Current International Students

Welcome Students!

Office of International Relations
University of Arkansas - Fort Smith
5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72903
Phone: 479-788-7977 / Email: / Office: Vines 105 

Maintaining Status

Under U.S. immigration law, it is your responsibility to maintain F-1 lawful student status. 

Begin by reading the “Instructions to Students” on page 2 of your Form I-20; then carefully follow them and the information below:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times.

  • Check in with and attend the school listed on your current Form I-20; that should be UAFS. 

  • Enroll in and complete a full course of study (12 credit hours) during each semester or term that is not your annual vacation period. You must always be making normal progress towards completing your program of study before the expiration date specified on item #5 of your Form I-20.

  • Keep your Form I-20 valid and accurate by following the proper procedures when you:

  • Apply for an extension of program which must be done prior to its expiration date,

  • Transfer from one program to another (e.g., ESL to regular school) or from one level to another (e.g., bachelor's to master's) or

  • Transfer to different schools.

  • Follow the grace period rules governing admittance to the U.S. no more than 30 days before your program start date and those pertaining to your remaining in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond your program completion date or any authorized practical training.

  • Maintain your permanent home country address and update your local address and/or phone number with the Office of International Relations (OIR) within 10 days of any change. 

  • Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity. 

  • Engage in employment only after receiving proper authorization.

  • Limit employment hours to no more than 20 per week while school is in session.

You will be terminated in SEVIS during any semester or term of required enrollment WHEN ANY of the following occur:

  • You fail to enroll within 30 days of the first day of classes

  • You enroll in less than a full course of study without the proper authorization from OIR 

  • You fail to pay tuition prior to the add/drop deadline thus making you ineligible to attend UAFS

  • You are caught working off campus without proper approval

Reducing your course load as UAFS International Student PDF document

Summer 2020: June 1 – August 6, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: March 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: March 1, 2020

• Summer semester begins on June 1, 2020.


Fall 2020: August 17 – December 13, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: June 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: August 1, 2020

• Arrival date: August 7 – 10, 2020

• Orientation: August 11 – 13, 2020

• Fall semester begins on August 17, 2020.


Spring 2021: January 11 – May 7, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: November 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: November 1, 2020

• Arrival date: January 2 – 5, 2020

• Orientation: January 6 – 7, 2020

• Spring semester begins on January 11, 2020.

Summer 2020: June 1 – August 6, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: March 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: March 1, 2020

• Summer semester begins on June 1, 2020.


Fall 2020: August 17 – December 13, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: June 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: August 1, 2020

• Arrival date: August 7 – 10, 2020

• Orientation: August 11 – 13, 2020

• Fall semester begins on August 17, 2020.


Spring 2021: January 11 – May 7, 2020

• Application deadline for students who are outside of US: November 1, 2020

• Deadline for students transferring from a US institution: November 1, 2020

• Arrival date: January 2 – 5, 2020

• Orientation: January 6 – 7, 2020

• Spring semester begins on January 11, 2020.

Health Insurance

UAFS Policy: "All international students and visiting scholars engaged in educational activities are required to purchase UAFS international student accident and illness insurance plan, unless they can provide written verification that their government accepts full responsibility for any medical claims that might occur."  The only exception to this regulation is a proof that the student is from a country that has national health insurance. (A letter from the Embassy is required.) Or this insurance requirement can be waived when a student provides the better insurance policy than UAFS’s insurance coverage.

The federal government and UAFS requires all international students (both F-1 and J-1) to have adequate medical/health insurance. Adeqate is defined as meeting the minimum federal insurance requirements as outlined below.

Because of the recent changes in federal insurance policies, students must purchase insurance through UAFS' insurance provicer, GeoBlue Student Health Insurance. This ensures that all international students have adeqate medical/health insurance.


Federal minimum insurance requirements (22CFR 514.14) include:

  • A deductible of no more than $500 per accident or illness.

  • Medical benefits of at least $50,000 per accident or illness.

  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $7,500.

  • Medical evacuation to home country in the amount of $10,000.

  • May require a reasonable waiting period for pre-existing conditions.

  • May require 25% co-insurance per accident or illness.

  • Shall not unreasonably exclude coverage for perils inherent to the activities of the exchange program in which you participate.

Why must I have insurance?

  • The costs of medical care and hospitalization are at an all-time high. An accident, unexpected illness, or hospitalization can result in a significant financial burden to you, your family, and the community.

