International Student Services

ISS Policies and Procedures


Applications (such as CPT or OPT) and requests (such as document reprints or travel signatures) require 10 business days processing time.  Business days do not include office closures such as weekends or campus holidays. ISS will email the student when the application or request is processed.

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 students’ responsibility to check all documents such as the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 for accuracy.  UW will not reimburse fees for applications late or incorrectly filed.


Meeting deadlines is the responsibility of each individual student.  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.  Late applications do not result in expedited processing.  Registration and refund deadlines are based on the UW official academic calendar, and students must familiarize themselves with these important 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.

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 10 business day 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 Hardship Withdrawals

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 Hardship Withdrawal 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.