Welcome to New Mexico Tech!

Adjusting to life in the United States and the New Mexico Tech community can be a challenge. This guide and the New International Student Orientation have been developed to address the special concerns that our international students may have. One of the goals of the Office for International Programs is to provide students with a basic understanding of matters relating to their status as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder and how that relates to education. Another goal is to help students navigate aspects of American culture which may be unfamiliar to them.

During their time here at Tech, students will not only get a world class education and attain the skills necessary to become a great scientist or engineer, but they will also have many opportunities to develop professional and personal relationships that will last throughout the students’ lifetime. The Office for International Programs encourages students to get to know the people around them. Faculty members, fellow students and NMT staff; along with the Socorro community, will be a great support network for years to come.

The Office for International Programs

The Office for International Programs, housed in the Center for Student Leadership & Engagement, is set up to help students with any problems that they may encounter while enrolled at Tech. Our main focus is protecting students’ legal status, as well as offering a place to come and find answers to any questions students may have.

The Designated School Officials (DSOs: person authorized to sign F-1 documents) are Michael Voegerl (Director of Student Leadership & Engagement) and Sophia Bauer (Assistant Director of Student Leadership & Engagement). The Responsible Officers (ROs: person authorized to sign J-1 paperwork) are Michael Voegerl (Director of Student Leadership & Engagement) and Jessica Dennis (Human Resources). 

Tech’s Responsibilities: Recordkeeping and Reporting

The Office for International Programs must work within the limits of the law, but we work for the students and NMT, not for any branch of the US government. The Office for International Programs helps both the students and NMT maintain compliance with the law.

The law requires NMT to keep the following information on file for every F-1 and J-1 student:

Students will be asked to fill out an International Student Information form and will be asked to notify the Office for International Programs any time this information changes.

Upon arrival at NMT, students will be asked to present the following: passport, visa, I-94 or DS-2019 to be copied.  If a student is issued a new passport or visa during their time at NMT the student will need to bring the new passport or visa to the Office for International Programs for copying.

NMT will also keep records of full time enrollment, academic credits attained each semester, admission documents, research progress and completion dates. These additional documents may be kept in the Registrar’s office and the Center for Graduate Studies.

Some or all of this data may be released to USCIS upon their request. Without a request from USCIS, 

NMT will not make any report or disclosure. NMT does not share your information with any outside vendors.

Record keeping laws apply to all students; foreign or domestic. Students can find more information about record keeping in this document.

Taxes, Treaties, Social Security Numbers and I-9s

Assistance with these matters is available in the International Tax Compliance Office and the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement. Your Compliance Analyst  is not a tax professional and their advice is just advice, not legal help. Students must inform the International Tax Compliance Office each time they obtain on campus employment and each time they travel outside the United States.

Taxes and Treaties

Students from a country that has a treaty with the United States may be exempt from taxes on a portion of their earnings.  All of the forms needed to claim a tax treaty are available in the International Tax Compliance Office through the Glacier Program.

All F-1 and J-1 students, who are not covered by a tax treaty, must pay all federal and state income taxes on earnings and scholarships. All F-1 and J-1 students may not claim any “Standard Deductions” or dependents on their tax forms. These can be complex issues and the Compliance Analyst will do the best that they can to answer the students’ questions.

All F-1 and J-1 students are required to file Federal and State income tax returns yearly, whether or not they have any income to report for the previous year. The deadline is April 15th each year.

Social Security Numbers

All J-1 and F-1 students who work on campus, including Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants and hourly employees must apply for a social security number (SSN). Pick up a “Certification of On-Campus Employment” form and a Social Security Card Application form in the Center For Student Leadership and Engagement. Completed forms will need to be taken to the Social Security office in Albuquerque.

All international students who are Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants will need to apply for their Social Security Card within 20 days of classes starting. The Compliance Analyst along with the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement will set up a group appointment at the Social Security Administration in the Fall and Spring semesters to help students obtain their SSN.

