Important Information for International Students

Photo of students on campus at Gardner-Webb

Maintaining F-1 Status

  • Maintain a valid passport (at least 6 months into the future).
  • Currently attend the school whose Form I-20 you last used to enter the U.S., or complete required transfer procedures.
  • Be enrolled in a full-course of study during the academic year (12 credits or more per semester for Undergraduate students), unless an exception is made in advance by the ISS.
  • Comply with extension of program procedures BEFORE your current Form I-20 expires.
  • Comply with procedures for changing from one degree level to another.
  • Engage only in authorized employment.
  • Inform the ISS of any address change within 10 days of moving.

Travel Outside of the United States After Initial Enrollment

In order to re-enter the United States as a valid F-1 student, you will need:

  • A valid Form I-20 signed by a DSO no more than 12 months prior to re-entry.
  • A valid passport (at least 6 months into the future).
  • A valid F-1 visa (except for citizens of Canada or Bermuda).
  • Evidence of financial support.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

A SSN is available and required only for those who will work in the U.S. and get paid. F-1 students may apply for a (SSN) if they are authorized for employment or have an on-campus job offer. You will need an on-campus employment letter to verify your eligibility. Bring your employment letter to the Office of International Student Services, so that you can obtain a letter of verification necessary to the application process. You must apply in person at the Social Security Office, and it takes approximately two weeks for the number to be issued and mailed to you. F-2 dependents may not obtain a Social Security number because they are not eligible for employment.

Documents to take with you to the Social Security Office:

  • Passport
  • Form I-20
  • Letter of verification from the DSO

Obtaining a Driver's License in North Carolina

Please click here to learn more about how to obtain a driver's license in North Carolina

Note that if you have an F-1 status visa and are living on campus, you may obtain a letter of proof from Jenny Humphries (DSO).