  • A medical health plan provides a way to help defray some of these costs as they arise. Although in many countries the government bears the expenses of health care for its citizens, and sometimes even for visitors, individuals and families in the United States are responsible for these costs themselves.

  • A single day of hospitalization and medical treatment could cost thousands of dollars, and many hospitals and doctors refuse to treat uninsured patients except in life-threatening emergencies.

How does medical insurance work?

  • When you purchase health coverage, the money you pay (premium) is combined with the premiums of others to form a pool of money. That money is then used to pay the medical bills of those participants who need medical care. Your coverage remains valid only as long as you continue to pay the insurance premiums.

  • Once you purchase insurance, your insurer provides you with an insurance identification card for use as proof of coverage should you seek medical help at a hospital or doctor's office. The company also provides written instructions for reporting and documenting medical expenses (filing a claim). The company will evaluate any claim that is filed and make the appropriate payment based upon the coverage of your policy. In some cases the company pays the hospital or doctor directly while in others the company reimburses you after you have paid the bills.

Student Employment

Employment is defined as providing any type of work or services on either a part-time or full-time basis in exchange for money, tuition, books, supplies, housing, food or any other benefit. You may only be employed and begin working after you have received the appropriate written authorization. Failure to observe this requirement will place you out of status. Also, employers may be cited, fined and/or imprisoned for hiring or maintaining employment for persons who are ineligible.

Authorization typically expires upon completion of program of studies or the period of lawful stay ends, whichever is sooner or expiration of employment authorizations as noted by USCIS or International Services.


On Campus Employment


  • Must be in good lawful status (see F-1 Status Requirements)

  • Must have registered as a continuing UAFS student


  • "... employment ... must not exceed twenty hours a week while school is in session. An F-1 student may, however, work on campus full-time while school is not in session or during the annual vacation." Code of Federal Regulations (8CFR214,2(f)(9)(i)

Authorization Procedure

  • Hourly Employment

    • If you are applying for employment for the first time or if you have had a change in your circumstances since your previous application, you must complete and submit a Work Study Application Form to Financial Aid.

    • Begin looking and asking for a job on campus to different departments.

    • Obtain a job offer letter.

      • If you do not have a social security number, you may make application at this time. Application Process Details 

  • How do I get a Social Security Number? [See below]

SSN (Social Security Number)

A Social Security Number (SSN) is:

  • A unique 9-digit U.S. government- issued number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting and record-keeping purposes

  • Required before you may begin employment

  • Valid for a lifetime--keep your SSN card in a safe place

Application Procedure

  • Obtain a written offer of employment from your employer.

  • Bring the written offer to International Relations to request a letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) certifying that you

    • Are in good legal status

    • Are eligible to work 

    • Have secured or have a promise of employment

    • More information

  • Complete a Social Security number application.

  • Take your International Relations certification letter, employer offer letter, valid passport, visa, Form I-94, Form I-20 and completed application form to our local Social Security Administration (SSA) office located at:

U.S. Social Security Administration 
6801 South Dallas Street, Fort Smith, AR 72903, Phone: 1-866-931-8374
Office hours 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
You will be given a receipt that acts as a temporary card until your permanent card arrives.

Tax Information

Things you need to know:

  • If you resided in the United States during 2013 for at least one day, you are required to submit informational statement 8843 by this year's April 15 deadline.
  • If you earned money in the United States during 2013 or prior, you are required to submit federal and likely state income tax forms by the deadline. [Arkansas State Income Tax Information]
    • If you worked in Arkansas, you are subject to complete and submit state tax forms.
    • If you worked in another state, you may be subject to that state's income tax laws--not every state has income taxes. You will have to contact the state to determine if you need to submit forms.

If you worked on campus:

  • UAFS files Form 8233 with the IRS and keeps a copy for audit purposes.
  • UAFS sends W-2 Forms to you if you are from a country not covered by a tax treaty. Some tax treaties have limits. If you wish to exercise your treaty it is your responsibility to update in Glacier, print the forms and then submit them to Business Office BC109.
  • If you are from Mexico, Japan, South Korea, or Canada, you have the option of claiming the tax treaty or filing an income tax return according to the information on your W-4.

Income Tax Information for International Students & Scholars

International students and scholars who received U.S. sources of income during any part of 2013 must file U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) income tax forms and State of Arkansas Department of Revenue forms by April 15, 2014. Income could include on-campus employment, UAFS scholarships or fellowships, or off-campus practical training. 

