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International Student Office - What We Do



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Currently, WKU has four individuals authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to issue immigration documents and provide regulatory advisement for students and scholars (and any dependents) on F1 and J1 visas . Individuals authorized to work with F1/F2 visas are Designated School Officials (DSO's) and those authorized to work with J1/J2 visas are Alternate Responsible Officers (ARO's). Each SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) certified school must have a Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) and Responsible Officer (RO). The PDSO and RO roles require significant knowledge and experience with F and J immigration regulations found in the Code of Federal Regulations so that they may train the ARO's and DSO's. These roles are normally filled by a Director of a school's international student office.

Our office works closely with the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and its branch offices - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Social Security Administration, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.


The DSO serves as a link between nonimmigrant students and SEVP and plays a central role in ensuring the nonimmigrant students at their school maintain status while in the United States.

Each DSO utilizes the SEVIS database (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). This database allows the Department of Homeland Security to maintain an audit trail of transactions and track students and scholars while in the United States.


The RO must ensure that the following requirements are followed:

  • Size of program—Sponsors, other than Federal government agencies, must have no less than five exchange visitors per calendar year.
  • Duration of program for other than Federal government agencies—The minimum period of program participation in an exchange visitor program is 3 weeks, with the exception of the category of Short-term Scholar and Secondary School Student.
  • Reciprocity—Sponsors must make a good faith effort toward reciprocal exchange, with Americans going abroad.
  • Cross-cultural activities—Sponsors must make cross-cultural programs or activities available to their exchange visitors in order to expose them to American society, culture and institutions.

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 Last Modified 9/25/14