International Students and Scholars

328 O'Dowd Hall
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-3358
Fax: (248) 370-3351
isso@oakland.edu

Current Students

Maintaining
Your F-1
Student Status

It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the rules and regulations of your visa status. This section contains tools and information to help you. If you are in violation of any United States immigration regulation, or if we have something very important to tell you, the ISSO will send you an email. Please make sure that you regularly monitor your OU email and respond quickly.

Full-Time Enrollment

It is your responsibility to enroll full-time. Full-time enrollment is:

  • 12 credits for an undergraduate student
  • 8 credits for a graduate student (or 9 credits for a graduate student in the School of Business)

You must be registered full-time in fall and winter semester during your program. You must also attend class and make normal academic progress. If summer is the first semester of your program, you must be enrolled full-time in the summer.

Students starting Their first semester in the US, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, new students are permitted to take more than one online class. However, their first semester in the US must include a minimum of 1 hybrid or in-person class. If no hybrid or in-person classes are available, the Hybrid Form must be completed and approved. 

Vacation Semester: Degree-seeking international students are eligible for one official “vacation semester” each academic year. Most students register full-time in the fall and winter semesters and take summer as the annual “vacation semester”. You do not need to request special permission if this is the case. Students can choose a non-traditional vacation semester if enrolled full-time for two consecutive semesters. For example, if you are enrolled full-time in the summer semester, and enrolled full-time in the fall semester, you can take the winter semester off. Or if you enrolled full-time in the winter semester, and full-time in the summer semester, you can take fall semester off. If you would like to take a nontraditional “vacation semester”, you must fill out the Vacation Semester Form so that the ISSO can keep your student record active in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and meet with an international adviser. During your “vacation semester”, you can remain in the United States, or travel internationally, work on-campus or work off-campus with CPT authorization. You can also take classes as a guest student at other schools during your “vacation semester”; as long as you plan to return to OU, you don’t need to transfer your SEVIS record to the other school. Consult with your academic adviser to ensure your credits will transfer back to Oakland University.

Authorized Under Enrollment: There are a few exceptions to full-time enrollment. Please see the below forms and if one of those exceptions applies to you, please be sure to complete one of the forms below so that you may be authorized to be less than full-time prior to the start of the semester.

Valid Passport

It is your responsibility to keep your passport up to date. Your passport should always have at least 6 months of eligibility. If you need to renew it, make sure to start the process at least 6 months before it expires. Your home country embassy or consulate can advise you on the passport renewal process. Some require that the application be requested in person, while others handle the request by mail. We encourage you to always keep a copy of your passport and visa.

Change of Address

It is your responsibility to keep your physical address, where you live, up to date. You must report any changes to your address and phone number within 10 days of changing it through the secure SAIL system under the personal information section. When updating your address, make sure to select “local” and the “valid from” and “valid until” dates. The ISSO will get these reports on a weekly basis and update your address in the SEVIS system.

Valid Travel Documents

It is your responsibility to have a valid travel signature on your I-20. Also when traveling, if your visa will be expired at the time of re-entry to the United States, make plans to renew your visa while outside of the United States. You must also travel with a valid passport. Students also find it helpful to travel with a printout of their updated class schedule. While on OPT, you must also enter the United States with your EAD card and current I-20. It is highly recommended that you travel with proof of employment (offer letter, pay stubs, etc.)

“Own” your I-20

It is your responsibility to own your own I-20 and make sure all of the information on your I-20 is current and correct.

  • I-20 extension: If you need to extend your I-20, make sure that you do it at least 30 days before the current date of expiration using the F-1 Extension of Study Form. The ISSO will process your request and issue you a new I-20.
  • Major or program change: To change your major and/or program level, speak to your academic adviser. Once these changes have been formally made by your academic adviser in Banner, the ISSO will get these changes on a weekly basis and update your major or program change in the SEVIS system. The ISSO will contact you when your new I-20 is ready.
  • Name change: The name on your I-20 must match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name – first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, you must report it to the Registrar’s Office or Student Financial Services. The ISSO will get these reports on a weekly basis and update your name in the SEVIS system. The ISSO will also contact you when your new I-20 is ready. If you find something is not correct on your I-20, it is your responsibility to contact the ISSO at isso@oakland.edu.
  • Public Benefit: In most instances if you hold non-immigrant status in the United States you are not eligible for public benefits from the federal, state, county or any other local U.S. government agencies. While some public benefits for a U.S. born child (such as immunizations, children's nutrition and health programs) may not cause problems, accepting most public benefits can put your legal status in the United States at risk and can create a bar to re-entry to the United States. It is advisable to seek legal advice before accepting any public benefit.
Dependents

