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International Student & Faculty Office
Williston Hall, 406
Phone: (815) 753-1346
Fax: (815) 753-1488
Hours: 8-12 pm & 1-4:30pm
Closed for lunch 12-1pm
We're very glad you have chosen Northern Illinois University! All of us in the Division of International Affairs are happy to meet you and graciously treasure the cultural heritage you bring to NIU.
The staff of the International Student and Faculty Office is here to help you transition to NIU and help you throughout your experiences.
The purpose of this website is to provide students, faculty, and staff with useful information about our office and how we can help answer any questions you have.
There has been a challenge to the STEM OPT 17 month extension. Based on a recent court case, it was determined that the rule, which allowed for the 17 month extension, did not go through the proper notification and comment period. The Department of Homeland Security has been given a stay for six months, which means the current law will proceed without interruption until February 12, 2016. This gives the DHS time to submit the regulation through the proper channels.
Students who currently have the F-1 STEM extension may continue their employment and students who qualify for the STEM extension but have not yet applied for it may still apply for the STEM extension during the normal time frame for filing STEM extension applications.
At ISFO, we realize that this ruling has a strong impact on you and we understand your concerns. Unfortunately, we will not have answers to specific student case questions until more information from DHS has been released. ISFO is actively monitoring this issue and is working through our national organization to advocate for the upholding of this important benefit. We will share any updates as soon as they are available.
For all new undergraduate and graduate international students starting at NIU in August 2015, orientation powerpoint presentations from Monday morning and Thursday afternoon are now available for viewing. Click on the link Programs and Events on the left hand side to view the powerpoints.
For students in their final semester and not holding a graduate/teaching assistantship, there is no longer a minimum number of credits necessary to be enrolled in. In the past, undergraduate students needed to be enrolled in 6 credits and graduate students in 4.5 credits in their final semester to be approved the underload. The new rule is that you will need to be enrolled in the number of credits necessary to graduate in the final semester. You will need to print out the form and go to your academic advisor before you drop it off at ISFO. The form can be found in ISFO. If you have a graduate assistantship, you will need to receive the approval from the graduate school and also fill out ISFO's form!
NOTE: 1) If you will be enrolled in only one course,it cannot be an online course; 2) if you do not complete your coursework in that final semester and have been approved an underload, you will have to be enrolled as a full-time student in the following semester (Undergrads: 12 credits for Fall and Spring; Grads 9 credits for fall or spring semester and 6 credits for the summer for both Undergrads and Grads.
Over the course of less than a week, we have been made aware of a couple cases of fraudulent phone calls made to students by individuals posing as USCIS immigration officer in regards to their current immigration status. These individuals are asking for personal information (SSN, passport number, addresses, etc…), money transfers in order to correct the record and threatening students with immediate deportation back to their home country. If you or anyone you know receives a phone call from such an individual, please make sure to hang up immediately and DO NOT give out any personal information over the phone. USCIS and other government agencies will NOT call you to ask for any forms of payment to be made (whether it is a transfer or an over the phone payment) or anything personal (passport number, date of birth, SSN, etc…) regarding your case. They will send you a letter in the mail if there is anything that needs immediate action or will update your case status online with what you may receive in the mail. If you are a victim of this telephone scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1). You can also call USCIS and your local police department to report the fraudulent phone call and provide them with the phone number that it came from. Contact ISFO immediately if you receive anything that you suspect is fraudulent.
The OM&IS Department and ISFO are pleased to announce that the Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MIS) in the College of Business has been approved as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) designated degree program by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE).
Under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, international students who graduate from colleges and universities in the United States are able to remain in the country and receive training through work experience for up to 12 months. Students who graduate from a designated STEM degree program are eligible for an addition 17 months of OPT Extension.
Both departments are very excited about the opportunities for current and future international students who graduate from this program!!