International Programs & Services
Welcome to International Programs & Services! The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design is dedicated to serving the needs of prospective international students as well as currently enrolled MIAD students. The Admissions office provides individual advising to prospective students about the admissions process from application to acceptance. Additionally, Student Services provides an array of services for enrolled international students including new student orientation, individual advising regarding federal immigration regulations and procedures, cross-cultural challenges and personal matters. The Registrar’s office also advises both international and domestic students regarding opportunities to study abroad. We invite you to ask questions and seek assistance at any time. Please contact us by telephone, e-mail, individual appointment or simply stop by the office at your convenience. The office environment is generally informal and you are welcome to call us by our first names.
International Student Application Process
- High School/Secondary School Transcripts
- College Transcripts, if applicable
- Portfolio Review
- TOEFL Exam or ELS Certification
- Verification of Finances Form
- English Translation & Evaluation of all Post-Secondary Transcripts
TOEFL or ELS Certification International students must speak English and are required to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores of 79 (Internet) or 213 (computer) or 550 (paper) or more in order to be considered for admission into MIAD’s programs. Students may also be pursuing or hold ELS certification to apply for admission to MIAD. English Translation & Evaluation of all Post-Secondary Transcripts All post-secondary education transcripts must be translated into English and evaluated by a certified organization at the expense of the applicant. The MIAD Office of Admissions can provide a list of translation organizations. Please note this translation process can take several weeks. Verification of Finances Form International applicants should make realistic financial plans for proposed study in the United States. A notarized statement of funds available to support the duration of study at MIAD will be required. The Verification of Finances Form will be sent to the student upon receipt of the application for admissions. (Annual expenses for international students typically run $1500 higher than for domestic students due to travel costs.) Upon receiving all required application materials and a non-refundable $500 tuition deposit, MIAD will issue a United States Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service Form I-20. I-20 Form Before an international student can obtain an F-1 visa to travel to the United States, he or she must have a letter of acceptance from MIAD and the completed Form I-20 from MIAD. Students should make certain their passports and visas are in order before coming to the United States. It is advisable for international students to apply at least one year prior to the beginning of the school term during which they intend to study. Insurance & Visas MIAD requires all international students to obtain the MIAD Health Insurance for International Students. International students are enrolled in the student health insurance program by their Advisor during Orientation, upon arrival at MIAD. International student visa applications are processed through an INS system called SEVIS. SEVIS is an interactive up-to-date database that tracks personal and academic information on non-immigrant students. To ensure that international students do not jeopardize their visa status, international students are required to attend a special orientation held by the International Programs Office regarding SEVIS requirements. Employment Employment for international students cannot be arranged during a student’s first calendar year in the United States under F-1 visa status. It is therefore unrealistic for international students to anticipate income from part-time work during the first year.
TOEFL Test Information
- Present a score of at least 550 (paper exam), 213 (computer exam) or 79 (internet-based exam)
- The TOEFL requirement may be waived if the student has attended a U.S. high school or college for at least two years or if the student is a citizen in a country where English is the native language. Click here to see a list of countries where English is considered the native language for classroom instruction.
- To register for the TOEFL test or obtain previous test scores, contact Education Testing Service, Rosedale Road, Princeton, New Jersey 08541, USA or on-line at www.ets.org.
English as Second Language
Applying for a Passport
A valid passport is one of the key immigration documents all international students are required to present at the U.S. consulate in order to apply for an F-1 student visa stamp. These two documents, the passport and the visa, along with the I-20 document are required documents to apply for entry into the U.S. upon arrival at any international airport. The I-20 is a form that MIAD prepares for all admitted students who have demonstrated that they have the financial resources available to study at MIAD. To obtain a passport from your home country’s government, contact your country’s passport office for information about application and fees. In most cases, passport processing can take several months, please apply well in advance of the time you plan to apply for a visa stamp. MIAD recommends that you apply for a passport as far in advance as possible, ideally up to one year ahead of the time you plan to apply for admission. Please also note that the visa stamp application process can take place only after you have received the passport. Application appointments and/or visa processing can take several months at some consulate posts. Please contact the designated consulate for your city or region or refer to this visa processing timetable tool maintained by the U.S. State Department.