Any non-resident for U.S. tax purposes, even if he or she does not receive income from U.S. sources, must file IRS informational form 8843 each year for as long as they are a non-resident for tax purposes.

*Typical deadline for filing: April 15 of each year.

We, at the Office of International Relations are not tax experts and are not authorized or in a position to answer your tax questions. If you have additional questions regarding your tax obligations, we suggest that you utilize the following resources:

GLACIER Procedures

GLACIER is an online tax compliance system designed to allow institutions to efficiently and effectively collect information, make tax residency and income tax treaty determinations, manage paperwork, maintain data, and file reporting statements with the IRS. GLACIER is available 24 hours a day from any computer that has internet access

  • GLACIER helps determine your:
  • Tax residency
  • Withholding rates
  • Income tax treaty eligibility

As an international student at UAFS you will be required to work through GLAICER to report your tax status. U.S. tax laws require that the University collect information from non-U.S. citizens to determine their tax status.  GLACIER helps foreign individuals and UCSC collect, store and print forms required by law.

The Finance, Payroll, and Accounting department will set you up in the GLACIER system. You then will receive an e-mail from with your GLACIER password and information on how to logon to the system.  This e-mail is not SPAM; please look for it in your e-mail. 

  1. Log into GLACIER with the password and user ID given to you.  You will be prompted to change your logon information at that time. 
  2. Complete the GLACIER tax record.  You will need your Initial GLACIER Information Form and your U.S. entry documentation.
  3. Print, sign, date documents.
  4. Submit the required tax forms and supporting documents to the Business Center (BC) 109.  These forms are due within 10 days of receiving the GLACIER e-mail.
  5. Keep in contact with the Business Center for any changes or updates to the forms that need to be made. 


An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number "9", formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN).

The IRS developed the ITIN program in 1996 so that individuals ineligible for Social Security numbers (SSNs) could provide a tax number when filing a return or otherwise participating in the U.S. tax system. ITINs are intended to be used solely for tax administration purposes. They are not valid identification outside of the tax system and do not authorize work in the United States or provide eligibility for social security benefits.

The IRS has issued new rules for individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs) that will take effect January 1, 2013 (IRS News Release IR-2012-98; IRS Fact Sheet FS-2012-11). As part of the new rules, the IRS will require that ITINs expire after five years, instead of lasting indefinitely. The IRS also posted frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the new rules on its website.

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (PDF). The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual. You may either mail the documentation, along with the Form W-7, to the address shown in the Form W-7 Instructions, present it at IRS walk-in offices, or process your application through an Acceptance Agent authorized by the IRS.

Acceptance Agents are entities (colleges, financial institutions, accounting firms, etc.) who are authorized by the IRS to assist applicants in obtaining ITINs. They review the applicant's documentation and forward the completed Form W-7 to IRS for processing.

4905 Old Greenwood Rd. Fort Smith, AR 72903 (479-649-8602)
Monday-Friday - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Closed for lunch 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
NOTE: You cannot claim the earned income credit using an ITIN.

Effective immediately, each ITIN applicant must now:

  • Apply using the revised Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; and
  • Attach a federal income tax return to the Form W-7.

Applicants who meet an exception to the requirement to file a tax return (see the instructions for Form W-7) must provide documentation to support the exception.

For more detailed information on ITINs, refer here.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


  • You may apply for curricular practical training (CPT) when the training is related to an  integral part of your major or program of study

  • temporary in nature

  • you have been lawfully enrolled full-time in your program of study for at least one academic year (eight months)

  • you are currently in lawful status


  • You must receive a new I-20 showing your authorized CPT before you may begin your training.

  • You may only work up to 20 hours per week during your required periods of enrollment, typically fall and winter semesters. However, you may work more than 20 hours per week during your annual vacation period, whether or not you are taking classes.

  • You must be enrolled for academic credit throughout the duration of the training unless the internship is required for graduation.

  • However, if the required internship is the only class needed for graduation and you are not enrolled in any other classes, then you must  be enrolled for credit in the required internship class. 

Authorization Procedure

  • Attend an International Office CPT info session or meet with an advisor.

