Welcome to Immigration Services

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Immigration news

Notice to prospective F-1 students

Western Michigan University has become aware of an influx of prospective F-1 students applying to "school A" to obtain admission and immigration documents to enter the United States, who then immediately apply for transfer to "school B". Please be aware that this scenario has created significant difficulties for many prospective students.

If you arrive at WMU and immediately seek to apply for transfer-out to another university, please be advised this may cause severe complications for you, including SEVIS termination or the need to leave the United States immediately. See the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website, section 2.4.

WMU recommends that you enter the U.S. on the immigration form I-20 and visa for the university you wish to attend. If you request immediate transfer-out upon arrival to WMU, please be advised that due to the heavy volume of reporting at the beginning of each semester it will generally require up to ten business days from the start date of the WMU semester to process SEVIS transfer-out requests.  In order for a transfer-out application to be processed, you must submit a complete application with all supporting documentation at the same time to WMU Immigration Services. For the WMU Transfer-Out SEVIS Record Request form, visit the immigration forms page.

Earthquake in Nepal

WMU would like to share some resources that were recently provided by the The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The U.S. Dept. of State offers the following blog post and list of charities/relief organizations that might be of help in light of the earthquake in Nepal. Following is a list of links for further information. Please let us know if we can be of further help. You and your families continue to be in our thoughts at this difficult time.

U.S. Department of State: How You Can Help Those Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

USAID: Earthquake in Nepal

Institute of International Education: IIE Emergency Student Fund to Assist Nepali Students on U.S. Campuses

DHS eligibility extension

Effective May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security is extending eligibility for employment authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants. DHS amended the regulations to allow these H-4 dependent spouses to accept employment in the United States. For more information, visit the USCIS website.

Fraud alert

Recently, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program became aware that scammers are targeting students in the Chicago area in an attempt to solicit fund on behalf of the I-901 SEVIS fee. Scammers are requesting those targeted to send up to $4,000 to avoid deportation. These incidents are currently under investigation by the Chicago Police Department and SEVP intends to cooperate fully and will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Indications of fraud:

  • Students should disregard any phone call from a person attempting to collect the fee. SEVP will not contact students via phone to threaten or request money.
  • The scammers are reportedly requesting up to $4,000 in fees. The I-901 fee is $200 at the most.

If a student receives a phone call, do not give any information to the person on the phone and do not send funds to the scammers. Contact the WMU Police Department at (269) 387-5555 to report the incident and contact WMU's Immigration Services at  (269) 387-5865 and a DSO will help report the incident to SEVP.

Income tax assistance for international students and scholars

Glacier Tax Prep is available only to Western Michigan University foreign students, scholars, researchers, trainees and their dependents, who are nonresident aliens, to provide aid in preparing U.S. federal income tax forms 1040NR and 1040NR-EZ.

Ebola outbreak-related immigration relief measures

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. USCIS offers relief measures to nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone who are currently in the U.S. For more information, visit the USCIS website.

United States' database glitch delays passport, visa processing

The U.S. State Department's global database for processing visas and passports is experiencing problems that could cause delays for millions of people around the world waiting to receive travel documents. For more information, visit the National Public Radio website.

Enhanced security measures for electronic devices at certain airports overseas

Electronic devices are already screened daily; but now, airport security officers might ask travelers to power up their devices, including cell phones. Devices that cannot be turned on will not be permitted on the aircraft, so it's important to have them charged prior to going through security. For more information, visit the TSA Blog.

SEVP launches mobile-friendly website

All F nonimmigrant students and J-1 exchange visitors must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee on FMJfee.com prior to applying for a visa to study in the United States. To make the process easier, FMJfee.com is now accessible on mobile devices. Users can now log in to the site on any mobile device to:

  • Find recent news and updates related to the I-901 SEVIS fee.
  • Check an I-901 SEVIS fee payment status.
  • View and save an I-901 payment confirmation so you can print it later.
  • Read answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Visit Study in the States and associated social media platforms.

Those who have paid the fee must print a copy of the I-901 SEVIS fee payment confirmation to take with them when applying for a visa to enter the United States. Showing a copy of it from a mobile device will not be accepted.

International students may experience delays at U.S. ports of entry

As of May 2, 2013, due to heightened security, United States Customs and Border Protection officers are verifying the status of F-1 and J-1 nonimmigrants in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System before admission at port of entry. As a result, it has been reported that many Western Michigan University students and exchange visitors are referred to secondary inspection, where their SEVIS record will be reviewed. Due to these new entry procedures, F-1 Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors entering the United States should plan to spend a couple of hours in the secondary inspection process and plan flight connections accordingly. Additional information will be furnished when available.
Read more in Inside HigherEd.

Customs and Border Protection to roll out new arrival/departure record process

Effective April 30, 2013, United States Customs and Border Protection will begin to discontinue the paper I-94 arrival/departure record. Instead, a paperless electronic process will be implemented, whereby students can access a portal to print a copy of their electronic I-94 arrival/departure record. This will be useful to students to prove their status to Western Michigan University officials, the Social Security Administration, the Secretary of State, and other such agencies, as needed. For more information on this new process, review the Customs and Border Protection fact sheet.

Special notice for Iranian students planning to study in energy or nuclear fields