What is a passport? Your passport is the identity document issued by your country’s government permitting you to leave and re-enter your own country, and apply for entry to other countries. Any person wishing to enter the U.S. must show a valid passport to apply for a visa or to seek admission at a U.S. port of entry. Passport Requirement Exemptions Citizens of the following countries/territories are exempt. Canadian citizens and some Canadian landed immigrants entering from within the Western Hemisphere, citizens of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands who have proceeded in direct and continuous transit to the U.S., and British citizens who reside in Bermuda or Canada entering from within the Western Hemisphere. Exemptions are subject to change, please contact the U.S. Consulate or embassy in your country for the most current information. Validity Requirements At all times, your passport must be valid for a minimum of at least six months from the date of expiration. If you need to renew your passport during your stay in the U.S., contact your home country’s consulate located in the U.S. Most are located in Washington, D.C., New York, NY or Chicago, IL. For contact information, visit the U.S. State Department Foreign Consular Listing.
What is a Visa?
After I have my visa, I will be able to enter the U.S., correct? A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry where the the Department of Homeland Security immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States. See Admissions on the CBP website. My visa expires in 5 years, what does this mean? A visa must be valid at the time a traveler seeks admission to the U.S., but the expiration date of the visa (validity period/length of time the visa can be used) has no relation to the length of time a temporary visitor may be authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to remain in the United States. Persons holding visas valid for multiple entries may make repeated trips to the U.S., for travel for the same purpose, as long as the visa has not expired, and the traveler has done nothing to become ineligible to enter the U.S., at port of entry.
Applying for a Visa
This information is for student who plan to enter the United States to begin their program of study. For information on renewing your visa, or for details regarding how to apply for a student visa, please contact OIPS.
Applying for a Visa: Step-by-Step
- Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1 international student visa.
- After you receive an I-20 form from MIAD, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa.It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
- Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy’s or Consulate’s web site.
- If your I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004, and is marked for “initial” attendance (see #3 on your I-20 form), you will also need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
- Complete the following forms:
- DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
- DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant
- Males between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality, DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- To Pay By Mail
- Get a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants”.
- Download the I-901 form or
- Ask for the form by phone at 800.870.3676 (inside the United States)
- Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
- Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only!) in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to “The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement”.
- Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. You may therefore obtain a check from a bank chartered or operated in the United States, a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank, or a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.
- Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
- A Form I-797 receipt confirmation letter should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of this receipt letter, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
- Get a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants”.
- To Pay Online
- Find the I-901 Form
- Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
- You must bring the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her database.
- If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
- Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
- A passport valid for at least six months
- Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)
- School admission letter
- Completed visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
- Two 2″x 2″ photographs in the prescribed format
- A receipt for the visa application fee
- A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.
- Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
- Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the United States. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
- Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions to you openly and honestly.
- Source: The content of this page provided by the Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
To download and read a PDF, get Adobe Acrobat Reader
Maintaining your Visa Status
- Make sure that your immigration documents are valid and unexpired.
- A passport valid at least six months into the future
- An I-94 card marked “F-1 D/S”
- An unexpired I-20 that has been stamped by an immigration inspector or activated by an OISP advisor
- A valid F-1 visa ( for re-entry to the U.S. only)
- Register for and complete a full course load of 12 credits every semester.
- All students are required to make normal, full-time progress toward degree completion.
- Do not begin off-campus employment without written authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the OISP.
- Full-time students in F-1 status may accept on-campus employment of no more than 20 hours per week during the school year, or full-time during vacation periods.
- Most forms of off-campus employment require government authorization through USCIS, processing time varies but can take several months.
- Notify OISP of your change of address within 10 days of a move.
- F-1 students must maintain a local U.S. address and an international address in their SEVIS record, which is entered into the system by OIPS.
- Apply for an extension of your I-20 before your document expires, if you need more time to complete your program.
Maintaining status in the United States is your individual responsibility. Keep current about the latest changes in immigration regulations by reading e-mail messages sent from OIPS to your e-mail account and reading this website for updates. You are also very welcome to stop by the office at anytime!
Glossary of Immigration Terms
SEVIS: Frequently Asked Quesions
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a U.S. government database developed to maintain information on international students and exchange visitors and their dependents. U.S. colleges are required to use this system to report certain information about students and exchange visitors coming to their institutions. Thus, SEVIS maintains information about F visa holders from the time they receive their documents (I-20, visa, etc.) until they complete their programs in the U.S. This information can be accessed by the college, US embassies and consulates, US ports of entry, US immigration agencies, the Department of State, and exchange visitor programs. I am an F-1 student. How does SEVIS affect me? SEVIS maintains the same information that appears on your printed I-20. In addition, MIAD is required to report the following types of information into SEVIS:
- Start date of your next academic term [i.e. the required date for full-time enrollment], and whether or not you are enrolled full-time by that date
- Withdrawals below a full-time course load without prior approval from OIPS
- Address and name changes. You are required to notify OIPS of changes within 10 days of moving.