I-9 Form & E-Verify

I-9s are USCIS forms that everyone, domestic or foreign must complete before they can begin employment. This document establishes an individual’s eligibility to work in the United States. Documents are to be completed in the International Tax Compliance Office.  NMT is an E-Verify Institution and in compliance with the USCIS , the Compliance Analyst will enter your I9 information into the E-Verify Program and obtain your Employment Verification.

Glacier Tax Software program

All International Students will have to complete the Glacier tax software program. The International Tax Compliance Office will send you an email to connect to the program. The email will contain a User Id and Password. Once you Log into Glacier you will be required to change both Username and password before filling out the form. Please fill out the form to the best of your ability and send it back to the Compliance Office. Set up an appointment with the Compliance Analyst to complete your I-9 form and to sign your tax forms. No Graduate Contracts or Student Work Authorizations will be approved until you have met with the Compliance Analyst. The Glacier program will determine if you have a tax treaty and create all the tax documents you will need to work or to get approval for a Scholarship /Fellowship. If you will not be employed, the program will create your 8843 tax document for filing at the end of the tax year. Please make sure that you have a NMT PO Box number before you meet with the Compliance Analyst.

Replacing Lost Forms

F-1 or J-1 

Students are responsible for maintaining their documents. The International Advisor suggests that students make a copy of all documents and keep the copies in a safe place that is different than where the originals are kept.


For a lost passport, call the embassy immediately. The Office for International Programs will have copies of your passport.


The I-94 is now issued electronically; students can retrieve a copy of their I-94 from the website https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions The Office for International Programs will print a copy of the I-94 for every student on orientation day.

I-20 for F-1 Students

NMT issued this form to the student before arrival in the United States. The International Advisor can replace this form. Make sure to keep all the old I-20s, they will be needed when applying for OPT and H1B.

DS-2019 for J-1 Students

If NMT is the student’s program sponsor, then the International Advisor or Human Resources office will be able to replace this form. If the student is sponsored by another organization, then that organization will replace the form. Make sure to keep all old DS-2019s.

Visa vs Status

A visa is an entry permit. A visa can only be issued at a United States Consulate outside of the United States. Visas cannot be renewed, changed or obtained in the United States. If a visa expires while the student is in the United States there is NO Penalty. If a student leaves the United States on an expired visa, the student will not be able to return until the visa is renewed. There are some exceptions: see the Re-entry to the United States after Temporary Absence section. A student’s status is a condition that is granted as they enter the United States. 

Students are said to “have” or be “maintaining” status as long as they are following the rules of their F-1 or J-1 visa category. If a student breaks any of the rules of their F-1 or J-1 visa category they will be considered “out of status.” When a student is “out of status” they are not eligible for any of the benefits listed in the F-1 and J-1 benefits sections. F-1 and J-1 student are admitted for D/S, “Duration of Status” for a specific amount of time.  Students are eligible to stay in the country as long as they maintain status, remain fully engaged in their educational program, I-20/DS-2019 has not expired and no rules are broken

Maintaining Status


F1 - Benefits

If students follow all the rules and maintain status they are eligible for the following benefits:

Out of Status

If a student becomes “out of status” by violating the terms of their status, they are no longer eligible for any of the benefits listed above. It is in the student’s best interest to regain good status as soon as possible through one of the following means:

J1 - Regulations

All J-1 students follow the same rules as all F-1 students. There are some differences:

J-1 Benefits

J-1 students who maintain status are eligible to apply for certain benefits, similar to those listed for the F-1 students. Please see the International Advisor for details.

Out of Status

J-1 students cannot be reinstated after insurance or employment violations. Violations of a technical matter may be eligible for reinstatement, see the International Advisor.

Re-Entry to the United States after a Temporary Absence

If a student leaves the United States for a short period of time (less than 5 months) and has maintained status they will need the following to re-enter the United States:

Before you leave campus:

On Campus Employment

On campus employment must not exceed 20 hours per week while classes are in session. All on campus employment will cease as soon as educational program is completed.

