International StudentsPage Menu
The Office of Student Affairs provides information and guidance for all of Northwestern’s international students. The primary contact for international students is the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO).
Lori Hanegraaf, Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)
To study in the United States, a student must be granted F-1 student status and pursue a “full course of study” to achieve a specific educational or professional objective. This must be done at an academic institution in the United States that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer courses of study to such students.
Once the educational or professional objective has been attained, the F-1 student is expected by the United States government to return to their residence abroad.
A student acquires F-1 status using Form I-20, issued by the academic institution through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS):
- F-1 status: eligibility, I-20 issuance, student's role in process, maintaining F-1 status and important reminders
A spouse or dependants of international students must establish status through the F-2 process:
- F-2 status: eligibility
Instructions to enter the United States
Eligibility for training-related employment in the U.S. - Standard Post-Completion 12-Month Optional Practical Training
- When you complete your studies - actions to be taken at the end of a course of study
U.S. Government Contacts:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Bureau of Consular Affairs (U.S. Department of State)
For information on passports, visas and international travel, visit Bureau of Consular Affairs.
The reference used by the Office of Student Affairs for information on international students is “NAFSA: Association of International Educators Advisor’s Manual.”