Faculty and Staff FAQ

General Information

What is the mission of International Student Services?

The mission of International Student Services (ISS) is to actively promote international and intercultural understanding and to cultivate a mutual commitment and support for international education throughout the campus community. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/iss/

Who are considered international students at UALR?

Traditional international students are F-1 or J-1 visa holders, and whose primary purpose for being in the United States is related to their research or study.

How many international students are enrolled at UALR?

As of the Fall 2015 census count, we currently serve 564 international students and 7 scholars from 68 countries.

New Students

How do prospective international students receive admission?

Once an international student chooses to attend UALR, they will go through the regular admission process. International graduate students apply through the Graduate School, while international undergraduate apply through the Office of Admissions. Students who do not yet have academic English proficiency can begin their program in UALR’s Intensive English Language Program.

What are the admission requirements for international students?

Admission standards vary per graduate program, so graduate applicant inquiries are directed to the Graduate School and their program coordinator. Undergraduate students can find a list of required documents on the ISS website.

What evidence of financial documentation is needed for incoming international students?

By federal law, new F-1 and J-1 international students must demonstrate documentation of financial support for an estimated cost of living and attendance in their first year of a new program. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/financialguarantee/.

What is the Immigration Verification Form?

The Immigration Verification Form is an additional document required during or after admission to allow an international student advisor to determine immigration eligibility and issue the appropriate documents including Forms I-20 or DS-2019. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/ivinstructions/.

What is an I-20 or DS-2019?

An I-20 or DS-2019 is an immigration document issued to eligible students who have received admission to UALR. The I-20 is issued to students who will enter with an F-1 visa, while a DS-2019 is issued to students participating in J-1 programs. These documents must be valid and accurate throughout the duration of their program of study. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/immigrationdocuments.

When should new international students arrive to campus?

New international students can enter the US as early as 30 days prior to the new semester, and at least one week prior to the beginning of the semester. This allows new students to complete their immigration reporting and orientation, complete checklist items, register for class, and prepare for a successful first semester. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/arrival/.

Why would a student ask for permission for late entry?

While the best time to enter the US is 1-2 weeks prior to the semester start date, due to  visa, travel, or personal reasons a student may request permission for late arrival. Permission for late entry beyond the first day of class can be provided upon the discretion of the program coordinator.

What is the Immigration Reporting hold?

This hold requires all incoming F-1 and J-1 visa holders (transfers and first time students) to report to International Student Services with their immigration documents and US address, and attend international student orientation.

Why is the Immigration Reporting hold necessary?

This hold ensures all students meet their initial Homeland Security requirements and become properly oriented to UALR for a successful first semester.

Can I ask for the Immigration Reporting hold to be waived?

Upon the specific request of program coordinators or academic advisors, we will delay the hold and allow the student to registration prior to orientation. By requesting this delay, the program coordinator or advisor is vouching for the attendance of their student at orientation.

Enrollment

What are the enrollment requirements for international students?

F-1 and J-1 international students are required to enroll full-time each spring and fall semester. Full-time enrollment is defined by the Records Office as 12 credits for undergraduates and defined by the Graduate School as 9 credits for graduates. Students can receive permission for reducing their course load for medical or academic reasons.

Is enrollment required in the summer term?

Summer enrollment is optional unless 1) the program requires summer enrollment; 2) summer is the student’s first semester in F-1 or J-1 status; 3) summer is the first semester after a leave of absence; or 4) the student is not otherwise maintaining their immigration status.

What are the restrictions for online courses?

Full-time enrollment for international students also includes minimum courses requiring physical presence at UALR. The minimum physical presence requirement for undergraduate courses is 9 credits and 6 credits for graduate students. Lectures, labs, local internships, and hybrid courses all meet the physical presence requirement.  After the physical presence requirement is met, a student may take additional classes online without restriction.

What are the options for enrolling below full-time?

Options for reduced course load include medical recommendation, initial difficulty with English language or US teaching methods, or final semester with less than full-time remaining for graduation. Academic requests for Reduced Course Load must be recommended by an academic advisor or program coordinator. Learn more at http://ualr.edu/international/rcl/.

On-Campus Student Employees

What jobs are international students eligible for?

F-1 and J-1 International students may be eligible for graduate assistantships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, extra labor, hourly positions, or UALRWorks. International students are not eligible for federal work study.

What are the hourly restrictions for international student employees?

F-1 and J-1 international students are limited to 20 hours per week during the spring and fall semester. They may work over 20 hours during summer or official university breaks. Students with other visa types may have more or fewer restrictions.

What is the process for hiring an international student?

Once you have selected an international student for a position in your area, please issue him or her a job offer letter. The hiring office must complete all other paperwork with Human Resources, Graduate School, etc. to hire a new position.

What are the requirements for the job offer letter?

The offer letter should be written on department letterhead, signed and dated. It should be addressed to the student and include the job title, brief summary of the position, anticipated start date, and expected hours per week.

What is the student’s responsibility after receiving a job offer letter?

After receiving a written job offer, the student will submit the online On-Campus Employment Eligibility Form for Non-Resident Alien Employees (NRA) available at http://ualr.edu/international/nra/

How do students receive their SSN?

International students who do not yet have a Social Security Number can apply for an SSN after they have been issued a valid job offer letter. When they complete the NRA form, an international student advisor will review their SSN eligibility and issue an SSN support letter if needed. For most students, they will be able to apply for an SSN and receive their number within 10 days. However, some students may need to go through a secondary screening process which delays receipt of their SSN.

Can students begin working without their SSN?

Students cannot begin working until they have their SSN and have completed the New Hire Packet with Human Resources. However, they may complete their paperwork and begin working with only the number if they are waiting on receiving their actual card.

When will on-campus work authorization end?

In most cases, on campus work authorization will continue as long as the student is enrolled full-time and meeting the other F-1 immigration requirements. However, on-campus employment authorization ends on the last day of finals of the student’s last semester. This date is listed on the student’s I-20.

Off-Campus Work Authorization

When can students work off campus?

In general, students cannot work off campus without specific work authorization. Work authorization may be granted for an academically required internship (CPT), due to severe economic hardship, or after graduation (OPT).

Do students need academic credit for an internship?

To be eligible for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), F-1 students must have completed 2 full academic semesters and be fulfilling a program requirement for their work experience. Many students will work with the Office of Cooperative Education and Internship Placement to register for a Co-Op for the semester of the internship. Students who need practical experience to complete a final project, thesis or dissertation, or degree requirement may also be eligible for CPT.

J-1 students do not need academic credit to receive authorization for Academic Training related to their major area of study. Academic Training can be before or after graduation.