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International Student & Faculty Office 
Williston Hall, 406

Phone: (815) 753-1346
Fax: (815) 753-1488
Email: isfo@niu.edu

Hours: 8-12 pm & 1-4:30pm

Closed for lunch 12-1pm

Walk-in Hours: 1-3 pm

International Word Cloud 1

Welcome to the International Student and Faculty Office

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.


STEM Extension Ruling UPDATE - DEADLINE MOVED TO MAY 10, 2016.

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 May 10, 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.

OPT mandatory workshop dates and times for Spring and Summer 2016 Grads now available.

If you will be graduating in the Spring or Summer 2016, you will need to attend a mandatory OPT workshop before you can apply for OPT. The dates and times are now available. Click here to see the dates and follow the instructions on how to reserve your spot. Remember, there are limites spaces for each date so it is first come, first served basis.

Global Friends Network Application for Spring 2016 semester now available

How would you like to be paired up with a domestic student for one semester and participate in fun activities? Wouldn't it be fun to showcase your culture to a domestic student and learn from a domestic student about their culture? Well then if that is what you are looking for, apply to become a part of the Global Friends Network. We just finished our first semester and it was a success. Learn about Global Friends Network program and fill out an application by clicking here. See below the participants from Fall 2015 semester.

Global Friends Network participants

Reduced Course Load in Final Semester - New requirements and form available now!

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.

Celebrate Bilingualism and earn credits. Click on the image below to find out more information.

Celebrate bilingualism

Master of Science in Management Information Systems is now a STEM Degree

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!!

Resources for Students

  • Outstanding Student Contribution to International Education Award
  • Zeta Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Delta; honor society for international education