International Students Resources

International Students Resources

We understand that traveling to study in the US can be a big change for you. That's why Sattler College wants to make it as easy as possible for you so that you can be set up for success.

Table of Contents

Important Considerations

Check Your Passport

Acquiring a passport is the first step for any international travel. If you do not have a passport at the time you start your admission application, we advise you to visit your local passport control office and apply for a passport as soon as you can. If you already have a passport, ensure that your passport will remain valid for the entire duration of your stay in the United States.

There are many reasons why we encourage you to prioritize making sure that you have a valid passport even before beginning your application.

  1. Every embassy of the United States will require a valid passport before issuing a visa. Acquiring a visa is a legal prerequisite for any international travel and entry into the United States.
  2. Your passport will serve as your primary identification document for your time in the United States.
  3. Customs and immigration procedures will require a valid passport for your entry into the country as well as a hassle-free departure in case you need to leave at any time.

Count the Cost

In the United States, the cost of college can be overwhelming. However, one of Sattler’s distinctives is our commitment to making education affordable and accessible to students who are dedicated to pursue education for the sake of serving the Kingdom of God. We are happy to announce that Sattler has replaced traditional tuition with an Entrustment tuition model which awards all accepted students fully-funded tuition in exchange for their dedication to Kingdom service and financial gratitude. Visit the Entrustment page for more information about this opportunity. 

However, even with Entrustment, you will still have the responsibility to cover all other expenses for your travel and stay in the United States, which include room and board, student charges, books, and others. If you have limited financial resources for these costs, be sure to ask the admissions team about any available sponsorships or grants for which you could apply.

Required Steps Before Coming to the US 

Receive and Accept Your Offer of Admission 

Visit the Admissions and International Students’ requirements pages to make sure that you are aware of all the requirements to receive an offer of admission. Once you have received your offer from Sattler, you will need to accept your admission offer in order to move ahead. Then, please contact the financial office to confirm the next steps to settle your financial information. You will need to confirm your intent of enrollment by making an enrollment deposit. 

After receiving your admission to Sattler College, the office of the Primary Designated School Official (DSO) will be in touch with you to guide you through the necessary steps for your travel to the United States. Below, we’ve outlined important information and steps to help you prepare for your journey and understand what is required for entry into the United States.

Receive an I-20

To travel to the US, you will need a visa. For all admitted Sattler College students, the required visa is an F-1 visa. Before applying for an F-1 visa at the US consulate in your home country, you must obtain an I-20, which will be issued by your DSO. Feel free to reach out to your DSO if you have any questions or concerns.

To obtain your I-20, you must fulfill certain requirements, in addition to submitting your enrollment deposit:

  • Provide a copy of your passport.
  • Submit your financial information.

If you are a transfer student and have already provided these documents or have an I-20 already, an updated I-20 will be generated upon receipt of your initial deposit. However, it is essential to inform your current school of your intent to transfer and request a SEVIS transfer as soon as possible. Upon notification, your current school will update your record in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) as a “transfer out” with a release date. After this release date, Sattler College will complete your transfer and issue a new I-20, which serves as your new Certificate of Eligibility for an F-1 visa.

Pay the SEVIS Fee

Additionally, your DSO will give you instructions on how to pay your SEVIS fee. This will activate your SEVIS record. Be sure to keep a copy of your payment receipt for your visa appointment and your personal records.

Apply for Your Visa (DS-160)

Once you’ve paid the SEVIS fee, you can begin your visa application process. It’s important to note that visas cannot be issued inside the US unless you are eligible for a change of status. Below, we’ve provided information to guide you through your visa application. Be sure to consult the US Department of State website for further details regarding US visas.

The DS-160 form serves as your visa application. The requirements for your DS-160 may vary depending on the country from which you are applying. As you start your visa application process, it’s important to be aware of the current waiting time for a visa interview at the US embassy in your country. You should plan accordingly, keeping in mind that your visa needs to be issued before the New Student Orientation, because Sattler requires international students to arrive in the United States before this orientation. If your estimated arrival date is after the student orientation, please contact the admissions department as soon as possible. 

After submitting your DS-160, you will receive a printed confirmation receipt with a barcode, which you will need for your visa interview. 

Schedule Your Visa Interview

You can find information about your local embassy or consulate online. Be sure to review the requirements on the website of the consulate where you plan to attend your visa interview, as different embassies may have varying requirements. Keep your payment receipt for your records if you make a payment for your visa application.

Before your visa interview, ensure you have the following documents ready for evaluation by the consular officer:

  • Valid passport
  • Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) with all required information
  • Printed copy of your I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation
  • Proof of admission
  • Evidence of financial support

During your visa interview, the consular officer may request additional documents. Before going to your interview, check the consulate website to ensure you have all the required documents for your visa issuance. If you have extra supporting documents that are not listed, consider  bringing them along as they might be helpful. Examples might include your national ID, birth certificate, or academic transcripts.

