International Student Services

Policies and Procedures

Processing Timelines

ISS forms and requests are processed in the order they are received. Processing times vary based on the time of year and request type. Once your request is reviewed and processed, you will receive an email from an ISS staff member. We ask that you do not contact for status updates since this will only cause delays in the processing timeline and advising services. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Application responsibilities

All applications, such as for Optional Practical Training or a Social Security number, are the students’ responsibility.  While ISS tries to provide necessary documents with care, it is always the students’ responsibility to ensure their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 are correct.


Students must beware of deadlines and processing timelines. ISS will take care to notify students of appropriate deadlines, but it is the student’s responsibility to take ISS processing times into account when applying for benefits.  ISS does not expedite late requests. Registration and refund deadlines are based on the UW official academic calendar, and students must familiarize themselves with these important Academic Calendar dates each quarter.


Although ISS advisers are experts in F-1 and J-1 regulations, they are not attorneys.  Students should consider their options carefully, and there may be situations in which an advisor may recommend consulting with an experienced immigration attorney for advice.

Records retention

Forms I-20 and DS-2019 are important government documents and should be treated like a passport.  Students must keep electronic and paper copies of all documents during their years at UW and even after graduation.  Forms related to F-1 or J-1 status may be needed for a later change of status petition, such as to H-1B or permanent residency.  If students request copies of documents from ISS, that request is subject to the one month processing time.  Records are destroyed after 6 years as required by the UW campus records retention policy.

Drop for low scholarship

Students who are dropped for low scholarship and are not permitted to enroll in subsequent quarters must take action immediately to maintain valid F-1 status.  Students must depart the United States or if admitted to a new school must submit a timely SEVIS transfer request for the next possible enrollment term.

Course Drops and Former Quarter Drops

F-1 and J-1 students must maintain their full-time enrollment as required by regulations, even if UW policies might allow for a course drop or withdrawal.  In some cases a retroactive Former Quarter Drop may be permitted in active SEVIS status, provided the student was in valid status in the prior quarter.  Students must consult with ISS before dropping below full-time enrollment for any reason. Request forms for approval are usually required.