I-20 Shipping Information
You will need your original I-20 when you attend your visa interview and enter the U.S.. Your I-20 must be shipped to your residence abroad. Please note, Mercer University does not mail I-20’s internationally through regular mail. All international shipments must go through the eShip Global shipping service.
eShip Global Shipping Service
All international shipping from the Office of International Programs is handled through our shipping partner, eShip Global’s University Express Mail Services, or UEMS. This service allows you to pay for and receive your documents through DHL or FedEx. Documents typically arrive 3-5 days after you place your shipping order.
Please do NOT create an account with eShip Global’s University Express Mail Services until you have received an email from the Office of International Programs confirming that your I-20 is ready. We will send a draft of your I-20 for your review via email – please make sure the information is correct before you place your shipping order.
To request the shipment of your documents, please visit eShip Global’s website, https://study.eshipglobal.com, to create an account.
You must use the site provided above – please do not go through DHL or FedEx directly, as this will delay the shipment and cost more. eShip Global provides discounted shipping and allows you to enter your own shipment information, to ensure the address and other details are accurate and will reach you without a problem. Once you order the shipment, our office will receive notification and will arrange for the pick-up of your package by DHL or FedEx. You can then track the progress of the package through your eShip Global account.
Instructions on Creating an eShipGlobal Shipment
To set up an account and place your shipment order, you will be required to create your own user name and password in order to create an account. To request shipment, you will need your Mercer University Student ID number (also called your campus ID), mailing address, e-mail address, phone number and payment information. Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the payment information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your documents. If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the eShipGlobal/UEMS “Help” link for step by step instructions. If you have additional questions about how to use this service, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on "Receive Package from University" from the Home page and follow these instructions:
1. Click the appropriate state on the menu or select state from the drop down list or type few characters of the university name in the box provided.
2. Select the University and click on "Continue".
3. Select the Department and click on "Continue".
4. Complete the shipping form and click on "Continue".
5. On the confirmation page, check your shipment details and select your desired service from the available options and click on "Continue".
6. On the next page, fill out the credit card information form.
7. Click on "Confirm Payment" button and on successful shipment creation; you will be presented with the shipment summary page along with the tracking number.
8. The University is notified about your request. The necessary documents will be sent to your address as soon as the university processes your request. You can track the shipment using the tracking number provided.
Please do let us know if you have any issues while creating your shipment. Make sure you have the correct “From” address and “To” address before submitting your order.
Please note, international shipping is at your expense and your credit/debit card (Visa, Mastercard or Discover credit cards only) will be charged upon requesting the service. This service also allows wire transfer or bank teller deposit for those who are unable to use a credit/debit card. Prices for shipments vary depending on destination, but are typically around US$50.
Mercer University only offers international shipments through eShip Global for many reasons. First, regular mail to many other countries is extremely slow and unreliable, and sensitive immigration documents such as an I-20 can be lost, stolen or delayed. eShip offers tracking, so students can plan appropriately for their visa appointments and all the other next steps that depend on the receipt of the I-20. Mercer University also does NOT charge international students an additional international fee, which many schools do charge to cover the extra costs required to best serve international students, such as the cost of international shipping. In an effort to keep student fees as low as possible rather than require an additional fee of all students, Mercer instead asks students to cover the cost of their international shipment.
Shipping Within the US
Documents that need to be mailed within the US will be mailed via regular mail at Mercer’s expense. Expedited domestic shipping can also be ordered through eShip.
Only students who secure on-campus employment, CPT or OPT employment authorizations are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
Students who wish to apply for a Social Security Number will need to take the following documents with them to the Social Security office. Applicants without the following documents will be denied.