Receive Required Immunizations

Before your departure for the United States, we strongly recommended that you obtain all necessary vaccinations in your home country. Vaccines will likely be more affordable there than in the United States. Details and guidance on required immunizations will be available in the  orientation course that you are required to do in Populi (SAT 101). 

Please note that students must fulfill the immunization requirements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts before attending classes. 

Entrance to the US

How to Ensure a Smooth Entry

  • Do not keep important immigration documents in your checked baggage.
  • Carry with you your passport with the visa in it, your signed I-20, your financial information, and any other documents that might be needed.
  • Carefully review all prohibited and restricted items and do not bring them with you.

What to Expect at the Port of Entry

A visa does not guarantee entry into the US. It only allows you to travel to a US Port of Entry (generally an airport or land border). DHS officials at the Port of Entry have the authority to permit or deny your entry into the country. Please contact your DSO for specific instructions regarding your entry. We encourage you to have all the documents you used for your visa application with you when you get to the Port of Entry.

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CPB) tracks your status and recent travel history. This information is saved in your I-94 record. 

Please be advised that you may not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to your program start date as listed on your I-20.

Upon arriving at a United States Port of Entry, a CBP officer will determine your admissibility to the United States. For more information, please review the US Customs and Border Protection Guidelines. At a primary inspection, a CBP officer will do the following:

  • Review your immigration documents
  • Scan your passport and take a photo of you
  • Take your fingerprints
  • Ask questions regarding your purpose and intent

If the CBP Officer has any concerns, you might be taken for a secondary inspection. A secondary inspection is a more detailed inspection to determine your admissibility into the United States. At a secondary inspection, the CBP officer might do the following:

  • Ask more questions about your purpose and intent of travel to the US
  • Request additional documentation or contact your DSO for additional information

What to Do in Case of an Emergency

If you are being denied entry, contact the office of the DSO at dso@sattler.edu, and you will be given an emergency phone number.

Maintenance of F-1 status

As an international student in the US, it is important that you know how to maintain your nonimmigrant student status. This means that you should continue to take all the necessary actions to remain with a valid visa status. Make sure that you ask your DSO any questions you have about maintaining your status. Further information about your stay in the United States can be found here.

What It Means to Maintain Your F-1 Status

As an international student on an F-1 visa, you have certain responsibilities and guidelines that you will need to follow. It is extremely important for you to maintain nonimmigrant F-1 status while in the United States. Failure to maintain the terms and conditions of nonimmigrant status is grounds for deportation from the United States. Maintaining status includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Reporting to your DSO as soon as you arrive in the country
  • Maintaining a full course of study at Sattler during every academic session except during school breaks, unless approved by your DSO for a specific exception
  • Making normal progress toward completing your program of study

Remember that you are in the United States to attend school and this must be the main focus of your stay in the country.

F-1 students may not work off-campus, unless specifically authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) after one year of study or Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon graduation. Your DSO should be your primary contact for anything regarding work in the United States. 

Why It Is Important to Maintain Your F-1 Status

If you do not transfer, change status, or receive OPT approval, but continue working or living in the United States after the completion of your academic program and the expiration of your F-1 visa status, you will be considered to be in the US on “unlawful presence.” If you overstay in the US for more than 180 days of unlawful presence (with a terminated visa status), you might be subject to a 3- to 10-year bar to admission in the US.

Employment on F-1 Status

As a student on an F-1 visa, you must understand the rules of your visa status before engaging in any form of employment.

Employment is defined as “any form of work that you can do in exchange for compensation.” Compensation includes working for money or any other item in return, including benefits or payment of your room and board. As an international student in the United States, you must keep studying your primary purpose for being in the United States, or you will not be able to maintain your F-1 status. Working without authorization can terminate your F-1 status, which will forfeit your ability to study, travel, or work in the US. Please review the information provided carefully and do not hesitate to contact your DSO if you have any questions.

On-Campus Employment (Work-Study Program)

All students at Sattler College (including international students) are eligible for Sattler’s work-study program during the academic year, and most students do. Available on-campus jobs include work in marketing, admissions, student services, IT, tutoring, the library, and others. As an international student, you are able to utilize this work-study program to work in any field that fits your interest, past work experience, or future aspirations.

GETTING A JOB

As per the current USCIS F-1 requirements, international students in the US may work not more than 20 hours per week during the school year. During breaks, you may contact your assigned supervisor and get approved by your DSO to work up to 40 hours a week.