- Actions that affect your study program, such as change of major, I-20 extensions, graduation, etc.
- Off-campus employment authorizations
Please review the Maintaining Your Status page to make sure you fully understand the requirements of your student visa. A brief overview of SEVIS is available from the U.S. government, click here. Please contact OIPS with questions you might have about SEVIS. Beginning September 1, 2004, a new United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule went into effect. This rule requires F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $200 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The following information specifically addresses fee issues for F-1 students. This page will answer the following questions:
- Who Pays the SEVIS Fee?
- Will Other F-1 Students in the United States Have to Pay?
- When Do I Pay the SEVIS Fee?
- Can I Pay the SEVIS Fee at a College, Consulate or Port of Entry?
- How Do I Pay the Fee?
- Will DHS Keep a Record of My Payment on File?
- What Do I Need to Do to Apply for an F-1 Visa, Change of Status or Reinstatement?
- What if My F-1 Visa Application is Denied?
- Prospective students with “initial attendance” I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for an “initial” F-1 visa from outside the United States.
- Prospective students with “initial attendance” I-20s dated on or after 9/1/2004 who are applying for a change to F-1 status from another visa category.
- Current F-1 students in the United States filing for reinstatement after being out of status more than 5 months, and who are issued an I-20 issued for reinstatement that is dated on or after 9/1/2004.
Will Other F-1 Students Currently in the United States Have to Pay? No, unless the student’s circumstances change so that he or she fits one of the categories mentioned above. When Do I Have to Pay the Fee? The fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa, or applying for admission at a US port-of-entry for those exempt from the visa requirement. The fee must be paid prior to submission of a change of status petition or reinstatement application. Can I Pay the SEVIS Fee at a College, Consulate or Port of Entry? The fee can only be paid to the DHS by mail or online and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the United States. How do I Pay the Fee? The fee can be paid by mail or online. Instructions for each case appear below. To Pay By Mail 1. Obtain a Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants”.
- Download the form from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program
- Request the form by phone at 800.870.3676 (inside the United States)
2. Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on the I-20 or DS-2019. 3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of USD $200, made payable to “The Department of Homeland Security”. Sources for such checks and money orders include banks chartered or operated in the United States, foreign subsidiaries of U.S. banks, or foreign banks that have an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank. 4. Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the P.O. Box listed on Form I-901. 5. A Form I-797 receipt notice should be mailed within 3 days of processing the fee. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents. By mail, by submitting Form I-901, Fee remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, together with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency. To Pay Online 1. Find the Form I-901 at Student and Exchange Visitor Program 2. Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 or DS-2019. 3. Print a copy of the online receipt. 4. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents.
- A third party such as a friend, family member, or other interested party can pay the fee on your behalf through the same means described above.
Will DHS Keep a Record of My Payment on File? Yes. DHS has confirmed that fee payment made on one SEVIS ID number (i.e. I-20) can be applied to another SEVIS ID number issued to the same individual. The new student will need to bring in proof of the SEVIS ID number connected to the SEVIS fee — i.e. the unused I-20 or DS-2019. Bring the I-20s of both the school for which you paid the fee and the school you will be attending, as well as your SEVIS fee payment receipt, to the consulate or port-of-entry (if you are applying for a visa, you should bring both of the I-20s back to the consulate). What Do I Need to Do to Apply for an F-1 Visa, Change of Status or Reinstatement?
- Obtain the appropriate I-20 from a DHS-approved school.
- Pay the SEVIS fee by mail or online.
- Make a copy of the Form I-797 (mail) or computer receipt (online) for your records.
- Submit a copy of the Form I-797 or computer receipt with your visa, change of status or reinstatement application.
- Students who are exempt from visa requirements, such as Canadians, should take a copy of the SEVIS fee receipt to present at the port of entry with the appropriate I-20. It will not be possible to pay the fee at the port of entry.
- For change of status or reinstatement applications, if you previously paid the SEVIS fee while attending a different school, you should submit a copy of that school’s I-20 form with your application.
What if My F-1 Visa Application is Denied, will my SEVIS fee be refunded? The SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again. Source: The content of this page is from the Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
Immigration Information for Newly Admitted Students
This page is meant to provide admitted students with useful information about the immigration process. Please contact International Programs & Services (OIPS) if you have any questions. We recommend that you contact us with questions before your appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to be sure you are fully prepared for this important meeting.
Overview of the Visa Process
In order to enter the U.S. as an international student, the U.S. government requires that you complete the six immigration steps outlined below. These requirements apply to all international students entering any college in the country.
NOTE: If you are already in the U.S. in F-1 student status, a different process is required. Please contact OIPS for instructions.
