1. Why does CGS need to approve my program to host international students?
Federal regulations govern the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and stipulate specific parameters within which approved institutions can host international students and exchange visitors. Some requirements have been discussed above, such as the full time study requirement. Regulations are complex, frequently changing, and also interplay with Rutgers institutional policy. As such, the Center for Global Services must evaluate each non-degree program for which an administrator is requesting international student sponsorship to ensure that our offerings conform to current regulations and policies.
2. How long does it take?
Times differ depending on a number of variables including the complexity of the program, whether it is new, or an existing certificate program, the number of students participating, the Global Services work load at a specific time of year, the timeliness of document submission on the part of departments and students, embassy or consular timetables, etc. In general we recommend having I-20/DS-2019 Requests in to CGS three months prior to the program start date. Below is a general timetable for specific parts of the process.
a. How soon before my program starts should I approach CGS about sponsoring international students?
A conservative estimate would be to approach CGS at least 6 months before the program start date. Some programs could take longer or shorter than this from start to finish, so if you have questions, email Julie de Klerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
b. How long does it take CGS to issue an I-20/DS-2019?
Once a complete set of documentation has been submitted for a student, you can expect the I-20 or DS-2019 within 10 business days.
c. How long does it take for students to get a visa?
Processing times at US embassies and consulates vary widely and it is advisable for the prospective student to get in touch with his or her closest embassy or consulate to check on processing times. For details on average visa waiting times at U.S. consulates throughout the world, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html. It is best to leave at least 6-8 weeks for students to obtain their visas and travel to the US.
3. What is the difference between an I-20 and a DS-2019 (or between and F-1 and J-1 status)?
The I-20 (for F-1) and DS-2019 (for J-1) are visa eligibility certificates. They are used by students to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa, to establish intent, and their legal right as a non-immigrant to study in the U.S., and are used to document/maintain a student’s F/J status when they are in the U.S.
The purpose of an individual who enters the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status is full time study. However unlike F-1 students whose funding can come from any source, but generally comes from personal funds, J-1 students are required to have most or all of their funding for study through a third party, such as a Fulbright or home government scholarship, or from some source other than personal funds.
4. Why do I need a contract with our partnering international institution, and how is review of the contract by CGS and General Counsel coordinated?
A contract with a partnering international institution could come in the form of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), or it could be a more narrow agreement, outlining the terms of service for a particular program. These agreements or contracts are vital because they are our way of protecting the students participating in the program and ensuring they have a quality experience with the level of care and support they need. Contracts also protect the university from legal entanglements, and give all parties to consider the program from the standpoint of risk management as well.
CGS staff will coordinate the review of the program contract with the Office of General Council, and will include the unit running the program on all correspondence. Occasionally a meeting may be required in order to get clarification on the program, and this will also be coordinated by general council.
5. Where do I obtain the forms required by CGS?
Forms can be found on our website at Forms for Non-Degree Students
6. What constitutes Certification of Funds?
Students in F-1 & J-1 status are required to show proof of funding for one year or until the end date of their I-20/DS-2019 (whichever is shorter). Certification of funding documents must not be more than 3 months old. They can be in the form of bank statements in English, letters from the bank in English, on official bank letter head (stationary) listing the student’s name, account, and amount of funds, employment letters (including TA, GA offer letters), etc. All proof of funding documents should be accompanied with a completed Certification of Funds form.
7. What if students already have health insurance coverage from their home country?
Medical care in the United States is extremely expensive. Without health insurance coverage, individuals who need medical care often go into debt for many years-sometimes for the rest of their lives-in order to pay back the medical provider (doctor or hospital) that treated their illness or injury. For this reason, Rutgers University requires all F and J nonimmigrants who hold a Rutgers I-20 or DS-2019 to have health insurance that meets or exceeds the University's minimum required level of coverage.
Please note that the requirement includes not only F-1 and J-1 visa holders on Rutgers' visa sponsorship, but also F-2 and J-2 visa dependents on Rutgers' visa sponsorship, as well. For more information, also click on the links below.
8. How do we obtain RUID numbers/cards for students?
IDs for visiting students can be obtained by the admitting unit directly. If students will be registered for classes for credit, their RUIDs must be created by the Registrar before the students can be registered for class. Unless special arrangements are made for access to fee based services on campus, all other students will be here in a guest status. The Office of Information Technology has forms that help units set up guest netIDs, and guest RUID cards.
9. What other services does CGS offer?
CGS offers pre-arrival information for students, and support and guidance in obtaining a visa for entry into the US. We also provide a mandatory orientation program called “Staying in Legal Status” which all new international students must attend. On request, and for a fee, CGS may be able to arrange a more extensive orientation program, depending on the nature and needs of the short program.
CGS also provides one on one and group advising programs for international students on immigration related matters. Finally, our Center hosts a number of programs for students as a part of the International Friendship Program (IFP). Please contact our office if you have a large group who would like to get involved in an IFP program.