How do I apply for a student (F-1) visa to come to the United States?
When may I arrive?
What should I do when I arrive at Florida Tech?
When can I move in to university housing?
I don’t have anywhere to live when I arrive. Who can help me?
Is there public transportation available in Melbourne?
Am I required to have health insurance?
What do I do if I want a family member to visit me?
What do I do if I want my spouse or children to stay in the United States with me?
Do I have to be enrolled to stay in the United States? What about during the summer?
Can I work while in the United States?
How do I obtain a social security number?
Do I need to pay taxes?
May I transfer to another university?
Can I use my international driver's license to drive in the U.S.?
When can I apply for a U.S. driver's license?
Please visit the Department of State's website for visa application information. The procedure is slightly different from one U.S. consulate to another, so you will want to read the information for the particular consulate that you plan to visit.
The U.S. consulate or embassy abroad can process your visa up to 90 days before the start date of your academic program. You may enter the country as early as 30 days prior to the program start date that is noted in item #5 on your I-20 or item #3 on DS-2019. You will not be expected to arrive on campus, however, until the arrival date on your I-20 or DS-2019.
In accordance with immigration regulations, you must provide us with copies of your immigration documents upon arrival. These regulations apply to students from outside the United States, as well as to students transferring to Florida Tech from another U.S. school. Questions about class registration, student ID cards and getting settled on campus will be answered during orientation, which is mandatory for all new and transfer students.
You will not be able to move in to university housing until the first day of orientation, which usually coincides with the start date on your I-20. Further details on moving in to campus housing can be found at www.fit.edu/orientation.
The Predeparture Information webpage contains a list of hotels in the area, as well as a few websites to to help locate an apartment prior to your arrival.
Because our rail and bus systems are limited, many Americans own cars. However, owning and operating an automobile in the United States can be expensive. Space Coast Area Transit provides inexpensive, but limited, public transportation in Brevard County through fixed-route bus systems. For more information about schedules, visit www.ridescat.com. Alternatively, we recommend the use of a bicycle if you live on or near campus.
There is no socialized or national system of health care in the United States and medical treatment is expensive. All Florida Tech students are required to have appropriate medical insurance coverage. As part of your tuition and fees, you will be charged for student health insurance and you will be automatically covered through Florida Tech’s health insurance plan.
If your family member will be applying for a visitor's visa, you should write a letter to your family members stating that you would like them to visit you in the United States. Additionally, you may request an enrollment vertification certificate through PAWS to share with your family. You can find more information about visitor's visas on the U.S. Department of State's DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application website.
ISSS will assist you in bringing your spouse and children to the United States. The process includes requesting completion of forms I-20 or DS-2019, along with financial documentation. The process is very similar to when you obtained your visa, since your family will be required to apply for the F-2 or J-2 visa from the U.S. embassy in your home country. Please note that, due to immigration policy, ISSS is unable to provide documentation for family members other than your spouse or children.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires all international students in F-1 status to maintain full-time enrollment status throughout their program of study. Unless it is your first semester, you do not have to be enrolled in the summer. Summer is considered your official “vacation time” from school, so you may remain in the United States and not be enrolled.
As an F-1 or J-1 student, you are allowed to work 20 hours a week on campus during fall and spring semesters and full time during the summer. If you want to work off campus, you will have to apply for permission and F-1s may not work off campus during the first nine months of a program of study. Comprehensive workshop sessions on Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) are offered regularly by ISSS.
A social security number will only be issued with verification of an offer of employment. Information on how to apply for a social security number will be covered during orientation. Further information is also available on our SSN webpage.
Every year, international students must file documentation with the Internal Revenue Service, even if they have not worked in the United States. ISSS provides all international students with up-to-date information and resources, as well as complimentary nonresident income tax filing software to assist you in filing your income tax return forms.
Florida Tech policy states that you are required to attend for one full semester if you enter the United States on an I-20 from Florida Tech. Florida Tech will not release a student until he/she completes one semester of attendance.
International students may drive with both a license from their country of origin and an International Driver's License for 90 days in the US before they have to obtain a driver's license issued by the state of residence. A Florida driver's license or a State of Florida identification card can be obtained at any Department of Motor Vehicles office.
You must wait at least ten calendar days from the date of entry into the United States before applying for a driver's license or ID to allow time for all the government databases to update with your arrival information. You must also make sure you are in active status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Talk with an international student advisor before you apply for a license to make sure you are active in SEVIS. After the ISSS office activates your record in SEVIS, you should wait at least two additional business days before you apply for a driver’s license. This gives all the databases time to update with your new information.
You should be prepared and know that you will not be able to obtain a U.S. driver's license for the first two to three weeks of the semester.
For more information on obtaining a U.S. driver's license, please visit our Obtaining a Driver's License page.