Stipend Based On Campus Employment

Research and Teaching Assistantships are for Graduate studies students only. These assistantships are managed by the Center for Graduate Studies. They provide resident tuition rate. Graduate students receiving a Research Assistantship or a Teaching Assistantship must be registered for 12 credit hours or more each semester they are receiving the assistantship (6 hours if they are supported for the summer semester). In rare circumstances a Research Assistant may be allowed to work off campus, such as at a school or research facility.

Hourly Based On Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students in good academic standing and registered for 12 credit hours (undergraduate) or 9 credit hours (graduate) in the fall and spring are eligible to seek on campus hourly employment not to exceed 20 hours per week. 

NOTE: if a student has more than one on campus job, the student cannot work more than 20 hours total between all of the jobs. F-1 and J-1 students may work up to 40 hours per week in on campus employment during the summer as long as they are pre-registered for 12 credit hours (undergraduate) or 9 credit hours (graduate) in the fall semester. 

NOTE 2: If you have a 10 hour assistantship, you may work an additional 10 hours a week in an on campus job. 

Contact the Office for Career Services for listings of on campus jobs. Handshake is NMT’s web based career site. Sign up for Handshake at this link http://nmt.joinhandshake.com

Hourly on campus employment does not qualify for “in state” tuition. International students can only qualify for “in state” tuition while on a Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship

Off Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 visa holders are not allowed to work off campus. There are a few circumstances where off campus employment may be allowed; please see the International Advisor.

Practical Training (CPT and OPT) for F-1 Students

All practical training should be used to strengthen the student’s educational program; all training must be in the student’s degree field. 

CPT (Curricular Practical Training) 

At NMT, CPT is only available to students in good standing who are enrolled full time.  Students authorized for CPT during the summer semester may be register for less than full time. CPT is authorized for a particular position with a particular employer for a specific length of time. CPT involves the approval and participation of a NMT faculty member who certifies that the job is a valuable part of the student’s education and who will oversee the student’s progress. 

A student on CPT will need to be enrolled for a Co-op class that is in the catalog of the faculty advisor’s department. The student and the faculty advisor will determine how many credits the student will receive for the Co-op class. 

CPT may be either part-time (less than 20 hours per week) or full time (more than 20 hours per week). CPT has some bearing on Optional Practical Training (OPT); see the International Advisor for details. CPT requires consultation with the International Advisor, Academic Advisor, Center for Graduate Studies and the student’s employer. 

CPT employment must cease before the date of degree completion. Continuing CPT after this date is illegal and is a violation of status.  

CPT may not be used during the student’s last semester of their educational program

OPT (Optional Practical Training)

OPT is employment in the student’s degree field for the purpose of gaining additional knowledge in the student’s area of study. OPT requires the approval of the International Advisor, the Academic Advisor and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). OPT is available for graduate and undergraduate F-1 students in good academic standing as well as maintaining good F-1 status. There are several types of OPT, making an appointment with the International Advisor is necessary to determine which type of OPT to use.

The application process for OPT can be confusing, never mail anything to the USCIS unless it has been approved by the International Advisor. Approval of OPT by the USCIS may take up to 120 days. Students cannot begin work until the EAD (Employment Authorization Document) has been issued to the student.

For additional details on OPT and CPT, contact the International Advisor.

Extending Legal Time in the United States

Graduate Student Warning: Graduate students must also complete extension paperwork in the Center for Graduate Studies. This section does not cover that process.

F-1 Students

NMT’s academic programs are rigorous and sometimes require longer times to complete. The student must request an “Extension of Program” at least 30 days before the original expiration date on the I-20. To qualify for this extension the student must provide a completed and signed “Extension of I-20 or DS-2019” form. The student must also be in good academic standing and in good F-1 or J-1 status.

