Loss of passport to IRS strands student in U.S.

Yunmi Sa, senior international major from South Korea, will be forced to stay in the United States until she can reacquire a passport and visa.

Yunmi Sa, senior international major from South Korea, will be forced to stay in the United States until she can reacquire a passport and visa.

Nate Billings

Miscommunication can be a small problem for students studying abroad, but there are also other unforeseen issues that can affect all traveling students.

Several international students have voiced concerns with Missouri Southern and its administration.

The concerns are over such things as travel, taxes, admissions and other items affecting international students in particular.

One student, Yunmi Sa, senior international business major, sent her student visa and passport off with her tax forms as identification. The identification papers, however, were not returned and are considered lost by the Internal Revenue Service.

“My name is on the list for missing documents,” Sa said.

She, with help from Stephanie Goad, international student adviser, contacted the IRS. Sa said she has not heard about her documents.

She also said she had a difficult time receiving a Social Security number and individual tax identification number for her forms and a possible job.

Sa said she must go to Chicago in order to get another passport or other official travel documentation, which would be easier to obtain than waiting for the IRS to find her originals. However, Sa had no way to travel to Chicago.

“I decided to explain my situation to the president (Dr. Julio León),” Sa said.

She and two other students went to see León to give him their concerns.

“A lot of students have had a similar problem here on campus,” Sa said.

León said he would help provide funding for Sa’s trip to Chicago.

“She wants to go home, and it appears that she will need a new passport,” León said. “It’s an unfortunate situation.”

Also, a faculty member will accompany Sa on her trip.

Rahila Khan, junior physics major, was one of the students who went to the meeting with León.

The students presented León with a letter with their presentation.

“We gave him a brief overview of our concerns,” Khan said. “There were more details in the letter.”

León said the University wants to take care of all of the students, including the international students.

Khan said she and several other international students are still waiting for an official statement from León.

Francois Le Lan, senior American studies major, said the situation says something about how the University treats the international students.

Le Lan said the international mission is not for American students alone.

“It’s (the international mission) is an exchange between countries,” Le Lan said. “It’s not a one way thing.”

He said he would expect his home university in Orléans, France to make American exchange students feel welcome.

“It is the least you can do for someone coming to your country,” Le Lan said.

He said he has not felt unwelcome during his studies in the United States but would like to express the concerns of other international students he knows.

He said issues the students have, even the simple miscommunications, need more attention from the administration.

Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies, and Goad declined to comment on the issues because of the students’ right to privacy and the delicacy of certain issues, which may concern specific students.

Sa was expecting to leave for her home, Daegu, South Korea, on May 17. Unless she can receive her documents before that date, she must extend her stay.