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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. When are the walk-in hours (hours when no appointment necessary)?
  2. My visa has expired, what do I need to do?
  3. How do I extend my DS-2019?
  4. How long can I stay in the United States after I finish my program at Lehigh?
  5. What financial resources do I have to submit to show that I have sufficient funds to support myself?
  6. Can my spouse who has a F-2 Visa work?
  7. Can my spouse who has a J-2 Visa work?
  8. How can I extend my I-20?
  9. How can I bring my Spouse to the U.S. to join me?
  10. Can I have my visa renewed within the U.S.?
  11. Must I go to my home country to request a visa?
  12. What is an Overstay?
  13. How do I get a driver's license?
  14. What is a Social Security Card?
  15. How do I get my ID card?
  16. How do I get e-mail access through campus?
  17. Where can I find housing if I'm a graduate student?
  18. What do I do if I need housing during a break?

Answers to FAQs

  1. When are the walk-in hours (hours when no appointment necessary)?

    The walk-in hours are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1:30-4:00 p.m.

  2. My Visa has expired, what do I need to do?

    The U.S. visa is the stamp that you received when you went to the American Embassy to request the entry into the U.S. This stamp is used for entry purposes only. Once you have arrived in the U.S. and your entry stamp has expired, unless you are traveling outside the U.S., you need not worry about this stamp. If you plan to travel outside the U.S., you will need a new visa stamp to enter the U.S. You will need to request this stamp at a U.S. Consulate in a foreign country. The Office of International Students and Scholars can assist you with this process.

  3. How do I extend my DS-2019?

    Your academic advisor must complete a Recommendation for Extension Form. This process must be completed within 30 days before your DS-2019 expires. Also, if financial support is not continued by the University, original proof of financial support is required. A new DS-2019 will be issued. For more information, please see extension for J-1 students or extension for J-1 scholars.

  4. How long can I stay in the United States after I finish my program at Lehigh?

    After completion of a program (not necessarily completion date on the I-20 or DS-2019), INS regulations allow a 60-day grace period for F-1 visa holders and 30-day grace period for J-1 visa holders. This grace period is to be used for preparation to return home. Work is not allowed during this period.

  5. What financial resources do I have to submit to show that I have sufficient funds to support myself?

    If an applicant is NOT receiving financial support from Lehigh University, they will need to prove they have enough readily available funds to meet the expenses for the first year of study, tuition, living expenses plus insurance. The financial information must be current (within the previous six months of beginning classes) and must be an original or notarized copy from a Bank.

  6. Can my spouse who has a F-2 Visa work?

    F-2's are not permitted to work, although F-2 spouses may take incidental courses. But if an F-2 spouse will be a full-time student, a change of status to F-1 is required.

  7. Can my spouse who has a J-2 Visa work?

    Yes, but the J-2 spouse must file an application to work with INS and receive authorization from INS before he or she may begin working. ISS can help with this process.

  8. How do I extend my I-20?

    Your academic advisor must complete a Recommendation for Extension Form. This process must be completed within 30 days before your I-20 expires. Also, if financial support is continued by the University, original proof of support is required. Your I-20 will be updated. For more information on F-1 extension of stay, click here.

  9. How can I bring my spouse to the U.S. to join me?

    Stop by the Office of International Students and Scholars and pick up a "Spouse's form". This form outlines the financial information required to bring your spouse. If you already have sufficient funds to cover the additional cost for your spouse, ISS will issue the immigration form. We will need your spouse's name, date of birth, country of birth, and country of citizenship.

  10. Can I have my visa renewed within the U.S.

    No, U.S. entry visa's can only be issued outside the U.S.

  11. Must I go to my home country to request a visa?

    As long as you have not been an "overstay", you can go to any U.S. consulate throughout the world. But you should check to make sure that the consulate you wish to go to will accept TCN (Third Country National) U.S. visa requests.

  12. What is an Overstay?

    An Overstay is an individual who has stayed in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the I-94 issued to the individual at the port of entry. Although, F-1 and J-1 visa holders receive D/S notations on their I-94. This means that the individual may stay in the U.S. for the duration of his/her studies. The expiration date the student needs to remember is the date of expiration of the I-20 or DS-2019. These two forms must be kept valid at all times. Only an immigration judge or immigration officer can state if an F-1 or J-1 student is an overstay.

