FAQs

What are the International Student Services (ISS) office hours?
We are open all year around Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, except for SUNY Poly holidays.

What is the telephone number of the ISS office?
315-792-7219

What is the email of the ISS office?
iss@sunypoly.edu

What is the ISS fax number?
315-792-7221

What is the full address of the office?
International Admissions & Student Services
State University of New York Polytechnic Institute
Kunsela Hall A226, Rm A235
100 Seymour Road
Utica, NY 13502 USA

I-20s

How often do I have to have my I-20 signed?
A DSO or PDSO must sign your I-20 once a year. This signature acknowledges that you are a full-time student and that you are maintaining your F-1 status at SUNY Poly. The signature appears on page 2 of the I-20. If you are on OPT the travel signature on your I-20 is valid for six months.

What should I do if I lost my I-20?
A DSO or PDSO is able to issue a replacement I-20 form if yours is lost, damaged, or stolen.

I am in my home country and I left my I-20 in Utica. What should I do?
In this case you should contact International Student Services to request that a replacement of your form be mailed to you. You may send an email to iss@sunypoly.edu to make this request.

My I-20 will expire soon. Can it be extended?
Yes. If you must remain in the US beyond the date indicated (in section 5) on your I-20, the form may be extended but it must be extended BEFORE the I-20 expires. You must request a Program Extension Form by emailing iss@sunypoly.edu. This form must be signed by your academic advisor indicating your new program end date and submitted to ISS. Requests for extensions should be submitted 30 - 90 days prior to the expiration date of the Form I-20 so the extension process can be completed prior to the expiration date on the document.

Do I have to have my I-20 signed while I am on OPT?
If you plan to travel internationally while on OPT the travel signature on page two of your I-20 is valid for six months. Contact ISS at iss@sunypoly.edu if you are on OPT and need to request a travel signature.

 

Travel

Do I need a Canadian visa? How can I get one?
To find out if you need a visitor's visa to enter Canada please check to see if your country is on the list available on the Canadian Government website.

Applicants for Canadian visas must submit applications by mail to a Canadian consulate. For complete instructions please visit the Consulate General of Canada in New York website.

An extra step in the Canadian visa application process is now being implemented for people from certain countries. It requires an online application, followed by a trip to an ASC - Application Support Center for photographs and fingerprints (biometrics). The ASC nearest to you can be found through this site: USCIS Service and Office Locator.

 

Visas

What should I do if my visa has expired?
You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.

The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/.

You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until your visa has been issued. In some cases, this could take several weeks if a background check is required. If your visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the Department of State website for specific information pertaining to each consulate.

If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.

I would like to invite my spouse to join me in the U.S. How can she get a visa?

A DSO or PDSO will provide I-20s/DS-2019s for dependents of F-1 or J-1 students and scholars applying for dependent visas at a U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas. Please email iss@sunypoly.edu to request a I-20/DS-2019 for Dependent F-2/J-2 Visa Form.

My parents would like to come for graduation. How do they get visitor’s visas?
If you would like family or friends to visit you in the United States they will need to apply for B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas. Please contact iss@sunypoly.edu for information on visitor visas and a sample invitation letter you may write and send to them. This letter, explaining the reason for their visit, may be brought to their visa interview, the Port of Entry, or elsewhere as needed.

I want to visit Canada. Do I need a visa?
To find out if you need a visitor’s visa to enter Canada please check to see if your country is on the list available on the Canadian Government website at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

How can I get a Canadian visa?
Applicants for Canadian visas must submit applications by mail to a Canadian consulate. For complete instructions please visit the Government of Canada website.

I have an F-2 visa and want to change it to a F-1 visa.

To change status from F-2 dependent to F-1 student, an application, fee, and supporting documents must be sent to USCIS. The PDSO will review completed application materials, make photocopies of them and mail packet for applicants.

Applicants for a change of status from F-2 to F-1 may not attend SUNY Poly until their change of status is approved by USCIS. For complete details on how to apply for a change of status, please contact iss@sunypoly.edu.

Can I renew my visa without leaving the U.S.?
No. You can only obtain a new visa when you are outside the U.S. at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Keep in mind that you do not need a valid visa once you are inside the U.S. As long as you are maintaining your status and have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 card.

Can I go to Canada or Mexico to apply for a new visa?
In some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the United States until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at https://travel.state.gov. You can also visit www.nvars.com, the site that provides appointments for consulates in Canada and Mexico.

 

CPT (Internship)

I just got a internship job. What should I do?
Permission to participate in curricular practical training is granted by the PDSO in the form of a new SEVIS I-20 with the employment information noted on it. After registering for internship with your academic department and/or Office of Career Services (please check with your department on the registration requirements for your particular degree program), you may submit the Online Curricular Practical Training Request Form for Utica campus or Online Curricular Practical Training Request Form for Albany campus, along with a copy of your employment offer, or stop by the ISS office with your job offer and complete the application in person. Your job offer must include the full name and address of the company where you will be working as well as the start and end dates of the employment. You will receive an email from ISS when your new I-20 is ready to be picked up. The process usually takes no more than 48 hours to complete.

When can I start working?
You may start working when you have the I-20 with curricular practical training authorization on it and after the CPT start date noted on the I-20.

My employer just asked me to work another semester. Can I continue working?
Check with your academic department about registering for another semester of internship. If your request is approved, please repeat the steps described under "I just got a internship job. What should I do?"