  • Obtain a signed letter from your prospective employer (cannot be a temporary, staffing or recruiting agency employer) on company  letterhead that provides:

    • Name of the firm/organization/company

    • Details on the nature of the training specifying what you will be doing for your employer

    • Type of position as part-time (less than 20 hrs/wk) or full-time (more than 20 hrs/wk)—full-time employment is only allowed during your annual vacation period, whether or not you are taking classes.

    • Beginning date of training that must be a future date on or after the first day of the semester or term. The beginning date must be after the day that OIR receives the letter because authorization may not be given retroactively.

    • Ending date of training that must be before the first day of classes for the next semester/term unless you have been granted approval for multiple consecutive semesters

Note: These dates become the official beginning and ending dates that will be listed on your new Form I-20.

  • Review your employer letter with your academic advisor and obtain a signed letter on department letterhead that provides:

    • Certification the proposed internship (training) is related to your major program of study

    • Name of firm where you will be doing your internship

  • Enroll in the appropriate work study, practicum, field program, internship or cooperative education class; check with your academic advisor about the course you should enroll in for academic credit. If the internship coordinator indicates in their letter that this internship is required for graduation, a non-credit internship is permitted. However, if the required internship is the only class needed for graduation and you are not enrolled in any other classes, then you must be enrolled for credit in the required internship class. 

Note: If the internship is required for graduation or if it is through a cooperative education agreement, steps 1 and 3 above are not necessary; all of the information may be provided in the letter from the department internship coordinator. HOWEVER, in order to maintain your status, you must register for the required number of hours. 

  • At least five days prior to the beginning date of the training, complete and submit to OIR a the CPT request form along with the following:

    • Letter from prospective employer

    • Letter from internship coordinator

    • Documentation of enrollment in the related course

  • International Services will review your request; if it is approved, you must return to pick up your new authorizing Form I-20 before you may  begin your training.

  • You are required to renew authorization every semester.

Note: If you receive one year or more of full-time curricular practical training, you become ineligible for any post-completion optional practical training (OPT).

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

General Information

What is Optional Practical Training? Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to your F-1 student major.

How do I receive authorization for OPT? You must submit an application to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). See the detailed steps below.


When may I start? 

Post-completion OPT may only begin after the completion of your course of study.

  • The completion date is the last day of the last semester attended.

Who may I work for while on OPT? 

Possible types of OPT employment situations may include:

  • Short-term multiple employers: musicians and other performing artists may work for multiple short term employers (gigs).

  • Work for hire: Do contract work for another company; this is commonly known as 1099 contract work.

  • Self-employed business owner: Start a licensed business and be self employed working full-time.

  • Employment through an agency: Work for a staffing/employment agency at other companies where they send you.

  • Regular employment: Work for an established business or organization.

How long may I work?

  • Availability extends for one 12-month period directly after each higher educational level and may not be carried over if not used from one level to another.

  • Any authorized Pre-Completion OPT months are deducted from the available 12 months.

  • If you have a pending H-1B application you can extend your OPT. (cap gap details)

  • If your major field of study and subsequent employment is in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM major), you may be able to extend your training. [STEM major extension details]

  • If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen, you may also qualify for TN (Trade NAFTA) status. [more info]

When does my F-1 status expire?

  • 60 days after completion of your studies if you do not apply for OPT or

  • 60 days following completion of your OPT. However, your OPT is automatically terminated when you transfer your SEVIS record to another school or begin study at another educational level with a new I-20.

May I travel outside the U.S. during my OPT?

  • We advise you not to leave the U.S. between your program end date and when you receive your employment card. Such travel is considered an abandonment of your application, and you may be ineligible to reapply.

  • If your OPT has been approved:

    • If you travel before you get a job, you may not be able to reenter unless you have a written job offer.

    • If you have a job, you may travel and reenter to resume employment. However, this travel time is added to your total of allotted unemployment days unless authorized by your employer. See the explanation of unemployment days under Requirements.


In order to qualify for post-completion OPT, you must:

  • Register for required course credit during the semester or term you complete your program,

  • Accrue less than a total of one year of any full-time curricular practical training,

  • Be in lawful status for at least one academic year,

  • Submit your OPT application so that it is received by USCIS between 90 days before and 60 days after the completion of your program–USCIS must receive your OPT I-20 within 30 days of the Designated School Official’s signature date,

  • Complete your program by the date specified in the letter from your academic advisor 

  • Receive your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and wait until your OPT start date.


