Information for International Students

Legal documents

Keep your immigration documents updated and valid in order to stay in the United States and continue studying at Indiana University. If you want to drive or get married while you’re here, be sure to read about driver’s licenses and marriage licenses.

Before you can enter the United States, you must obtain a U.S. visa, which is a stamp inside your passport that permits you to travel to a port of entry, such as an airport or land border crossing, and request to enter the United States.

Expired visa

If your visa expires but you still have a valid I-20 and I-94, you may continue to stay in the United States until you finish your studies. Unless you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or one of the islands adjacent to the United States (other than Cuba), if you leave the United States with an expired visa you will be denied reentry until you obtain a new valid visa.

Multiple visas

If you have more than one valid U.S. visa in your passport, make sure you tell the CBP officer processing your reentry which visa you are traveling on and specify if you are entering the United States as a student, a dependent, a tourist, or something else.

Family and friends visiting the United States

If you have friends or family members who are not your children or spouse who want to visit you in the United States, they must apply for a B-1/B-2 visitor visa to gain entry into the United States. They cannot apply for dependents’ visas (F-2/J-2).

Indiana will allow you to use your foreign driver’s license as long as you remain a nonresident. Based on Indiana law, if you are at least 16 years and 180 days of age, have a valid license from your home country, were lawfully admitted into the United States, and remain a nonresident of Indiana, you can drive legally in the state of Indiana.

If you have a license from a country other than your home country or plan on driving across state lines, schedule an appointment with one of our legal interns to determine the restrictions that apply to driving with your license in Indiana and anywhere else in the United States.

You must have insurance to drive legally in Indiana. If you are caught driving without insurance, you will be charged with a crime, which can have serious immigration consequences. Don’t drive in Indiana without insurance.

International Driver’s Permit (IDP)

If you have a driver’s license from your home country, you are not required under Indiana law to carry an IDP. However, if your driver’s license is not in English, you should either have an IDP issued from your home country or carry a verifiably accurate English translation of your license.

IDP’s are usually valid for up to one year. You cannot drive with an IDP if you do not have a valid foreign license.

Off-campus housing

Generally, off-campus housing options are not affiliated with Indiana University, and the university cannot make housing arrangements for you. However, there are many resources at IU to support and guide you in finding housing and signing a lease.

Leases are binding contracts in Indiana, and you are bound by their terms as soon as you sign. Come to Student Legal Services for a free lease analysis. We will help you understand what you are signing before you are bound.

Security deposits

Some landlords may require international students to pay additional security deposits. This is probably legal, but there are some limitations on how landlords can use your deposit. For more information check out the off-campus housing section of this website, and schedule an appointment with us if you have more questions.

Credit checks

Most landlords will include a credit check as part of the application process. Credit checks are usually done by checking the tenant’s social security number. If you are an international student without a social security number, the landlord can’t do a standard credit check on you. When they can’t do a credit check, landlords will sometimes require the tenant to pay several months of rent up front, they may collect additional security deposit money, and may require you to find a guarantor to sign the lease with the tenant.