  13. How do I get a driver's license?

    Pennsylvania has tightened the requirements for obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver's License, Learner's Permit and/or Identification Card.

    New Int'l Students and Scholars: Pennsylvania honors a valid foreign driver's license with an international driving permit for a period of up to one year. If the foreign license and/or international driving permit expires before one year, the individual must apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit to continue to drive in this state. An international driving permit is required ONLY if the foreign license is from a country that is not a part of the Geneva Convention or the foreign license is not in English. All holders of foreign licenses MUST apply for a Pennsylvania learner's permit if they wish to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license. NOTE: In order to be eligible for a PA ID, Permit, or Driver’s License, there must be at least ONE year remaining on your I-20, DS-2019, or I-797) at the time of your application.

    Moving to Pennsylvania: If you are moving to Pennsylvania from another state in the United States, you must obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence in Pennsylvania.

    For detailed information on procedures and required documents, click here. For PA Driver's manual and Application, visit Pennsylvania's DMV

  14. What is a Social Security Card?

    A social Security number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit taxpayer identification number, issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and qualified foreign nationals - including F-1 and J-1 students who meet the requirements. Eligibility to apply for an SSN is dependent upon having valid employment authorization.

    For detailed information on how to get a SSN and the procedures, click here.

  15. How do I get my Lehigh ID card?

    Lehigh University issues full-time students an ID (identification) card. It is a small card with a photograph, a student number, and other important information on it. A Lehigh student ID allows you to borrow materials from the libraries, to use the University meal plan, to charge items at the Bookstore, to participate in the GoldPLUS program, and to be admitted to athletic facilities and events. You must register for classes before you can get an ID card. The ID office is located in Christmas-Saucon Annex (Bldg. 14A).

  16. How do I get e-mail access through campus?

    When you receive your picture ID, you will be given instructions on how to get a network ID and password. These instructions are designed to help you independently login to the campus system. You must first get the ID card. Twenty-four hours after your ID card has been activated you will be able to get your network ID and password.

  17. Where can I find housing if I'm a graduate student?

    Graduates have two options, on or off-campus housing.

    Off-Campus. Rental units in the South Side Bethlehem area around Lehigh are not especially expensive or difficult to find, depending on your price range and your willingness to have roommates. The Southside area around campus has very few one-bedroom or studio units. Most units are houses that are shared by 4-6 people and 2-3 bedroom apartments. The houses usually include utilities and a washing machine and dryer. Average monthly rent varies depending on whether you live:

    • Alone in a 1 bedroom: $450-$650 + phone service + electricity + cable TV + heat + laundry
    • Sharing a 5 bedroom: $300 + phone service + cable TV (utilities & laundry are usually included)

    To find more compressive list of rentals and information, please visit the Graduate Student Life website.

    On-Campus. Graduates have two on-campus university housing options: Saucon Village Apartment Complex and Packer House.  These two options are smoke-free and especially useful for incoming students who don't have the time to look for off-campus housing when they first arrive. Saucon Village typically has a long waiting list, so apply early and check regularly with the Residential Services office for availability. All graduate student housing is assigned on a first-come, first serve basis. Becoming a roommate is one of the best strategies for getting a unit in the university owned Saucon Village Apartment Complex.  For more information on graduate housing, contact the Office of Residential Services at (610) 758-3500, email inrsd@lehigh.edu or visit their website.

  18. What do I do if I need on-campus housing during a break as an undergraduate student?

    For housing during breaks contact the Office of Residential Services (ext. 8-3500) in early November for information regarding housing over the mid-semester break. In the past, arrangements have been made with Residential Services to allow undergraduates to remain in their Residence halls.

Office of International Students and Scholars • Lehigh University • 32 Sayre Drive, Coxe Hall, Bethlehem, PA 18015 • 610-758-4859 • Fax: 610-758-5156 • intnl@lehigh.edu
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