Low grades, academic probation or suspension cannot be used as reasons for an extension. Once the International Advisor and the student’s Academic Advisor approve the extension, USCIS will be notified of the extension.

If a student allows their I-20 to expire an extension is not possible. An expired I-20 is a status violation and the student will not be allowed to work or receive any other benefits granted to the student under the F-1 visa, until status is regained.

J-1 Students

Students on a J-1 visa will follow the same steps outlined in the previous section. If the student is on a J-1 visa sponsored by NMT, the International Advisor will issue the new extended DS-2019; if sponsored by another organization, then the student will need to contact that organization for the extension process.

Changing Majors or Academic Levels at NMT

An F-1 undergraduate student who is in good academic and visa status will be allowed to change majors as long as the student’s current academic advisor and the academic advisor for the new major agree to allow the student to change majors. Once the major change has been approved by all parties, the International Advisor will make the changes to the I-20 and extend the time to allow for completion of the new educational program.

An F-1 Graduate student wanting to change majors (not recommended in most situations) will need to follow the same procedures with the addition of input from the Center for Graduate Studies.

F-1 students moving from undergraduate to graduate or from Master’s to PhD. must request a new I-20 from the International Advisor and have been accepted into the new program prior to the request for a new I- 20.

J-1 students sponsored by NMT will be allowed to change majors under rare circumstances. See the International Advisor. J-1 students sponsored by a different organization will need to seek permission from that organization. Once permission is granted, the International Advisor will help with the change.

Transferring From NMT

WARNING: Transferring may add additional time to degree completion!

F-1 Students

F-1 students must be in good status and have been accepted to another school. The student must provide the International Advisor a color copy of the student’s acceptance letter to the new school and must fill out the “Transfer Out” forms. Once all paperwork is turned in to the International Advisor, a SEVIS Release will be initiated.

J-1 Students

J-1 students must be in good status and have been accepted by another school. The student will need to provide a copy of the acceptance letter to the new school and a copy of the new DS-2019 issued by the new sponsor. Once paperwork is reviewed by the International Advisor, the student’s record will be released in SEVIS.

Academic, Cultural and Social

This section pertains to all international students regardless of visa type.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Here at NMT we are proud of our students’ creativity, critical thinking and individualism. These traits are what make NMT a world class university. Attending a very rigorous academic university such as NMT can lead some students to make bad academic decisions. Cheating and plagiarism are not acceptable practices at NMT. Academic dishonesty can and will lead to failing grades, documentation on academic transcript and expulsion from the University. Academic dishonesty is also a violation of visa status, which could lead to expulsion from the United States. Please be sure to thoroughly review and understand the Academic Honesty Policy within this Student Handbook.

Who is Responsible for the Student’s Education? The Student is!

How a student approaches their education is completely up to them. Each student is responsible for maintaining their status. There are many offices and people on campus who are here to help students navigate their educational experience. The International Advisor is here to help with visas and other immigration issues. In the academic departments, faculty advisors and thesis advisors are available to guide students in their pursuit of a world-class education. The various staff members are also here to help the students. While the students are surrounded with a great support system, each student is ultimately responsible for their education.

Undergraduate Students

Academic advisors are the primary source for guidance for academic questions. The academic advisors have the student’s best interest in mind when they advise. Students may also contact the Office of Student Learning at this link https://www.nmt.edu/osl/ for more advice on academics.

Graduate Students

Academic advisors for all graduate students must be inside the department of the student’s degree program. The research advisor may be from outside the department or even from outside NMT. Deviation from the University requirements or requirements imposed by the student’s academic department requires written permission from the academic department and Dean of Graduate Studies and may require permission of the Graduate Council.

Consent and Respect on Campus: Understanding Sexual Discrimination and Violence

What is socially acceptable in one culture is not always acceptable in another culture.  All students should be able to study and live in a supportive environment free of harassment, sexual violence and all forms of discrimination. The NMT administration, faculty and staff strive to create a safe and welcoming environment on campus and in the community. Students can find information on sexual discrimination and violence here - https://www.nmt.edu/titleix/.

