Union Quick Pay service, or by mail through use of a check or money order at least three days prior to the date SEVIS fee payment verification is required by the U.S. Consular Office.

Visa revocation following a DUI: The U.S. Department of State is revoking visa foils ("stamps") of foreign nationals following a conviction or an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a related criminal charge. Individuals are notified of their visa cancellation by email (address used on the visa application). An individual in nonimmigrant status whose visa has been prudentially revoked will have to obtain a new visa in order to be readmitted to the United States after temporary travel abroad. In order for the visa to be issued, the foreign national will first need to be cleared by a panel physician following a medical screening, which may result in a visa denial or delay. A student who has their visa revoked should talk to an immigration attorney.

"Automatic revalidation of visa" benefit: Under certain circumstances, you may reenter the U.S. with an expired visa as though the visa were still valid. An expired F-1 visa may be considered to be automatically extended to the date of application for readmission to the U.S. (and therefore the visa in the passport need not have an expiration date that is in the future), provided you do the following:

Apply for readmission to U.S. after an absence not exceeding 30 days in contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) or adjacent islands (Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea other than Cuba);

Maintain lawful F-1 status and intend to continue doing so;

Present a valid passport containing Form I-94 which authorizes a stay beyond the date of entry (e.g., D/S);

Present a properly endorsed Form I-20.

Under these circumstances, you may be saved the necessity of applying for a new F-1 visa even if your visa has expired. A student whose visa has been canceled or voided is not eligible for automatic revalidation of visa benefit. Citizens of “state sponsors of terrorism” cannot take advantage of the automatic revalidation benefit. Any non-immigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory is not eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit during the course of that trip, but has to wait until the visa is granted in order to enter the U.S.

Transfers: If you have lawfully transferred schools while in the U.S., the visa will specify the school for which it was initially issued. In this instance you may reenter with an unexpired F-1 visa and Form I-20 from the new school without having the new school's name reflected on the visa.

Status Violation and Travel: If you have violated your F-1 immigration status prior to traveling abroad and wish to seek reentry to the U.S. with a new Form I-20 to resume your F-1 status, you must pay the SEVIS fee and apply for a new visa prior to being able to seek reentry to the U.S. with proper documentation. Read the ISSS handout titled “F-1 SEVIS Fee Payment Options” for information on procedures regarding payment of SEVIS fee.

Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts:  Ensure that you are traveling safely by reviewing the Department of State (DoS) International Travel Information web page.  On the DoS website, you will find travel warnings, travel alerts, country specific information, and country background notes.   There is also a section titled “Tips for Traveling Abroad” for other important health and safety information.  Go to to access this information.

Safeguard and Retain Your Documents:  It is your responsibility to retain copies of all your immigration documents and all immigration applications (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, employment, change of status, program extension, etc.) for your records/future use.

Travel Tips:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued important reminders to assist international students expected to arrive in the United States.

These reminders for international students registered in the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) are intended to ensure that legitimate students are quickly processed at ports of entry. A comprehensive list of answers to frequently asked SEVIS questions has also been posted online at  and

DHS offers the following recommendations for international students:

Hand carry (do not check with your baggage) the following documents:

  • Your passport;
  • Your SEVIS Form I-20;
  • Evidence of financial resources;
  • Evidence of student status, such as tuition receipts, transcripts or letter of acceptance;
  • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee; and
  • The name and contact information of your designated school official (International Student and Scholar Services Advisor).

Important Note:

If you are a new international student program participant, remember to carry with you the sealed envelope given to you by the U.S. Department of State's Consular Officer and attached to your passport. It is important that you do not open this envelope.

Inform the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the port of entry as soon as possible that you will be a new or returning (in case you previously attended school in the U.S. and are transferring to The College of the Florida Keys) international student in the United States.

Report to your school or program upon arrival so that your school official can validate your participation in SEVIS.

Maintain contact with your designated school official throughout your stay to ensure your SEVIS data is updated and accurate.

Traveling without a valid Form I-20:

Failure to have all proper documentation upon re-entry to the U.S. may be a cause for delay when going through the U.S. port-of-entry, and may be reason for the officer to send you to Secondary Inspections. Please click here for information on what to do if you do not have a valid Form I-20 upon reentering the U.S.

Social Security Number

What you should know before you apply for a Social Security Number (SSN):

You must be enrolled for the current academic term at The College of the Florida Keys to apply for a SSN.

You may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes upon initial entry to begin a new course of study.

You may not take your application until you have been in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 days. This is how long it will take U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to review your records in CIS’s pre-processing immigration document/status verification check called “SAVE” (Systematic Alert Verification for Entitlements).

Job assignments cannot begin until your SSN is updated at the Office of Admissions.

How to apply for a SSN:

Step 1 - Obtain proof of employment authorization. The nature of the proof depends on the type of employment eligibility being used to support the application for a SSN.

For F-1 on-campus employment, present a completed Social Security Number (SSN) Verification Form for On-Campus Employment.

