Please use this section to find information about studying in America, RMU policies, federal regulations, and different opportunities available to RMU students on campus and in Pittsburgh. Note it is your responsibility to understand how to maintain your immigration status while at RMU, and to stay up-to-date on the regulations. We’re here to help!
Driver’s License/State ID
If you will be in the U.S. for more than one year and plan to drive while here, you must apply for a Pennsylvania driver’s license.
If you will be in the U.S. for less than one year (i.e., the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019 is less than one year away), you are not eligible for a driver’s license.
However, you may drive for your first year with a valid home country license and international driving permit
Please see the Department Of Motor Vehicles for the latest information on Pennsylvania driver’s licenses or state IDs.
In addition to your driver's license, you also need the following items to drive legally in the United States:
- Car Insurance
- Car Registration (updated yearly)
- Car Inspection (updated yearly)
Without these items you will be driving illegally and will be fined!
Questions? Please email Tabitha Savka.
Medical Reduced Courseload
Students are eligible to request a Medical Reduced Courseload if they are unable to successfully complete a full courseload (12 credits undergraduate, 9 credits graduate) due to a medical condition.
Please note that this process is to seek immigration permission to take less than a full courseload. The student is also responsible for requesting the course drop or withdrawal from Academic Services.
In order to request a Medical Reduced Courseload from the Center for Global Engagement, please submit a note, doctor's note, from a doctor* who is treating you, that must include the following:
- the date of onset of illness/condition
- the dates the student was (or continues to be) under professional care
- the nature of the medical condition and why/how it prevents/ prevented completion of course work
- the last date the student was able to attend class
- the date of anticipated return to school
*A person is considered a doctor if they are a licensed medical doctor, a doctor of osteopathy, or a licensed clinical psychologist.
Once the Center for Global Engagement has received this information, your request will be considered.
- This process is to seek immigration permission to take less than a full courseload. The student is also responsible for requesting the course withdrawal from Academic Services, and is subject to all RMU policies regarding student withdrawals.
- Receiving permission to take a medical reduced courseload from the Center for Global Engagement does not in any way suggest that RMU will approve your withdrawal request.
- Please be aware that you will still be charged for the tuition for any class you withdraw from, unless otherwise noted here.
- Approval is good for one semester and then must be renewed.
- Students are eligible for a total of one year of Medical Reduced Courseload per degree. Every semester counts as four months.
- Unless otherwise stated in the doctor's letter, a Medical Reduced Courseload request will reduce the required number of classes by one (1). For example, if an undergraduate students requests a reduced courseload, they will be required to take 9 credits, rather than 12. A student may not request a reduced courseload down to zero credits.
Questions? Please contact Jesse Phillips.
F-2 I-20 Request for Spouse and Children
In order to issue the F-2 Dependent I-20, you need to complete this form: Dependent I-20 Request Form.
In addition, you need to email the following documents to newI20@rmu.edu. Please put "F2 Request" in the subject line.
- CLEAR copies of Passports for each dependent
- Copy of your Marriage Certificate (translated into English) for a spouse
- Copy of Birth Certificates (translated into English) for any children
- RMU Financial Guarantee along with Financial Proof showing at least $5000 for each dependent, in addition to the costs associated with attending RMU
If you are SACM sponsored, you do not need to do #4. Instead, send a copy of your most recent financial guarantee.
If you are not SACM sponsored, we need a completed RMU Financial Guarantee and financial proof (e.g. bank statements). The RMU Financial Guarantee and Bank Statements can be completed by anyone willing to sponsor the dependent(s) (e.g. family members).
We cannot issue the I-20(s) until we have these documents and you have completed the form. Once we have a complete application, the standard processing time is 2 weeks.
Last Semester at RMU
Please note that this information is specific to the last semester of study and should not be used in any other scenario.
Do I have to apply for graduation?
- Yes! Academic Services requires that you submit your application to graduate within 10 days of the start of your last semester. Failure to apply by the deadline may result in a significant delay in receiving your diploma. If you do not finish, you must re-apply the next semester or you will not receive your diploma.
