Thunderbird International Student Services

Thunderbird's international student services provide information, advice and assistance related to your non-immigrant status (F or J). This office processes immigration and intergovernmental documents related to your attendance at Thunderbird as an international student. Services provided for you include the following:

  • International Student Orientation
  • Visa Advice
  • Immigration Reinstatement
  • Travel Documentation
  • Permission to Work Off-Campus
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Concurrent Enrollment
  • Obtaining a Social Security Card
  • Transfer Assistance to Thunderbird or from Thunderbird
  • Change of Status
  • On-Campus Employment
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Reduced Course Load
  • Taxes
  • Obtaining a Driver's License
  • Academic Training (AT)
  • Obtaining a Social Security number

Immigration Documents

The following is a list of important immigration documents you must bring with you upon your arrival to the US:

  • Passport:

The expiration date in your passport should always be valid at least 6 months into the future. Your passport cannot expire while you are in the US. To extend your passport expiration date, please contact your country's nearest consulate or embassy or see your international student advisor for assistance.

  • Visa (F or J):

This is the stamp put in your passport by the United States consul in your home country. You need this visa only to ENTER the U.S. The date on the visa shows the latest date you can enter the United States, not how long you can stay here. If it is expired, OR if you change your visa status while in the United States, you must reapply for a new visa only if you plan to leave the United States and re-enter. It is not necessary to extend your visa if you are not planning a trip outside the United States.

  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record:

The I-94 Admission number is assigned electronically at the US land and sea ports of entry. Students may retrieve their I-94 Admission number, which may be needed to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, or practical training at

  • Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student or
  • Form DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status:

When you entered the U.S., your official acceptance document (I-20 or DS-2019) was returned to you by the immigration inspector at your port of entry. This form should be kept with you at all times and NOT be given up when you leave the United States as it will be needed to re-enter the United States after a temporary absence. All records of school transfers, work permission, etc will be recorded on a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitors Information System) print-out of this form. The official acceptance document will have a SEVIS number in the upper right corner above the barcode.

NOTE: Make photocopies of your immigration documents. Send one set to your family in your home country and another set in an accessible place separate from the originals. Keep your original documents in a safe place and make note of the expiration dates of these documents.