Step 2 - Take proof of employment authorization, Form I-94, Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 students), and passport to SSA along with a foreign or US driver’s license or your birth certificate. (Visit Social Security Administration for information and directions to the SSA office nearest you.)

Your Social Security Card will be mailed to your U.S. residential address. The process may take up to two months if your records do not immediately appear.

After you receive your SSN:

The SSN is an important document and should be safeguarded.

Report your SSN to the Office of Admissions, 5901 College Road, Key West, FL 33040, in order to avoid problems with your records and payments.

Social Security Number and Taxes:

Although your employer should withhold any U.S. income tax related to your employment, Social Security Withholding/Medicare (F.I.C.A.) should not be deducted from the salary of F-1 and J-1 students, unless you are considered a “resident for tax purposes,” a situation which normally occurs after a student has been here at least five years.

Program Extensions

If you are unable to complete your degree program within the time period indicated on the admission I-20, you may request a program extension if the delay is caused by compelling academic or medical reasons:

  • Illness (requires medical documentation from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or licensed clinical psychologist)
  • Change in major field of study
  • Change in research topic
  • Unexpected research problems

Application for extension MUST be made prior to the completion date on your Form I-20. Your academic advisor is required to certify that the delay in completing program requirements was caused by a compelling academic or medical reason, and that you are making progress toward completion of your degree.

You will also be asked to provide your most recent Form I-94 and Proof of Financial Support.

If your delay in completing your program is not for one of the reasons discussed above, or if you do not apply prior to the completion date on your Form I-20, you will be considered to be out-of-status and must apply for reinstatement.

Complete the Extend Program Request for Students in F-1 Status form to apply for a program extension. You can obtain this form by emailing

Transfer Out

In order to transfer out of The College of the Florida Keys, you must use the School Transfer Out Form for Students in F-1 Status to notify the International Student Office of your intent to transfer. Upon receipt of this form, along with your original Form I-94, we will update your SEVIS record, thereby giving the new school access to your record.

You may be applying to many schools, but your SEVIS record can only be transferred to ONE school. Once we transfer your record out, we CANNOT retrieve it after the release date, and you will have to contact the school you requested that it be transferred to. Your transfer release date will be the end of the current semester unless otherwise requested, provided you have a valid reason. The new school cannot issue you a new Form I-20 until the record is transferred.

You can obtain this form by emailing

Obtain a Driver's License

International students and scholars who drive in the U.S. must have a valid driver's license. Some states require an International Driving Permit (IDP) from foreign nationals, in addition to a valid license from your own country. Check with the motor vehicle department of each state you will drive in for its requirements. 

A Florida driver's license or a State of Florida identification card can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles office.

All customers - regardless of their citizenship status - may go to any Division of Driver's Licenses office in Florida to apply for a new driver's license or State of Florida identification card.

Driver's licenses are issued for one year at a time, renewable until the end of the student's program. F-1 students who have completed a course of study or optional practical training can be granted a license for an additional 60-day period to allow them to prepare for departure or to process a transfer.

Dependents of F-1 students and scholars (i.e. dependents in F-2) are allowed the same period of driver's license validity as the F-1 students.

For first-time issuance of a State of Florida driver's license or identification card, Florida law requires the following items from students in F-1 status:

  • Passport; and
  • Proof of non-immigrant classification provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Form I-94); and
  • F-1 status documentation (Form I-20); and
  • Two original proofs of residence (cell phone bills, utility bills, official, original transcripts from The College of the Florida Keys, apartment lease). Students who live on campus will need to obtain proof of residence from Lagoon Landing. Also, any official letter, for example a bank letter or letter from the college sent to your on-campus address will suffice as proof of residence. If living with parent, the parent must sign a statement (available at the local DMV office) and provide proof of residence (one in the parent’s name and one in the student’s name); and
  • SSN card if one has been issued.

It is recommended that you take your foreign driver's license, if one has been issued. You may be exempt from the otherwise mandatory drug and alcohol traffic education course, the driving test, or parts of it. Complete information on the required tests and a link to the driver's manual can be found at

DUI (Driving Under the Influence of Alcoholic Beverages, Chemical Substances or Controlled Substances). s. 316.193, F.S.:

Under Florida law, DUI is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above. The penalties upon conviction are the same, regardless of the manner in which the offense is proven.

Visa revocation following a DUI: The U.S. Department of State is revoking visa foils ("stamps") of foreign nationals following a conviction or an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a related criminal charge. Individuals are notified of their visa cancellation by email (address used on the visa application). An individual in nonimmigrant status whose visa has been prudentially revoked will have to obtain a new visa in order to be readmitted to the United States after temporary travel abroad. In order for the visa to be issued, the foreign national will first need to be cleared by a panel physician following a medical screening, which may result in a visa denial or delay. A student who has their visa revoked should talk to an immigration attorney.

IRS Filing Requirements

This following information is intended for students in F-1 status. It will provide you with general information on U.S. income tax filing.