  • Search for available work-study positions. All the available positions will be listed in Populi.
  • Send your application for the job in which you are interested. Due to multiple applicants, we recommend applying promptly.
  • Receive your job offer.
  • Start working on your pre-hire paperwork. Typically, a student can not submit their pre-hire paperwork until they have received a job offer. Pre-hire paperwork includes (but is not limited to) the Form I-9. If you have any questions regarding the Form I-9, contact your DSO.

APPLYING FOR AN SSN

You cannot get paid for your work-study position until you receive a US Social Security Number (SSN). In the United States, a Social Security Number is a 9-digit number issued to citizens and eligible non-citizens. Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. An SSN is important because you need it to get a job both on-campus and off-campus. Many other businesses, such as cell phone providers and banks, might also ask for your SSN. You cannot apply for an SSN until you have received a job offer, but neither can you be paid for employment until you provide your SSN to the financial office.

To apply for an SSN, you are required to complete an application online through the official portal of the Social Security Administration in Boston and then schedule an appointment for an in-person interview. We are privileged to be located very close to the Social Security Administration office in Boston, so it should not need to be a problem to stop by the office, located at 10 Causeway St., on your way to or from campus. 

You will need the following documents for your interview:

  • Employment offer letter. If your employment offer is from Sattler (the only option unless you are already in your sophomore year and have been approved for CPT), contact your DSO at dso@sattler.edu to receive your offer letter with all the information required by the Social Security Administration Office.
  • Passport with valid F-1 visa.
  • I-20 (including your CPT work authorization if your employment offer letter is for a CPT position).
  • Proof of residency. You can get this from your DSO. 
  • Other supporting documents. If possible, bring along your birth certificate, national ID or driver’s license, and your parents’ names and dates of birth.

Note that all documents must either be original documents or be certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies, digital copies, or notarized documents may not be accepted.

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT

If you need advice or help to open a bank account, contact Student Services or ask a fellow student. 

ENROLLING FOR DIRECT DEPOSIT AND SUBMITTING YOUR TIMESHEETS

Contact the financial office at bwulf@sattler.edu for further instructions about how to get signed up on the school payroll system.

Off-Campus Employment

A benefit of the F-1 student visa is the opportunity to work off-campus in your chosen field as practical training. This means that you can work in a field related to your program of study at Sattler with authorization by USCIS prior to employment. This provision is called Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), depending on whether you do it during or after your academic studies. 

Both CPT and OPT are designed to give you the opportunity to gain meaningful, practical experience that will enrich your academic program. Remember that your employment authorization is automatically terminated if you fail to maintain your F-1 status.

CURRICULAR PRACTICAL TRAINING (CPT)

CPT allows you to work up to 20 hours per week in the school year and 40 hours per week during breaks in a field that is related to the major that you are pursuing at Sattler. For CPT, you will need approval from your program coordinator at Sattler. Note that you are not permitted to apply for CPT before you have completed one year of academic study in the US. 

If you are interested in applying for CPT, please contact your DSO.

OPTIONAL PRACTICAL TRAINING (OPT)

OPT allows international students to apply for work authorization for 12 months after completing their program of study. There is an OPT extension available for students who have completed a STEM program. 

If you are interested in applying for OPT, please contact your DSO.

Frequently Asked Questions

I received my I-20 from Sattler. How soon can I apply for a visa?

You should try to submit your visa application (DS-160) as soon as possible after you receive your I-20, since your local US embassy or consulate may have a wait time for visa interview appointments. Once you have submitted your DS-160, schedule an appointment at your local US embassy or consulate to obtain a visa interview.

We encourage you to keep this process in mind and plan accordingly, because you will need to receive your visa and travel to the US before the New Student Orientation. Otherwise, you will be deferred to the next term.

Can Sattler assist in making a visa appointment or filling out my DS-160?

While we can’t assist in scheduling a visa appointment, you can find the most up-to-date wait times on the U.S. Department of State website. The DS-160 is a personal application, so we cannot assist in filling out the form.

The earliest available visa appointment is after the start of New Student Orientation. What should I do?

It is best to take the earliest available appointment date (even if it is after your program start date), so that you can apply for an expedited visa request. You need to have a scheduled appointment before you ask to have the appointment expedited.

My visa is not approved in time for the New Student Orientation. What should I do?

Contact the DSO at dso@sattler.edu about your visa denial and ask about your options. Never use a visitor or tourist visa to enter the US!

I am a Canadian citizen. Does the same process apply to me?

If you are a Canadian citizen, you do not need a visa interview and will receive your F-1 visa stamp at the Port of Entry (simply show your Canadian passport, I-20, SEVIS receipt, and proof of financial support at the Port of Entry to request your F- 1 visa). Just like other international students, you will receive an I-20 and will be required to pay your SEVIS fee. The restrictions regarding employment also apply to you.

Please note that if you are a permanent resident of Canada, this exception does not apply to you and you will need a visa interview.