• For all international student applicants:
o Completed Application for Social Security Card
o A letter from the international student advisor validating the student’s eligibility for employment per immigration regulations
• For on-campus employment applicants:
o A letter from the on-campus supervisor on university letterhead, stating the following:
* A statement that you have been hired with your full name as it appears on your passport
* The department/office that is hiring you
* Your anticipated start date
* Your title
* An estimated number of hours per week you will work
• For students with OPT authorization:
o Employment Authorization Document (EAD card)
o Job offer letter (recommended)
Students must apply for a Social Security Number in person. Locate the nearest Social Security Administration Office near you: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp
If you would like to have a State of Georgia Driver’s License, you must apply in person at the Department of Driver Services (DDS). All drivers from other nations (including Canada and U.S. Territories) must pass the State of Georgia’s written, road, and vision tests in order to be issued a Georgia license.
The closest DDS office to Mercer University in Macon is located at: 200 Cherry St, Macon, GA 31201
The closest DDS office to Mercer University in Atlanta is located at: 2211 Beaver Ruin Road, Norcross, GA 30071
For general requirements and the most convenient location for written and driving exams, please visit the Department of Driver Services website. For specific information and requirements for non-US citizens, please visit the DDS webpage for non-U.S. citizens.
Note: You are not required to have a social security number (SSN) to obtain a GA state driver’s license or identification card. If you do not have a SSN and would like to get a license or identification card, you should obtain a Form SSA-L676 (Social Security Card Denial Notice) from the Social Security Administration. Bring your passport, visa, printout of your I-94 electronic record or I-94 card, I-20 and a completed Application for Social Security Card to the Social Security Administration and request a denial notice. The issuance of this form does not prevent you from being granting a SSN in the future. It simply states that you are currently not eligible for one.
Documents Needed to Apply for a Driver’s License
• Printed I-94 record
• Social Security Card or a Form SSA-L676 (Denial Notice) from the Social Security Administration
• Two different document sources that proves your local residence (such as a signed lease agreement, utility bill, bank statement, school report, school transcript, etc.). These documents must have your name and your local address.
Timeline for Applying for a Driver’s License
1. Wait 10 days after you arrive in the United States. You may want to apply for a driver’s license or SSN right away, but be patient. The 10-day wait allows time for all the government databases to update with your arrival information.
2. Make sure your record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is up-to-date and in Active status. Contact your International Student Advisor to confirm this information.
3. Check your document and forms: passport, visa, I-94, I-20, SSN and DDS applications. Check all your forms to make sure your information is correct. This is data integrity which is very important because having different information on different forms may cause delays.
4. Wait two days after your international student advisor activates your record in SEVIS.
5. Collect all required documents for your appointment(s) and head to the Social Security Administration
While making progress towards their degree, F-1 students are eligible to leave the U.S temporarily and return to continue their studies. In order to re-enter the U.S, F students will need to present the following documents at the port of entry:
• Valid Passport
• Valid F-1 Visa
• Valid I-20
• Valid I-20 Travel Endorsement
• EAD Card (for those students working during the OPT period)
• Valid at least 6 months into the future
Valid F-1 Visa*
• If the visa is valid for only one entry, or has expired, a new visa must be obtained from the U.S. consulate or embassy abroad in order to reenter the U.S. It is not possible to apply for a visa from within the U.S.
• Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are not required to obtain F-1 or J-1 visas. You will use your immigration documents issued by the Office of International Programs to enter, but do not require a visa. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda MUST ensure that they are admitted to the U.S. in F-1 status, not as tourists.
• Prepare for visa renewal prior to departing the U.S. Students will likely need to present financial documentation, official transcripts, and other documents that are issued in the U.S.
o For a complete list of visa renewal requirements at the specific consulate or embassy, visit www.travel.state.gov.
• Correct biographical data
• Correct program of study information (major, minors, program end date, etc.)
• Current students: The program end date must be in the future
• OPT students: Documented employment authorizations on page 2
Valid I-20 Travel Endorsement
• Review page 2 of the I-20
• A travel signature issued by a designated school official (international student advisor) is valid for one year and multiple entries.
• Students must obtain a travel signature prior to departing the U.S.
