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F-1 students: Individuals in the United States engaging in a full course of academic study in an accredited educational program that has been designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must maintain full-time enrollment as defined by Oakland University, ISSO; part-time study only with approval of International Student Advisor/ Designated School Official (DSO) in accordance with regulations.

J-1 exchange student program: Administered by the U.S. Department of State, this program is intended to encourage temporary educational, collaborative and cultural exchanges in the hope of increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Exchange programs provide exchange students an opportunity to experience our way of life and encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries.

The exchange visitor program is designed for temporary educational and cultural exchanges and collaboration rather than for degree-seeking purposes. At the conclusion of their program, participants are expected to return to their home countries to utilize the educational experience and skills they have acquired while in the United States.

What to expect
  1. You must pay tuition at the non-resident rate.
  2. You must have health insurance that meets the nine Oakland University requirements.
  3. You must be registered full-time in F-1 and J-1 student status (Full-time = 12 undergraduate or eight graduate credits).
  4. You must attend the next New International Student Orientation Program.
  5. To become registered in the USCIS SEVIS database, you must meet with an ISSO adviser immediately when you receive your stamped immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019) and your I-94 card.


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If you are planning to travel outside th U.S,, make sure you have these things in order to re-enter the United States. Consult the International Student Advisors for further information.
  • A valid passport.
    • We recommend one that is valid 6 months into the future.
  • A valid F-1 or J-1 visa.
    • If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico or an adjacent island which includes Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea for 30 days or less, a valid American visa is not required for most countries. This is called Automatic Revalidation of an expired visa. However, you may be required to obtain a visa from any of these countries; check with their embassies for details.
    • If you are traveling to a country other than Canada or Mexico, but do not have a valid American visa, you must obtain a new one. To do this, you must get a new I-20 from the ISSO and supply financial documentation to verify sufficient funds. NOTE: Make sure that your visa will not expire before or during your trip. If you have been outside the United States for five months or longer and your F-1 or J-1 visa is still valid (i.e., unexpired), you may need a NEW visa according to a recent State Department rule. Please check with the nearest U.S. consulate to determine if your visa is still valid for entry to the U.S.
    • If you are a citizen of Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea or Cuba, you are not eligible for Automatic Revalidation.
    • It is your responsibility to determine if the country you plan to visit requires a valid visa for you to enter.
  • Your I-94 card (white card in your passport for Canadian citizens travelling to the USA by car or card that you have to print upon arrival to the USA here).
    • Remember to turn in your I-94 card as you depart the U.S. unless you are travelling to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island. In that case, make sure you do not give this up upon your departure when leaving the U.S.
  • A valid I-20 (F-1 students) DS-2019 (J-1 students) with a travel signature (page three on I-20) and revalidation signature (on the right side on DS-2019) dated less than six months from your planned date of re-entry to the U.S. from a Designated School Officer/Responsible Officer (Petra or Dave at the ISSO). 
  • Evidence of adequate finances.
    • Only if you are obtaining a new visa.
  • A copy of your current course schedule.
    • You can print this through SAIL.
A student who entered the country on some other immigration status (such as H, L or B) and subsequently received F or J student status from the USCIS, should consult the ISSO before departing the United States, even to Canada or Mexico. Since such a student does not have an F or J visa stamp issued by a U.S. consulate, the student will need to petition for a student visa stamp at a U.S. consulate outside the United States to re-enter on the student status. A change of status is valid only as long as the student is within the United States and abides by the requirements of the student status. It does not allow re-entry without appropriate visa category.

For students under NSEERS Special Registration, please remember to leave enough time for your exit interview at your last port of departure.

Travel on OPT or OPT STEM (F-1 students)

Same applies as above plus:
  • Valid OPT card.
  • Employment offer letter.
  • Updated I-20 signature with the employer’s information listed on page 3.
ISSO does not recommend traveling outside of North America and applying for a new visa when on OPT.

WARNING
  • Any time you leave the U.S., there is no guarantee you will be allowed to return.
  • If you have applied for an extension of stay or change of status, these procedures must be completed before traveling outside the U.S.


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Follow these steps to change your major:
  1. Make an appointment with ISSO to update your I-20 or DS-2019. Ensure that you’re eligible to change majors.
  2. Make an appointment with an academic adviser for your desired new major. 
  3. Make an appointment with your international adviser to get a new I-20 or DS-2019.


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The International Students and Scholars Office provides students the resources for a well-rounded education at Oakland University, including academic and social experiences. ISSO coordinates and administers programs that serve international students, faculty and visitors to the Oakland community. Our staff is aware of the demands associated with studying in another country and the special needs of international students.
  • Immigration counseling (students and scholars)
  • SEVIS I-20 issuance for undergraduate, graduate, doctoral students and dependents
  • SEVIS DS-2019 issuance for J-1 Exchange Visitor students, scholars, faculty and dependents
  • Employment seminars (CPT, OPT, and STEM OPT)
  • J-1 Employment Authorization Requests
  • Assistance requesting a change of immigration status
  • Canadian border crossing letters
  • F-1 and J-1 extensions of stay
  • Cross-cultural activities
  • Reinstatement of status
  • Exception requests
  • Health insurance
  • Student transfers
  • Informational seminars
  • Orientation
  • Personal advising
  • ISSO Facebook
  • Host family program
  • International Village
  • Student advocacy


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If you intend to remain in the U.S. for more than 60 days (F-1 students) or 30 days (J-1 students) after completing your program, you should prepare and submit proper paperwork during the grace period to change to another visa status in order to maintain lawful immigration status in the U.S.

F-1 students may stay in the U.S. in between transfer if the SEVIS record transfer procedures are correctly followed. If the period between programs is longer than five months, your new school must issue a new initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number. You must leave the U.S. within your 60-day grace period and re-enter no earlier than 30 days before your new program start date.

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F-1 students who have made a commitment to attend another institution must inform their ISSO advisers and request that their SEVIS records be electronically released to the new school. It is advised that you discuss travel plans and new program start dates with your adviser before settling on a SEVIS transfer release date.
  1. Fill out the top portion of the transfer-out form, sign and give it to the international office of the transferring university. They will fill out the bottom portion and fax it to us.  
  2. Submit a proof of admission to the new institution. 
  3. Schedule an appointment with an OU international adviser to make sure that we received all the documents and were able to transfer the SEVIS record. 
  4. Allow one week for processing. Please note: after the transfer-out date Oakland University will no longer have access to your SEVIS record.
  5. If you are registered for a future semester at OU do not forget to withdraw from your courses and fulfill any financial obligations with the University before you transfer to your new school or leave the U.S.
  6. Contact the new school's international admissions office to arrange when and how to receive your new I-20.


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