Students are encouraged to report any instance of sexual misconduct (e.g.  sexual discrimination, gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment,  intimate partner violence, stalking) to NMT’s Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Peter Phaiah at 575-835-5953, by email titleixcoordinator@nmt.edu, or completing the online NMT Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form.  Student can also report the incidents to Campus Police at 835- 5434.  Other forms of discrimination can be reported to Randy Saavedra at 575-835-5005 or by email at randy.saavedra@nmt.edu.

Additional resources can be found at the Office for Counseling Services located in the Health Center in the Fidel Student Center. Students can contact the Office of Counseling Services at counseling@nmt.edu or 575-835-6619. The Office for Student Access Services can be reached at access@nmt.edu or 575-835-6209.

Students may also contact the International Advisor at 835-5060 or international@nmt.edu.

Please, read the complete NMT Sexual Misconduct Policy for more information on this topic.

Student Families and the NMT Family

NMT is always happy to have the student’s family visit or even live on campus.

What is a derivative Visa?

Spouses and children of F-1 and J-1 visa holders may apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa to accompany the student while the student pursues their education. The F-2 and J-2 derive their status from the holder of the F-1 or J-1 visa. The F-1 or J-1 visa holder is considered the “principal alien.”

Family members may apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa to enter the United States at a later date than the student. Family members with an F-2 visa are not allowed to work or pursue a full time education. Family members with a J-2 visa may apply to USCIS for work authorization; the J-2 visa holder must prove that their employment is not necessary to support the J-1 visa holder.

The International Advisor will issue I-20s and DS-2019s only to family members of F-1 and J-1 students who can prove that they can support their family members financially. NMT understands that students wish to have their families around them while they pursue an education; however NMT does not want to put extra strain on the student by helping create a financial burden for the student and their family.

Student and Family Insurance

All students must have medical insurance in place for the entire time they are enrolled at NMT.

The J-1 student must also prove to the International Advisor, that all students’ dependents are covered by medical insurance.

F-2 visa holders are not required to be covered by medical insurance, however, it is strongly recommended. Students can find the minimum required insurance coverage amounts at this link http://www.nmt.edu/international-insurance.

NMT rules require that students provide proof of insurance before registering for classes each semester. Medical treatment in the United States is excellent, but it is very expensive. Not having insurance or any way to pay for treatment will lead to difficulty receiving treatment. NMT offers a free health services to all students. The Health Services office is located on the first floor of the Fidel Center. Students can contact the Health Center at healthcenter@nmt.edu 

Public Benefits

International students and their families who use publicly funded or government supported programs are in violation of the law and are subject to visa status violation. These violations may have serious consequences when the student tries to reenter the country after an absence or when applying for citizenship. To avoid violations do not participate in any of these listed programs:

Managers of these programs will encourage students to participate, as they are trying to help the students, but they do not understand how this will adversely affect the students.

Children Born in the United States are Citizens

If a student or student’s partner has a child in the United States, that child is a United States Citizen. This in no way implies that the parents of the child are eligible for citizenship. Once a child is born in the United States it is very important that the student obtain a United States passport for the child. If the student needs to leave the country, the student will not need to choose between leaving the child behind in the United States or trying to get a passport at the last minute. All United States Citizens traveling outside the United States need a passport to enter the country on their return. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Helpful Hints

Read this complete Student Handbook

Student must keep copies of every immigration document they have been issued.

Keep contact information for advisor, government sponsor and the International Advisor with available at all times.

Join the International Student Association. Contact the ISA at nmt.isa.president@gmail.com

Set up a bank account in the United States; this will help in so many different ways.

Get a driver’s license; it is a legal Identification and will come in handy.

Make as many friends as possible.

Join a club.


Go to class, pay attention, participate in class and ask questions.