The International Admissions Office at OCU is your first point of contact for information about the immigration rules and regulations that you have to follow while you are an international student in the United States.
We can answer most F1 Student Visa questions, or if the problem is beyond our expertise we can assist you with finding an immigration attorney.
For some basic information about how to maintain your F1 Student Visa status, check out our PowerPoint presentation on How to Maintain Your I-20.
I-20, Passport, Visa, and I-94
When you are admitted, your Admission Counselor will send your original admission letter and I-20 to you by courier. Your I-20 is a very important document that tells the U.S. Consulate that you have been admitted to Oklahoma City University and is required to apply for your F1 Student Visa. You should sign your I-20 and keep it in a safe place at all times. After you arrive in the U.S., we may update your I-20 from time to time, so it will be important to keep the most up-to-date copy with you throughout your time in the U.S.
Other documents that will be important to you throughout your time in the U.S. are your passport, visa, and I-94.
Your passport should be valid at least 6 months in to the future, so if at any time your passport nears expiration you should contact your local consulate for information about renewing it. If you need assistance finding the closest consulate, please let us know!
Your visa will be issued by the U.S. Consulate closest to where you live in your home country. F1 visas can be multiple entry, single entry, and can vary in length. Your visa will include your information, as well as details from your I-20. Your visa can expire while you are a student, but should be valid at the time that you enter the U.S. If you travel outside the country after your visa expires, it will have to be renewed before you return to the U.S.
Your I-94 is an electronic record that documents your travel history in to and out of the United States. You can look up your I-94 and travel history at any time by entering your information on the I-94 Website.
You can apply for your student visa once you have been accepted and have received your I-20 from Oklahoma City University.
We recommend that you check the instructions available from the embassy or consulate closest to you where you will apply for your visa before beginning the process.
- Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160. Print the completed form and bring a copy to your visa interview. You will need to upload a photo to the online form.
- Schedule your visa interview: Interviews can be scheduled up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date.
- Pay the visa application fee.
- Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee: www.fmjfee.com
The following documents should be prepared and brought to your visa interview:
- Passport: Must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of time you plan to be in the United States.
- Visa Application, form DS-160
- Application Fee payment receipt
- Photo (only if you were unable to upload a photo to your online application)
- Form I-20 - be sure to sign it!
- Academic documents: Transcripts, test scores, your OCU admission letter
- Financial statement of support: Should show that you have the ability to pay for one year of academic expenses as they are estimated on your I-20.
For more information, we recommend that you visit the U.S. Department of State page on Student Visas.
Students must have a valid F or J visa to enter the United States to begin their academic program; however after entering the U.S. the student's I-20 is the document that must be maintained to prove that the student is maintaining status in the U.S., not the visa. The visa stamp can be allowed to expire during a student's studies, but would need to be renewed if the student traveled outside the U.S. after the visa expired.
Students must maintain a valid passport during their time in the United States. Passports should be valid at least six months in the future. If your passport is within 6 months of expiring you must contact the closest consulate or embassy for information about renewing your passport.
Students must also maintain a valid I-20 during their time of study. The I-20 cannot be allowed to expire before the student completes their degree. It is the student's responsibility to know the program end date listed on their I-20 and to contact the International Admissions Office BEFORE the I-20 expires if the student needs an extension. See below.
Duration of Stay or D/S refers to the fact that international students are allowed to remain in the U.S. as long as they are enrolled and are making normal progress toward degree completion. Regardless of the length of time given on your visa or I-20 you are allowed to continue your program as long as you are making normal progress (enrolled full-time each semester, not failing an excessive number of classes, not repeating classes, only taking courses required for degree completion).
Students that are making normal degree progress but do not complete their program before the Program End Date listed on the I-20 must contact the International Admissions Office for an extension BEFORE the Program End Date.
The Program Extension form must be signed by your academic adviser to confirm that you have made normal degree progress and that an extension is required to complete your degree. The completed form should be brought to the International Admissions Office at least one week before the Program End Date listed on the I-20.
If you plan to travel outside the U.S. you must bring your I-20 to the International Admissions for a travel signature. The travel signature is our way of telling the Port of Entry that you are still an active student at OCU!
- If you will travel during summer or winter vacation, be sure to enroll for the next semester before coming to the IA Office for your signature.
- If you will be traveling mid-semester (spring break, long weekend) you may want to carry a "Good Standing Letter" and/or a copy of your transcript.
- Students that are on OPT still need a travel signature. Students on OPT should also carry their OPT card with them, and it is highly recommended to also carry proof of employment (such as a letter from your employer).
Please keep in mind that the International Admissions Office occasionally closes for holidays - including the entire Winter Vacation! Be sure to get your travel signature early! We recommend at least two weeks before your departure date.
If you have additional questions about traveling outside the U.S., review our PowerPoint Presentation on Travel!
International students must be enrolled full-time during the academic year (fall and spring semesters). Full-time enrollment is defined as 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduate students and 9 credit hours per semester for graduate students. Summer study is optional unless summer is the first semester of the program.
International students may only enroll in courses that are a required part of their degree program.
F2 Student Dependents are now allowed to study part-time in academic programs. F2 visa holders may not enroll full-time and may not work.
When a student wants to transfer from one U.S. school to another, the new school handles the process. To transfer, the student must be "in status." The following steps are for international students wishing to transfer to OCU:
- Complete the application process and gain admission to OCU
- Submit the International Student School Transfer Request with the assistance of the student's current International Student Advisor. If you plan to transfer from OCU to another university, please complete this form and contact your International Admission's Counselor for more information.
- Submit a formal request to the current school to electronically transfer the student's SEVIS I-20 record.
- A new I-20 will be available upon arrival at OCU.
If you are a current OCU student and would like to transfer to another SEVP certified university, please contact the International Admissions Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Admissions Office can also assist international students with status adjustment issues. Reinstatement and Change of Status Applications both begin with the International Admissions Office but require official adjudication by USCIS.
If you have failed to maintain your immigration status a reinstatement may be required to correct it. An International Student Adviser must assist you with filing a reinstatement. Please visit the International Admissions Office for more information.
If you are currently in the United States in another visa status and would like to change to a student visa, the International Admissions Office can assist you! You must first be admitted to Oklahoma City University. A change of status I-20 will be issued and your International Admissions counselor will assist you with information about what to submit to USCIS.
Students that plan to travel outside the U.S. or that have an appointment to renew their visa may want to carry a Good Standing Letter with them. A Good Standing Letter can be requested from the registrar's office on campus before you leave for your trip.
If you lose or damage your I-20, it must be replaced as soon as possible. You should always have an original copy of your most recent I-20 available.
International Students are also required to update the International Admissions Office within 10 days if they move to a new address, change majors, change names (married, etc.), or any other major change.
Please contact the International Admissions Office (email@example.com) if you need a replacement or updated I-20.
If you would like to invite your family to visit Oklahoma City University for your convocation ceremony, please complete the Graduation Invitation Letter form and return it to the International Admissions Office along with a copy of the passport of the family members that you would like to invite.
Some students may wish to take a course offered by another university during the time that they are enrolled at OCU. In this case, OCU can continue to maintain your immigration record and I-20 by giving you permission to enroll concurrently. If you would like to request permission for concurrent enrollment, just complete the Concurrent Enrollment Form and bring it to the International Admissions Office.
Proof of enrollment will be required.