How many co-ops can I do?
You may do as many internships as your academic department requires or allows. Keep in mind, however, that if you complete more than 365 days of curricular practical training you will not be eligible for Optional Practical Training when you graduate.

 

OPT

Do I have to make an appointment to apply for OPT?
Yes. After you have attended a OPT Workshop and gathered all of the required application materials please email iss@sunypoly.edu to schedule an OPT appointment.

What forms do I need to apply for OPT?
Please visit the OPT section of our immigration page.

When will I get my OPT card?
It can take up to 90 days for OPT (and sometimes longer) to be granted. While it may take less time depending on the time of year a student applies, we recommend that SUNY Poly students plan to wait at least two months to receive Optional Practical Training authorization.

What information do I need to provide ISS when I am on OPT?
As a student on initial or STEM OPT, you are required by US immigration regulations to report the following events SUNY Poly within ten days:

  • A change in your residential or mailing address
  • A change in your employer or loss of employment
  • Legal name change

To report this information please email iss@sunypoly.edu for appropriate forms.

I am on OPT and lost my job.
You may be unemployed for a total of 90 days during your 12 months of OPT. Each day (including weekends) during the period of your OPT authorization that you are not employed counts as a day of unemployment. Students who are reaching the limit of their unemployment time should prepare to take action to maintain their status in the U.S. (secure admission to another college or university in the U.S. for further study, apply for a change of status) or prepare to leave the U.S.

My OPT employer wants me to continue working after my OPT expires.
If you earned a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. degree at SUNY Poly in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (known as a “STEM field”) and your employer is enrolled in the E-Verify program, you are eligible to apply for a 24-month OPT STEM Extension. The STEM Designated Degree Program List can be found on the SEVP website https://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.

How do I apply for a STEM extension?
You may file for the 24-month STEM extension up to 90 days prior to the end of your post-completion OPT. Here is the link to our STEM Extension procedures and the STEM OPT Application form to be submitted to the International Student Services Office.

 

Social Security Numbers

How do I get a Social Security number?
To apply for a Social Security number you must have a job offer or be working. You will find the process for getting a Social Security number described on the STUDY in the STATES website.

I lost my Social Security card.
You may apply for a replacement card by following all of the same steps required for a first time application. On the application form, however, you will need to answer questions about your previously issued card. The replacement card that will be mailed to you will have the same number as your previous card.

Do I need a Social Security number to get a driver’s license?
If you are not eligible for a social security number, you'll need to get a note from the Social Security Administration to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles with you when you apply for your license. A complete list of requirements for a New York State Driver’s License is available at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles at https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/driver-licenses

 

Dependents

Can my wife/husband work?
Spouses on F-2 visas are not permitted to work in the United States.

Spouses on J-2 visas can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS in order to be employed in the United States. The employment may not be for the purpose of financially supporting the J-1 spouse. The J-2 may begin employment only after receiving the EAD from USCIS.

Can my wife/husband take classes?
Spouses on F-2 visas may not take part in full-time study. F-2 spouses may take part in study that is “a vocational or recreational in nature,” meaning to pursue a hobby or if the study is occasional, casual, or recreational. This means they may not take part in classes that lead to a degree. Spouses on J-2 visas may study in the United States.

 

Emergencies

I am stuck at a U.S. port of entry.
If you find yourself stuck at a U.S. point of entry during regular business hours (8:30 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday) please call ISS at 315-792-7219 and ask to speak to an International Student Advisor. If you are in this situation outside of regular business hours please contact SUNY Poly University Police at 315-792-7222. A University Police officer will get in touch with a member of the ISS staff who will then contact you and try to resolve the problem.

I need to go home immediately.
If you need to go home immediately it is recommended that you inform your academic department and the ISS office. In some emergency situations, however, there is not time for a student to contact these offices. If this is the case, please email iss@sunypoly.edu as soon as possible.

 

Miscellaneous Questions

How long may I stay in the U.S. after I graduate?
Students who have maintained valid F-1 or J-1 status are eligible for a grace period after finishing their program. For students on F-1 visas the grace period is 60 days, and for students on J-1 visas the grace period is 30 days. During this time you may travel within the U.S., make arrangements to return home, transfer your SEVIS record to another school, or apply to USCIS for a Change of Status.

If you are leaving before finishing your program, the grace period will be shortened or eliminated. In this case, you should leave the country or make other arrangements promptly. In this situation an ISS advisor will be happy to discuss the necessary time frame for your departure.

How can I transfer to another university?
After being admitted to another university please make an appointment to meet with an ISS advisor. If you have been given a Transfer Form from the new university it is important for you to bring it with you. If you have not been given a Transfer Form contact the university to ask if they have one. The ISS advisor who meets with you will discuss the “release date” that will be entered into the SEVIS database. After that date the new university will be able to make an I-20 for you.

How can I manage my health insurance?
All full and part time SUNY Poly international students are automatically enrolled in the State University of New York System International Health Insurance policy unless otherwise exempted by SUNY Poly. Information about health insurance for international students or visit the Wellness Center website.

Where can I get help completing tax forms?
International Student Services provides a variety of tax-filing resources for international students: free software, workshops, access to a tax consultant, and more. Emails with information regarding filing taxes are sent out in the spring to all SUNY Poly international students

 

READY TO GET STARTED?

Request More Information

Detailed information, brochures and forms can be mailed to you upon request.

REQUEST NOW

Let's Start The Process     

Complete and submit your application to SUNY Polytechnic Institute.            

APPLY NOW