Please note that The College of the Florida Keys does not give tax advice, does not guarantee, and is not responsible for any final tax results.  It is the responsibility of each international student, exchange visitor/scholar and dependent to comply with U.S. tax regulations.

Persons who must comply with IRS filing requirements:

All international students and scholars and their dependents in "F" immigration status that were present in the U.S. in 2018 have to comply with certain filing requirements with the IRS:

International students and scholars and their dependents in "F" immigration status with any U.S. source income in 2018 are required to file a U.S. income tax return (usually Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ) and Form 8843 with the IRS by the deadline stated on the IRS website.

International students and scholars and their dependents in "F" status that spent time in the U.S. in status in 2018 but did not earn any U.S. source income in 2018 are required to file a Form 8843 with the IRS by the deadline stated on the IRS website.

Tax forms and publication for the tax year are available:

  • Through the IRS website at
  • Tax deductions

Any person who earns money in the United States may be required to pay income tax.  This tax is normally withheld from the salary you receive, and an income tax return is filed by April 15, covering the previous year in which you earned money.

If you receive an income through an assistantship, other on-campus employment, you will be asked to complete various forms, which allows the payroll department to estimate how much tax to withhold. If you receive scholarships or fellowships from The College of the Florida Keys, part of the amounts you receive may be subject to taxes.  Any excess tax you pay will be refunded to you when you file a tax return.  You cannot state that you are exempt from taxes unless you have a verified reason for doing so (i.e., a reciprocal tax treaty between your government and the U.S.).  Erroneously stating that you are exempt may carry an expensive penalty.

Due to tax withholdings, your college paycheck may be lower than you expected. How much money is withheld from your paycheck depends on your tax status which, in turn, is determined by your visa classification and the amount of time you have spent in the United States.  Although income tax may be legitimately withheld from your paycheck, your employer should not withhold F.I.C.A. or Medicare (Social Security taxes) if you have been a student in F-1 status for less than five years. 

The Colllege of the Florida Keys HR and Business/Payroll Offices determines Income Tax and Social Security tax withholding for international students and scholars who receive funding from the college.  If a college international student or exchange visitor/scholar receives payment from the college, it is critical that they complete the online Foreign National Information Form and provide it to the Payroll Office.  Based on this form, the Payroll Office will take into consideration immigration status, any tax treaty the person’s home country may have with the U.S., and length of time the scholar has been in the U.S., in order to determine the amount of withholding, if any. 

Invite Parents, Friends, and Other Nondependent Relatives to the U.S.

What kind of visa should my relatives obtain?

Parents and siblings of persons in F-1 status are not eligible for F-2 status. Forms I-20 are not issued to invite parents, parents-in-law, or siblings. If you wish, you may send your relatives a copy of your Form I-20, but they should not submit it to the consular officer unless asked for it. Do not send your original I-20 to your parents, other non-dependent relatives, or friends.

Visitor Visa (B-2):

Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). The length of a visitor’s initial permission to stay in B-2 status is determined by the officer at the U.S. port of entry. The maximum initial period is six months. For detailed information about visitor visas and how to apply, please visit Department of State.

You may write an invitation letter in English to your relative or friend, stating (1) whom you are inviting, (2) the purpose of the visit (for example, vacation, attend graduation, meet a new baby), (3) the dates (even approximate dates) of the visit, and (4) any financial support you are offering (for example, cost of travel, room and board).

Note that The College of the Florida Keys does not issue invitation letters for parents, friends, or other non-dependent relatives to the U.S.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. If you prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa.

Health Insurance Reminder:

Be sure your visitors have health insurance that will cover them while in the United States. Most guests will require “major medical coverage,” which is health insurance that goes into effect if they are unexpectedly hospitalized as the result of an accident or an illness. Without coverage, your guests could experience financial devastation if hospitalization becomes necessary.


The following information will guide you on how to add a dependent spouse or minor child to your SEVIS record and Form I-20.

Complete the Request to Add Dependent to SEVIS Record for F-1 Students form and submit all required documents to International Student Office.

Once your application to add a new dependent has been reviewed and approved, International Student Office will issue a new Form I-20 for you and your dependent(s).

Change of Status:

In order for your dependent to change status to F-2, they will either have to obtain an F-2 visa abroad and enter the U.S. in F-2 status, or file for a change of status in the U.S.

Studying and Working in F-2 Status:

  1. F-2 spouses may not engage in a full course of study.
  2. F-2 spouses and children are permitted to enroll in "less than a full course of study," even if the course of study done part-time leads to or counts towards a degree.
  3. Study that is "avocational or recreational in nature" is permitted "up to and including on a full-time basis."
  4. F-2 children may engage in full-time study in any elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through 12th grade).
  5. To pursue full time study other than that permitted by this section, the F-2 must apply for and obtain a change of status to F-1.
  6. An F-2 spouse and child violates his or her nonimmigrant status by enrolling in any study except as provided here.
  7. F-2 spouses and children do not qualify for employment.