Common Questions from International Students
Where is the CIE office located and what are your hours?
The CIE is located in Shilling Hall, Room 205. CIE hours are Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm.
How can I schedule an appointment with the Coordinator of International Students or the Director of International education?
You can schedule an appointment by calling the CIE at 217-424-3758, emailing email@example.com or stopping by our office in Shilling Hall 205.
How long does it take to receive a new I-20?
Please allow five business days to receive new documents and plan accordingly.
When can I enter the United States?
Up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20. All students should enter the United States and check-in with CIE and prior to the start date listed on their I-20.
What materials will I need to enter the United States?
You will need your I-20, valid US entry visa, passport and admission letter. Upon arrival at the Port of Entry, you will receive an I-94 card which will serve as your arrival/departure record. Please keep the I-94 in a safe place.
I'm a newly admitted student at Millikin University and haven't received my I-20 or DS-2019 yet? What should I do?
Your very first I-20 will be issued by the Center for International Education. Please contact the CIE office (217-424-3758) for further information about the status of your I-20.
I'm transferring to Millikin University from another US institution. What should I do?
You will need to request a SEVIS transfer. Please note that this can only be done while you are in the US. Once you are accepted into Millikin University, you need to request that your SEVIS record is transferred. You will need to contact the CIE to find out when your new I-20 will be ready. You will then need to check-in at the CIE once you arrive on campus.
My passport will soon expire, is this a problem?
F-1 students must have passports that are valid for at least six months past their date of admission to the U.S. If your country is on the passport list, the six months requirement does not apply, and your passport only needs to be valid on the date of entry to the U.S.
What should I do when I first arrive in Decatur?
All international students should check in with the CIE as soon as possible. To complete check-in, students must visit CIE to check-in with all of the immigration documents you used to enter to country.
How do I update my address to maintain my valid F1 status?
You can update your address using myMillikin.
What does CIE consider to be a full course load?
A full course load is defined as 12 credit hours a semester (Fall and Spring). If Summer is the first or final semester of your program, you are required to register for a full course load of 6 credit hours.
I am in my last semester and need less than a full course load to graduate. Do I need to take a full course load?
No, you are eligible to apply for a Reduced Course Load (RCL) based on this information. Other students experiencing serious illness and new students struggling to adjust to the English requirements or teaching style of American higher education may also be eligible for a Reduced Course Load. CIE requires that your academic advisor fills out an RCL form before you register for less than a full course.
I would like to lengthen or shorten my program, what does the CIE require?
To extend or shorten the length of your program, please file an I-20 application and an Advisor’s Form. Once CIE receives these forms, our office can issue a new I-20 or DS-2019 that reflects your new program end date.
I am going from a Bachelor’s to Master’s program at MU. Do I need a new I-20?
Yes, you will need a new I-20 because you will be starting a new program. Undergraduate students changing levels to graduate study will receive their new I-20 from teh CIE. Please contact the CIE for further information.
I would like to change academic level (ex: Master’s to PhD) at UIUC. What is required?
First, you will need to make sure that a petition has been filed with the Graduate College for this change of level. If you are unsure about this, please contact either you department or the Graduate College. Once your petition has been approved and you have been notified, please submit an application for change of level at the CIE. You will need the following documents: I-20 application, Advisor's Form, Proof of Finances
What is Optional Practical Training?
OPT is a program that allows F-1 students to work or intern in their field of study in the United States for 12 months after their program of study ends. CIE must recommend you for OPT by issuing a new I-20. F-1 students will then need to apply through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for OPT authorization. It can take up to 90 days to process your OPT Application and issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), so we encourage students to plan ahead and apply early.
How can I find out more about the OPT application process?
CIE offers OPT workshops each Fall and Spring semester. Please check our OPT workshop schedule for further information. If these times do not match your schedule, you may set up an appointment with a CIE advisor to learn more about OPT.
My major is in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM), I heard can work for more than a year on OPT, is this correct?
This will be possible only if your program of study is on the STEM list of majors. Please check with CIE to find out if your major qualifies for the STEM extension. The STEM extension is a 17-month extension which may be used once during your entire program of study at all levels. Students who qualify can apply up to 120 days before the end date of their current OPT. For further information, please visit this link.
I’m on OPT and just received a job offer. Do I need to let you know? What if I change jobs?
Yes, please notify CIE about your employer, and any time you change employers.
I’m on OPT and I’ve moved. How do I update my address?
Please notify CIE and collect the correct form.
I don’t have my EAD card yet. My friends have their EAD cards already. Is something wrong?
It takes 90 days from the date you mail off your application for USCIS to approve your OPT. It may then take an additional 1-2 weeks to process the actual EAD card. If you receive your EAD card before 90 days – great! However, in most cases, it will take the full 90 days to process your application.
Can I work while I wait to receive my EAD card?
No, you must have your EAD card to work on OPT.
Can I work at a Millikin University?
Yes, F-1 student are authorized to work on-campus. For further information, please visit the employment section of our website.
I am an F-1 student interested in getting a job/internship, what should I do?
After one academic year, F-1 students are eligible to pursue off campus work that is integral to your course of study. This is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
How do I obtain a Social Security Number?
You must have employment in order to apply for a Social Security Number(SSN). Proof of employment can be determined by a job offer letter or pay stub. You will also need to obtain a SSN letter of eligibility from the CIE.
My visa/passport is set to expire, what should I do?
You can remain in the United States on an expired entry visa, as the entry visa is only required to enter the country. However, if you want to travel outside of the United States and return, you will need to apply for a new visa at U.S. consulate/embassy in your home country. New passports can be obtained through your home country government. You may remain in the US and continue with your program as long as your are maintaining status here. The entry visa does not determine your length of stay in the US.
I would like to travel back to my home country during the break. What materials will I need to come back into the United States?
You will need an I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature dated within one year of your travel, your passport, valid visa. When you leave the US, you will need to surrender your I-94 card. You will receive a new one at the Port of Entry when you return.
I want to travel to another country. What should I do?
You will need to make sure you check visa requirements to enter that country. You can do this by looking on the website of the consulate or embassy of that country.
My visa is expired and I want to travel to Canada. Do I need to get a new visa?
F-1 students with an expired US entry visa may travel to Canada, Mexico and some of the Caribbean Islands, with some restrictions.This is known as Automatic Revalidation. Students must have a multiple entry visa and the trip must be 30 days or less. Please note that those with single-entry visas are not eligible for automatic revalidation.
I would like to travel while on OPT, what do I need?
You will need an I-20 with a travel signature dated within six months of your travel, your passport, valid US entry visa, EAD card and job offer letter. If you have not yet received your EAD card, a job offer letter and your Notice of Action from USCIS are highly encouraged.
I would like to travel within the United States after my graduation, can I do this?
If you are an F-1 student, you must leave the United States within 60 days of your program end date. If you are on a J-1 visa, your grace period is 30. You may travel within the US during your grace period.
If you have any other questions, please contact the CIE at 217.424.3758.