International Student Support Office (ISSO): More Acronyms!

Hello, friends!

Following the post by Hannah and Jonah on HaverAcronyms, I will add a few more acronyms to the list! If you are an international student, you are very likely to run into them as soon as you arrive to the United States! These are not acronyms specific to Haverford, but you will hear them a lot. And to my domestic friends, you might be somewhat acquainted with some of these acronyms and might have never heard others so if I were you, I would keep reading!

Without any further ado, let’s start!

CBP – Customs and Border Protection

One of the largest U.S. law enforcement organizations and it is the main border control organization. You will meet these officers at the point of entry such as airports. They will decide whether or not you are allowed to enter the country.

CPT – Curricular Practical Training

CPT is a temporary work authorization provided to the students on F-1 visa, which is directly related to a credit-bearing course or major requirements.

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

This is the U.S. government department that ensures the safety of its citizens.

DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles

It is the agency that administers vehicle registration and driving licensing.

DOL – Department of Labor

It is the agency responsible for enforcing federal labor standards and promoting workers’ wellbeing.

DoS – Department of State

It is the agency responsible for foreign affairs and conducting international relations. The Department of State issues visas.

DSO – Designated School Official

DSOs are the ones that represent the school when it comes to F students matters. You should report to DSOs if you have questions about:

  • Working in the United States.
  • Applying for a driver’s license.
  • Applying for a Social Security number.
  • Changing their major, program or degree level.
  • Changing their education level.
  • Transferring to a new school or taking a leave of absence.
  • Taking a break from school.
  • Traveling outside the United States.
  • Moving to a new address.
  • Changing your name.

Requesting a program extension.
Haverford’s Designated School Officials are:

Natasha Weisz and Denise V. Allison

EAD – Employment Authorization Document

Document that proves you are allowed to work in the United States.

HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

It is the legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information.

I-9 – Form

The form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.

I-94 – Form

It is the Arrival and Departure Record form. It records when you enter and leave the United States. You will be instructed on how to access this when you arrive to campus. Also, you should always keep these documents safe for your records.

ICE – Immigration and Campus Enforcement

It is a law enforcement agency of the federal government of the United States tasked to enforce the immigration laws of the United States and to investigate criminal and terrorist activity of transnational organizations and aliens within the United States.

IRS – Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) administers and enforces U.S. federal tax laws.

OPT – Optional Practical Training

OPT is a temporary authorization offered to students on F-1 visa to work on their related field for a period of total 12 months.
PDSO – Principal Designated School Official
It is a DSO with added responsibility such as:

• A PDSO is the main point of contact for SEVP.
• A PDSO must make updates to DSO information in SEVIS.
• A PDSO must file for recertification.

Haverford’s PDSO is:
James Keane

SEVIS – Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses to maintain information regarding:
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified schools.
F-1 and M-1 students studying in the United States (and their F-2 and M-2 dependents).
U.S. Department of State-designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsors.
J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program participants (and their J-2 dependents).

SEVP – Student and Exchange Visitor Program

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It ensures that government agencies have essential data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security.

SSA – Social Security Administration

The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits.

SSN – Social Security Number

These are numbers generally assigned to individuals authorized to work in the U.S. If you plan to work on campus, you will go through a process to get your SSN because you cannot be paid until you have one.

TSA – Transportation Security Administration

This is the agency that has authority over the traveling public in the United States. They are the officers who scan luggage and check tickets during domestic travel in airports.

USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system.

The end.

You can find more information regarding these acronyms here:

If you have questions, concerns, or doubts remember you can always email me at I will gladly answer any questions regarding living and studying in the United States as an international student.