This document was compiled by the GEO in concert with representatives from the International Center, Academic Human Resources, Rackham Graduate School, and other U of M offices as part of an effort to establish a coordinated university response to graduate employees who encounter immigration difficulties.

(1) Where can I go for help with a visa or immigration issue?

(2) I’m leaving the country. Who should I tell?

(3) What information and documents should I take with me?

(4) I’m planning on renewing my visa while I’m abroad. What can I do to help make this go smoothly?

(5) Can the university expedite my visa process if I run into trouble?

(6) What if I can’t make it back for the start of a term or for the beginning of my job responsibilities?

(7) What if I’m a newly admitted graduate student?


(1) Where can I go for help with a visa or immigration issue?

You should contact the International Center at (734) 764-9310 or icenter@umich.edu. If you are expecting to apply for a U.S. visa stamp, look at the travel advisory information page. If you are experiencing problems related to obtaining or renewing a visa, you should fill out the Visa Assist Program Webform. Having the information described in the answers below will make helping you much easier!

(2) I’m leaving the country. Who should I tell?

You should let your department know when you are leaving, where you are going and for how long. You should also find out who in your department you should contact if you encounter immigration or visa problems. Additionally, it’s a good idea to register with the university at the International Travel Information and Registry. If you will be gone for an extended period of time (not just spring/summer term, but a fall or winter semester), make an appointment with an International Student Advisor at the International Center prior to your travel to ensure continuation of your immigration status or other options available to you.

(3) What information and documents should I take with me?

In addition to your passport (with US visa stamp), your I-94 card, and I-20/DS-2019 with valid travel signature and visa, you should definitely make sure you know or have your UMID number. It is a good idea to carry your admission letter and proof of your funding with you as well. If you do research that may be considered a security concern to the US or the country you are traveling to, ask your department to provide you with a letter of support that explains your work clearly in ordinary language. You may also want to take department administrator contact names and the contact information for your academic advisor, research advisor and employer.

(4) I’m planning on renewing my visa while I’m abroad. What can I do to help make this go smoothly?

(1) Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to renew your visa before you leave the U.S. and familiarize yourself with the procedures for renewing a visa (Do you need to make an appointment? What documents are you required to bring?). You can usually obtain this information by visiting the website for that embassy or consulate. Visit the U.S. State Department’s Embassy Directory to find the web address for specific embassies and consulates.

(2) Make the necessary appointments as far in advance as possible.

(3) Carefully review the visa information provided by the International Center at their Information for International Students page.

(4) If you hold an H1-B visa, the International Center FSIS office will provide you with a certified travel pack of your immigration documents. If you hold an F or J visa, the International Center provides Designated School Official travel signatures on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.

(5) Can the university expedite my visa process if I run into trouble?

The University is unable to affect the actual issuance of a visa, but can help you manage the consequences of your visa problems. The International Center can advise you on how to prepare yourself before your appointment at the embassy/consulate and the Visa Assist program can facilitate communication between you and University departments and offices if your visa is denied or delayed.

(6) What if I can’t make it back for the start of a term or for the beginning of my job responsibilities?

If you are scheduled to be appointed by the University in any capacity, you should ensure that your departmental supervisor, faculty mentor or other appropriate administrator are aware of your situation and the reason for it, as well as your extimated arrival date in Ann Arbor.

(7) What if I’m a newly admitted graduate student?

All newly admitted graduate students should make every effort to arrive on time to attend the Rackham Graduate School orientation and their departmental orientation. If graduate students are not able to attend the first day of class, they should contact their departmental administrator to request a later arrival date. Late arrivals are approved on a case-by-case basis and usually not beyond the first week of class. Another option is to request a deferment of admission to the next available term.