1. Once admitted, MIAD will send you an I-20 by mail
2. Once you receive the I-20, pay the “SEVIS fee” on-line
3. Make an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate (unless you are Canadian)
4. Go to the U.S. embassy or consulate, apply for and obtain the U.S. visa stamp
5. Enter the U.S. and travel to MIAD
6. Check in at the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS)
- Once admitted, MIAD will send you an I-20 by mail
Once you have shown proof of your finanical support, MIAD will send you a “certificate of eligibility” called an “I-20.” You will need that I-20 to apply for an “F-1” visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate (unless you are a Canadian citizen; Canadians are not required to obtain visa stamps to enter the U.S.). If you are already in the U.S. in F-1 status, please contact OIPS for information on how to transfer your current F-1 record to MIAD.
- Once you receive the I-20, pay the “SEVIS fee” on-line
Once the MIAD I-20 arrives in the mail, you will need to pay the $100 SEVIS fee to the U.S. government. SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is a central computerized system that maintains and manages data about international students during their stay in the United States. The SEVIS program was implemented in August 2003.Payment Instructions
- Connect to the Internet and navigate to www.fmjfee.com
- Search for Form I-901
- Complete the form on-line. Your name should appear on the form exactly as it appears on the I-20 form prepared by MIAD. Contact OIPS immediately regarding any error on the I-20 form.
- Enter payment information (Visa, MasterCard or American Express)
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- Make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other important immigration documents
- Make an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate (unless you are Canadian)
Next, call the U.S. embassy or consulate assigned to your region to schedule an appointment to obtain a U.S. visa stamp. This visa stamp in combination with your I-20 document allows you to apply for admission to the United States when you arrive at the international airport. Canadians are not required to obtain a visa stamp, according to U.S. immigration law.
- Travel to the U.S. consulate, apply for and obtain the U.S. visa stamp
The visa interview is an important appointment. It is typically very brief, but the decision made by the interviewing immigration officer is lasting. Appointments in some regions are made months in advance, please contact the embassy or consulate in your area for information.
- Enter the U.S. and travel to MIAD
On the flight to the U.S. the flight attendant will distribute an immigration entry card to all passengers, just before landing.This card is called the I-94 form.The form number appears in the bottom right-hand corner of the long, narrow, white card.Complete the form carefully, the information written on the card should match the information that appears on your passport, visa stamp and I-20 form.As you reach the immigration desk in the airport, called “the port of entry”, you will be guided to wait in line in front of the immigration desks.When it is your turn in line, present your I-20 form, passport and I-94 card to the immigration official.Once approved to enter the United States, the I-94 card will be stamped, indicating the date and location of entry.Place this I-94 card with your other important immigration documents.
Once you enter the U.S. through the port of entry, travel the final step of your journey to the MIAD campus!
- Check in at the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS)
When you arrive at the MIAD campus, please come to our office and say “Hello!”We will be excited to welcome you to campus and answer any questions you may have about housing and other important issues.We will also make a photocopy of your important immigration documents at this time.These photocopies will allow us to report your arrival to the Department of Homeland Security, which all colleges are required to do.
- on a part-time basis only during the academic year while engaged in coursework
- on a part-time or full-time basis, during the annual vacation period
- on a part-time or full-time basis, while working on a required final project following completion of all coursework
- on a full-time basis only once all degree requirements have been fulfilled
Each F-1 student is granted a maximum of 12 months of optional practical training. Optional practical training can be used on a pre-completion and/or post-completion basis, as long as the total amount used does not exceed 12 months. You must also meet certain eligibility criteria as indicated below. Note that part-time OPT counts at a rate of 50% toward full-time OPT. For example, 2 months of part-time OPT is equivalent to 1 month of full-time OPT. Please contact OIPS for details about applying for Optional Practical Training. Applying early is strongly recommended. Curricular Practical Training Curricular Practical Training (CPT) allows you, as an F-1 student, to accept paid, off-campus employment that is an integral part of the curriculum of your degree program. CPT is divided into two categories:
- Internship: the employment is a mandatory part of a course that you are taking for degree credit. The course may be an elective, but the credit must count toward your degree.
- Practicum: this is a non-credit employment or fieldwork experience that your department requires of all degree candidates in your program.
CPT is available only if one of these categories is included in the curriculum of your degree program. Because every program has different academic requirements, not every student at MIAD will be able to take advantage of CPT. Please contact Duane Seidensticker in Career Services for information about Curricular Practical Training. Please contact OIPS for details about applying for any form of employment authorization and accepting employment offers We look forward to helping you succeed!