Immigration Terms
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS): An online U.S. government system which manages and tracks international students and scholars.

  • Form I-20: The immigration document which all F-1 international students are required to use to secure and maintain their visas, which is created and maintained through SEVIS.

  • Curricular Practical Training: Federal immigration authorization given to international students for off-campus employment/internships in limited circumstances and under very strict guidelines.

  • Optional Practical Training: Federal immigration authorization given to international students for off-campus employment under certain guidelines.  International students are typically entitled to one year of authorization, which may be taken in the summers before graduation or in the year following graduation.  Certain STEM majors are eligible for an additional 24 months under with some restrictions.

JMU Designations
  • Study Group International: A global company that prepares international students for university degree programs, teaches high school education, and teaches English language courses. Study Group owns and operates colleges and also partners with more than 50 universities across the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia.  JMU contracts with Study Group to recruit international students and manage our International Study Center.  

  • International Study Center (ISC): The program managed by Study Group which offers English language assistance to incoming international students whose English test scores do not meet JMU undergraduate requirements.  ISC students enroll in a combination of non-credit English and college prep courses, along with academic courses taught by JMU professors hired through University Programs.

  • JMU recognizes 5 main immigration/citizenship categories of students:

    • U.S. Citizen Student: Any student who is eligible to hold a U.S. passport;

    • U.S. Permanent Resident Student: Any student who was born outside the U.S., but has been granted permission to remain in the country permanently (a.k.a., a green card holder);

    • International Student:

      • Direct Enroll:  An international student who has been directly admitted into the full-time undergraduate or graduate program of the university, without first attending the International Study Center;

      • ISC Completer: Any student who has successfully completed the  International Study Center and progressed into full-time undergraduate studies;

      • ISC Current: Any student who is currently enrolled in the International Study Center, with the intention of progression into a full-time undergraduate program upon successful completion of the ISC program.

      • Other: there may be other visa-holding international students on campus, enrolled through Outreach and Engagement.

Visa Types
  • F-1 students: F-1 is the most common student visa type, making up approximately 94% of all JMU international students.  F-1 students are degree-seeking students who come to JMU intending to complete a full program of study and earn a degree.

  • J-1 students: J-1 is the visa type for exchange students, making up approximately 3% of the JMU international student population.  J-1 students are typically at JMU for one semester only.

  • Other visa-type students:  JMU’s remaining 3% international population hold various types of visas, most often as dependents of parents in the U.S. 

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