• If you need a new travel signature, contact your international student advisor as soon as travel plans have been finalized.
*Exception to Valid Visa Requirement: Automatic Visa Revalidation
Automatic visa revalidation allows F and J non-immigrant visa holders to visit Canada, Mexico and adjacent Caribbean islands (excluding Cuba) for less than 30 days and reenter the U.S. with an expired visa stamp. Upon returning to the U.S, students utilizing automatic visa revalidation must present a valid passport, I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature, and I-94 record. If you have an electronic I-94 record, it is recommended that you bring a hard copy during travel and present it upon exit and entry. Citizens of Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation.
To view the Code of Federal Regulations regarding Automatic Revalidation of Visa, click here. Additional information is also available on the U.S. Department of State website.
Note: Non-immigrants who apply for a visa during their stay in Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean are not eligible to use automatic visa revalidation if the visa is denied or delayed.
If using Automatic Visa Revalidation, you must bring these additional documents:
• Copy of Student Transcripts
• Copy of financial documents (e.g. bank statements, scholarships awards, etc.)
• Copy of I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
Students traveling to a country other than their own, may need a visitor's visa to enter. For a list of foreign embassies in the U.S. visit the U.S. Department of State's website.
During the spring semester each year, all international students (F-1), exchange students (J-1) and research scholars (J-1) must report to the Internal Revenue Service. Some students will be required to report and file their taxes with the Internal Revenue Service.
• You will report to the U.S. government if you have not earned any income during the previous tax year. Most students will qualify and use Form 8843.
• If you earned income in the U.S., during the previous tax year, you must report and file your taxes with the U.S. government. Most students will qualify and use Form 8843 to report and will use either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ to file their taxes with the federal government. In addition, Form 500-EZ or Form 500 will be used to file taxes for the State of Georgia, Department of Revenue.
Current students should check their emails regularly and attend the International Students & U.S. Taxes workshop that will be held in March 2017.
Form 8843, federal and state tax forms will be explained in detail and you will have the opportunity to begin filling in your forms. Please note, the Office of International Programs is not able to advise students with completing their federal or state tax forms.
Filing income tax forms is the personal responsibility of each international student and scholar. Please be aware that you are ultimately responsible for the accuracy and the timely submission of your income tax returns to the U.S Government.
Transfer Out of Mercer University
F-1 visa-holding students at Mercer University who wish to transfer to another institution must follow the academic policies of Mercer University and request a SEVIS transfer through the Office of International Programs.
Failure to complete the steps procedural steps below in a timely manner, and failure to notify the P/DSO at Mercer regarding transfer plans could result in a termination of your SEVIS record.
Current Mercer University Students: Steps for Requesting a SEVIS Transfer
• Notify your international student advisor once you have been accepted and make plans to transfer to another university or program.
• Send a copy of your admission letter from the new school to your international student advisor.
• Send the new school’s SEVIS Transfer-In Request form to your Mercer University international student advisor. You may need to request this form from either your international student admission contact or the office supporting international students at your new institution.
• Once the admission letter and SEVIS Transfer-In Request form from your new school has been received, your SEVIS record at Mercer University will be transferred/will be scheduled to transfer to your new school.
Notes: Begin classes at the new institution with 5 months of the SEVIS transfer. Students who do not begin classes within 5 months must get a new "initial attendance" I-20 from the new institution.
Tips for Choosing a Transfer Date:
• After the transfer release date, Mercer University will no longer have access to the record and cannot make any changes to the record. Any changes to the record must be made by the new institution including transferring the record to a different school.
• Students are only eligible to work on-campus at the institution that possesses the SEVIS records.
• After the transfer date, students participating in post-completion OPT must stop off-campus employment and are only eligible to work at the new school.
• The SEVIS record must be transferred to the new school within 60 days of completing their Mercer University program. After the 60 day grace period, the record is no longer eligible for transfer in SEVIS.