  • Your employment must be related to your degree, may be paid or unpaid and must be for at least 20 hours per week or full-time if you are self-employed.

  • You should keep records for each employment experience including the position held, proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information of the supervisor and a description of the work.

  • You may accrue no more than 90 days of unemployment–exceeding this time limit will cause you to lose your status.

    • Each day during the period when OPT authorization begins and ends that you do not have qualifying employment counts as a day of unemployment. The only exception is that periods of up to 10 days between the end of one job and the beginning of the next will not be included in the total.

    • If you travel outside the U.S. while unemployed counts in the calculation.

    • If you travel while employed either during a period of authorized leave or as part of your employment, the time spent outside the U.S. will not count as unemployment if authorized by your employer.

  • USCIS has placed responsibility upon you to report any employment events as defined below within 10 days.

    • This is done through a form sent to International Relations. (Click here to access the reporting form.)

    • The following table suggests the best way to report the required information.


Reportable Information

Initial OPT job Employer name 
Employment start date 
Employer mailing address
Add a second employer to your primary current employer Employer name 
Employment start date 
Employer mailing address
Change to a new job Previous employer name 
Previous employment end date 
New employer name 
Employment start date 
Employer mailing address
Multiple short-term gigs in one period with less than 10 days between gigs Report at the beginning of the first gig and indicate "Multiple short-term gigs"
Work for hire (contract start) Indicate "self-employed work for hire" 
Indicate the start date of the contract
Work for hire (ending more than 10 days between the end of one contract and the beginning of another contract or a new job) Indicate "Self-employed work for hire" 
Indicate you have no current contract 
Ending date of the last contract worked
More than 10 days of unemployment Indicate "unemployed" 
Ending date of last job
Self-employed business owner (start) Indicate "Self-employed business owner" 
Indicate date you went into business
Self-employed business owner (end) Indicate "Self-employed business owner" 
Indicate date your business closed or you no longer worked for the business full time

Application Procedure

Because your EAD will only be delivered to the address listed in your application, if you are planning to move, you may elect to list our office address on your I-765 (5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72904). However, if you do, you must keep your address, email and phone updated with the OIR so we can reach you when your EAD arrives.

Step 1—Attend an International Relations’ OPT info session or meet with an advisor.

Step 2—Submit the following to International Services:

  • Signed letter from your academic advisor on letterhead stating your degree title and expected completion date

  • Completed OPT Request Form which will result in a new Form I-20 recommending your OPT

  • Completed Application for Employment Authorization Form I-765—answer Item #16 on page 10 with ( c ) ( 3 ) ( B )

Step 3—Five days later return to International Services and do the following:

  • Pick up, sign and copy your new Form I-20

  • Pick up an envelope addressed to the USCIS Service Center

Step 4—Mail your application paying attention to the following:

  • It is advisable to make a copy of everything you send to USCIS for your personal records.

  • Assemble your application materials in the following order:

  • Completed Form I-765

  • $380 cashier’s check or money order payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • Copy of your new application Form I-20, properly endorsed, showing recommendation of your OPT on the third page and dated within 30 days of USCIS receipt

  • Copy of your Form I-94 Number (Click here to visit the site to obtain your I-94 number)

  • Copy of your last EAD (front and back) if you have received one. If no prior EAD has been issued, you must submit a copy of your federal government issued identity document, such as a passport showing your picture, name, and date of birth; a birth certificate with photo ID; a visa issued by a foreign consulate; or a national ID document with photo and/or fingerprint. The identity document photocopy must clearly show your facial features and your biographical information. It is recommended that the photocopy be slightly enlarged and in color.

  • Two identical passport-style color photos of yourself taken within 30 days of filing—we recommend you place them in a small plastic bag

USCIS Dallas Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Deliveries:
USCIS, PO Box 660867, Dallas, TX 75266
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
USCIS, Attn: AOS, 2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business, Suite 400, Lewisville, TX 75067

Step 5—After you have sent your application to the USCIS Dallas lockbox:

  • Wait until your EAD arrives before you start working.

  • Make sure that you fax, send or leave a copy of your EAD with International Relations.

  • Report your employment information as described above as soon as your OPT begins.

  • Report any changes in the above information within 10 days and confirm it again every six months even if there have been no changes.

  • Terminate your employment when your EAD expires or when you transfer your SEVIS record to another school or begin study at another educational level with a new I-20 whichever occurs earliest.

