How to obtain and process your I-20: Part-Time Border Commuter Student Status
What is Part-Time Border Commuter Status?
In 2002, the Immigration and Naturalization Service announced new regulations regarding part time commuter students to serve the educational interests of students living in communities within commuter distance of the border. The interim rule allows Canadian students to study on a part time basis at schools located within 75 miles of the United States border.
To qualify for the classification described above, a student must:
- Be a national of Canada who maintains an actual residence in Canada.
- Be attending a school located within 75 miles of the border.
- Be matriculated (be accepted in a degree program) in a full course of study. A full course is defined as leading to attainment of a specific educational or professional objective, albeit on a part-time basis.
- Seek admission to the United States at a land border port of entry.
- Present Form I-20 endorsed to reflect the student is registered as a "border commuter student" in a full course of study on a part-time basis only to the end of the current semester or term.
Part Time Status Defined
Undergraduate: Less than 12 credit hours Combined Bachelor/Masters Program: Less than 12 hours Graduate: Less than 9 credit hours
You must visit the International Student Office every semester for a brand new initial I-20. Your first part-time I-20 will state in the remarks "initial part-time border commuter student." Your subsequent I-20's will state "continuing part-time border commuter student." As long as you maintain continuous enrollment you will not have to pay the $200 SEVIS fee again.
Please note: Part-time border commuter students may not live in the United States and they cannot work on campus. However, you are able to apply for CPT and OPT.
How to obtain your part time I-20
- Be accepted into a program of study.
- Submit the deposit.
- Submit the International Student Financial forms with supporting documentation.
- Your I-20 will be available at your registration session/orientation session.
How to Process your I-20 at a U.S. Port of Entry
- Check over your I-20 and ensure that all information (name, birth date, country of birth and citizenship, course of study is correct. If there are any errors, please contact the ISO at (716) 829-8119 or (716) 829-8114.
- The SEVIS processing fee ($200US) must be paid BEFORE you go to the port of entry. You can fill out the I-901 form online and pay by credit card at www.fmjfee.com . We suggest that if possible to pay online by credit card. You will receive an immediate receipt that you can take with you to the port of entry. If you mail it in to the address on the front of the I-901 form, you will have to wait for them to mail a receipt back to you, which could take up to three weeks.
- Assemble your financial statements to prove that you have access to enough liquid assets to cover the total in item #8 on your I-20. Financial proof may include official bank statements (on bank letterhead), lines of credit, approved loans, or receipts from the college if you have already paid. Please also keep in mind that you must show proof that you have the capability to cover the entire length of the program. Please check the instructions on the International Student Financial Form.
- If you are sponsored by a parent, family member or employer you will need the notarized "Sponsor Affidavit" stating that they are willing to support your educational endeavor. The sponsor will need to show proof that they have access to enough money in liquid assets to cover the total in item #8c on your I-20 (See #3 above). They must also provide proof of capability to pay for the entire length of the program.
- To process your Federal Form I-20, you need to go to the Peace Bridge. Remember that you CANNOT process your I-20 more than 30 days before the start of class as listed in #5 on your I-20.
- When you reach the booth where the CBP officer asks where you are going, tell him or her that you are a D'Youville College student and you would like to process your SEVIS I-20. They will take your passport and your I-20. They will ask you to pull over to the right where another guard will be waiting.
- Once there, you must show your SEVIS I-20, photo identification, proof of citizenship, the $200 receipt from the I-901 form and your financial documents. They will stamp and return your I-20 with a small, white card (I-94). You will need $6 USD for the port of entry fee(I-94) THESE ARE VITAL DOCUMENTS – DO NOT LOSE THEM.
- After processing at the U.S. Port of Entry you will need to visit the International Student Office to have page 3 of your I-20 signed. Your I-20 isn't valid for re-entry until this is done.
- If you are attending school on a part-time basis your I-20 will be stamped "F-1", it will only be valid for one semester, and you will need to go through Step #6 EACH SEMESTER. Please remember that you will need to contact the ISO before the beginning of each semester. You CANNOT wait to pick up your I-20 after classes begin.
- Carry the SEVIS I-20 and your I-94 with you EVERY TIME YOU CROSS INTO THE U.S. As you pull up to the booth, present your I-20, I-94 and passport to the CBP officer. This includes times when you are not going to class, but just visiting. Tell them you are a student, but you are visiting, going shopping, etc.
- If you plan on working in the US after you complete your program (Optional Practical Training), you must see the ISO BEFORE YOUR GRADUATION DATE.
- After you have completed your program at D'Youville, on your absolute last day when crossing back into Canada, hand the Canadian Customs official your I-94 (small white card) and tell them you are done with school. Keep your I-20.