Can I take a reduced course load in my last semester?
- Yes, if the credits needed to graduate are less than a full course load, you may contact the CGE for permission to take fewer classes. Please note that when you request a reduced course load, your I-20 Program Length will be shortened to the end of the current semester. This means that if you do not pass your classes, you will have to apply for permission to extend your program.
- Complete the form linked below and bring it to the Center for Global Engagement to request a reduced courseload:
- Reduced Courseload Authorization Form
Can I take online classes AND a reduced course load?
- Undergraduates must take at least 6 on-ground credits before they can register for an online course.
- Graduate Students may not take any online courses without providing evidence from their academic department that they have exhausted all other options. In this unique case, they may take one online course provided they are still enrolled in one on-ground.
- Under no circumstances may a F-1 visa holder be enrolled in only online courses at any point during the semester.
What happens if I do not graduate?
- Please inform the Center for Global Engagement as soon as you suspect you may not complete your degree and no later than your last day of class. You should also contact Academic Services as you will have to re-apply for graduation.
What happens if I take an "Incomplete" grade in one of my classes?
- Taking an "Incomplete" means you are finishing work from a class you were previously registered. Unless you are registered for new class(es), your program cannot be extended. If you are not enrolled in any classes, you will have until the end of the 60 Day Grace Period to complete your work from the previous semester. If you are in the country after that, you will be out of status
When is my Program End Date? For Fall 2018, December 20th is your program end date.
- Your program end date is determined by the day grades are due for that term. You can find this in RMU’s Academic Calendar. Add two days to this date and that the program end date. This date is used to determine application deadlines for OPT, and when your 60 day grace period starts.
When is my Program End Date if I finish in the middle of the semester?
- It is the date that your grades are turned in. This means that students that finish in October or March may not be able to stay in the country for graduation. Please consider this when planning your last semester. You should speak with a CGE staff member to determine this date.
What is the 60 Day Grace Period?
- You have 60 days after your Program End Date to (1) leave the United States, (2)apply for OPT, (3) transfer to a new school/program, or (4) change your visa status.
Please contact Jesse Phillips to discuss these options in more detail. If you fail to complete one of these 4 options within 60 days of completing your program you will be considered out of status.
Return to RMU
Welcome back, we're so glad that you've decided to return to RMU!
Please note that all steps must be completed at least one month prior to the start of the semester in order to be eligible to attend.
To request your new I-20, please complete the following steps:
- Register for courses for the upcoming term if you are able. If not, indicate why you are not able when you send the required documents (described in #3)
- Request your I-20 by completing this google form.
- Email all of the following documents to newI20@rmu.edu with the subject line "Return Student I-20: Your Name" (for example: Return Student I-20: Mickey Mouse)
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of Visa
- I-94 (can be accessed here)
- Copy of financial documentation
- If you are SACM sponsored, a copy of your SACM guarantee
- All other students, send RMU’s completed International Financial Affidavit
- If you have an RMU merit/academic and/or athletic scholarship, you must send that as well
- If you have a spouse and/or child(ren) who need an F-2 I-20 to come with you to RMU, complete the requirements found here.
The following is the process after you complete the above requirements:
- CGE reviews your I-20 Request
- CGE emails you a “Welcome Back” letter. Since you were previously accepted to RMU, Admissions will not issue a new acceptance letter. Instead, the “Welcome Back” letter issued by our office can be used for sponsors or for transfers.
- For Transfer students, provide the Welcome Back Letter and the RMU International Transfer Form to the International Office at your current school. You complete the top half of the form, they complete the bottom half. Send the completed form to newI20@rmu.edu. Your I-20 will be issued after they transfer your record and after you finish classes there.
- CGE issues your I-20 and sends you an email that your I-20 is issued.
- Pay your SEVIS fee if you are a non-transfer student (more information will be provided in the email)
- Email your complete mailing address and phone number so we can send your I-20 (or you can indicate if you want to pick-up).
- Apply for a visa (non-transfer students only)
- Attend SEVIS Registration at Orientation to activate your SEVIS record
- Report to RMU for the start of classes