Change of Address During the Application Process for OPT:

If you move during the processing of your OPT application to an address not in your application materials, within 10 days of the move submit the information to both places listed below:

  • USCIS, using Electronic AR-11 to inform those processing your application of your new address.

  • UAFS, by email to update your personal information which also automatically updates your address in the SEVIS database. Submitting #1 does not update #2. Remember, you must update to UAFS within 10 days of any address change.


Following are general guidelines and requirements for travel and reentry for F-1 students. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult with the International Student Advisor, your embassy or legal advisor before traveling.


Inside the U.S.

  • Special permission is not required for you to travel within the U.S.

  • Whenever you travel outside the Fort Smith area, you are advised to carry your

    • Passport/Visa

    • Form I-94 

    • Form I-20

Outside the U.S.

  • Documents Required for Travel—unless otherwise noted:

    • Visa—must be valid and allow further entries

    • Passport

      • Must be valid for at least six months into the future; however,

      • Some passports are only required to be valid when you enter the U.S.

    • Form I-20 that

      • Is issued by UAFS

      • Is current

      • Contains an endorsement signature from International Relations for travel on page 3

    • Current financial documentation issued within the last four months

    • Proof of full-time enrollment—Records Office will provide certification upon your request.

  • F-1 Continuing Students

    • You and your dependents are permitted to leave the U.S. and re-enter in your same status providing you have the proper documentation listed above.

    • If you are not traveling to your home country you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries will require a visa. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information.

  • Dependents

    • Entry requirements for any of your dependents are essentially the same as for you.

    • Each dependent must carry his/her original Form I-20.

    • If traveling separately from you, the principal visa holder, your dependents should also carry a photocopy of your visa, Form I-94 and Form I-20.

  • Extended Stays Outside the U.S.

    • If you will be outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will be required to get a new Form I-20 from International Relations prior to returning to the U.S. Regulations state that a stay outside the U.S. for five months is considered a break in F-1 status.

    • Third Country Travel

    • When traveling to a third country (a country other than the U.S. or your home country), you are responsible for knowing whether you need an entry visa for that country.

    • Canada—Persons from many countries are required to obtain a Canadian entry visa when entering Canada from the United States. Visas may be obtained from the Canadian Consulate General. Consult the Canadian Consulate General for visa regulations concerning your country before making travel arrangements.

    • Mexico—Tourist cards or visas may be required for travel to Mexico.

  • Pending Applications for Immigration Benefits or Changes in Status

    • If you have a pending application for immigration benefits or for a change in non-immigrant status, you will most likely need to contact USCIS directly to determine what documents or proof you need.

  • Travel while on Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

    • Required Documents

      • Your Form I-20 must be endorsed within the past six months

      • When you have applied for OPT but not yet received your EAD, travel is not recommended.

      • When you travel after receiving your EAD,

        • Take your EAD card

        • Letter from employer confirming that you are employed or have been offered employment

      • General guidance:

        • If you have both an EAD for OPT and a job or job offer, you should not experience difficulty reentering the United States.

        • If either of these two conditions is missing, then you are assuming risk when you travel.

    • You may not re-enter during the 60-day grace period after completing your program or OPT.

    • If you require a new visa, there is no guarantee that you will be readmitted.


Transfer Process

You must personally request and authorize your SEVIS record be transferred to your new school in order to maintain your F-1 status.



  • Admittance to another school

  • Current maintenance of your lawful status, including

    • Enrollment in a full course of study OR

    • Participation in optional practical training

  • NOTE: In order to attend your new school if you are ineligible for transfer of schools because you are out of status, you must

    • Apply to USCIS for reinstatement OR

    • Leave the country and renter with an initial Form I-20 from your new school.


  1. After being accepted as a student at the school where you plan to transfer, your new school will either send or have you bring to UAFS International Relations a form to verify your transfer eligibility from UAFS.

  2. International Relations then completes and returns the transfer eligibility form to your new school.

  3. Complete and submit a Transfer In Form from the new institution to UAFS International Relations.

  4. International Relations will transfer your SEVIS record effective on the date designated on the Transfer In Form received from the new institution. 

NOTE: Your employment benefits at UAFS terminate on the effective transfer date.

  • Enroll in a full course of study during your initial semester or term specified on your new Form I-20. 

NOTE: You are not subject to the $200 SEVIS fee.


  • Check in with your new school upon your arrival to that campus


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