A “dependent” is a legal spouse or unmarried minor child under the age of 21. Dependents can be added to your I-20 and seek an F-2 visa to enter the United States. Children born inside of the United States are considered citizens and not considered dependents in this context, and do not need an I-20, but should have a United States passport. Dependents may accompany you, the F-1 student, to the United States, or join you at a later date. To request a dependent I-20, gather all of the necessary documents outlined in the F-2 Dependent Application and email isso@oakland.edu to schedule an appointment with an international adviser to process the application.

  • F-2 dependents may not lawfully work in the United States. They are also not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs).
  • F-2 dependents can accept volunteer work as long as there is no compensation of any kind, and the job is usually done by volunteers.
  • F-2 minor children are eligible to enroll in full-time studies at elementary or secondary schools (K-12).
  • F-2 children lose their F-2 status once they marry or reach 21 years of age. If the F-2 child wants to remain in the United States, they should apply for independent status prior to the end of the F-2 status.
  • F-2 dependents are able to enroll in part-time studies at the college or university level. If they wish to study full-time, they may file for a change of status from F-2 to F-1. For information about doing this, see the Change of Immigration Status tab on this page.
  • An F-2’s status is dependent on the F-1. If the F-1 leaves the United States permanently, the F-2’s visa status also ends.
Departure

You must take action to maintain your legal status or depart the United States after completing your program of study. Typically, the program end date of your study is the last day of class in the semester in which you graduate. It is not typically the end date on your I-20, unless it has already been changed to match the end of your program or as part of your OPT application. If you have applied for OPT, your end date is the last day of OPT on your EAD card.

You have a grace period of 60 days after your end date to leave the United States or to take further action before the 60 days is up. This could be: transferring to another school; applying for a new program or level at OU; applying for another visa status; or applying for a post-graduate employment authorization (OPT). During the grace period, F-1 students and their dependents may not enter the United States, including after traveling to Canada.

You are required to complete the F-1 Student Transfer Out/Departure Form. For a transfer out request, you will also need to upload the admission letter from your new school before the transfer of your SEVIS record can be completed.

Health Insurance

You must be covered by the Oakland University health insurance plan, which is renewed annually in the fall semester. Very few students may qualify to waive insurance, and details on these exceptions can be found on our health insurance page. No other exceptions can be considered.

Employment

It is your responsibility to know your employment options and rules. F-1 students may:

  • Work on campus up to 20 hours a week and full time during vacation periods without further authorization from ISSO.
  • Work off campus after completing an application and with PRIOR approval from ISSO and/or USCIS. There are no exceptions to this. You MUST read and understand all the information on the employment tab on this page. Working without authorization is illegal and means you are out of status. It is also your responsibility to understand and manage your reporting requirements relative to any employment you undertake while in the United States.
  • PLEASE NOTE: If you have worked off campus without PRIOR authorization, ISSO will no longer authorize you for CPT or OPT.
Letters

When requesting a letter from the ISSO make sure that you submit the forms below at least 3 business days in advance of your deadline. Other letter types relevant to an application for a social security card can be found in the employment section.

All of Campus is Here to Help

The ISSO has seminars, workshops, and events throughout the year that are designed to support and enhance your journey as an international student and a Golden Grizzly – and there are many other resources on campus that are here to help!

Here’s our list of the top 10 places you should get to know on your campus!

  1. International Students and Scholars Office
  2. Graham Health Center
  3. Tutoring Center
  4. Oakland Center
  5. Kresge Library
  6. Athletics Center and O’Rena
  7. Recreation and Well-Being
  8. Office of Student Involvement
  9. Oakland Writing Center
  10. OU Police
Maintaining
Your J-1
Student Status

As a J-1 student you need to ensure that you comply with the rules and regulations of your visa status. This section contains all the tools and information you need to help you do that.

During your time at Oakland University, the ISSO will communicate with you regularly via email. If you are in violation of any United States immigration regulation, or if we have something very important to tell you, the ISSO will send you an email. You must respond to the ISSO immediately. Please make sure you regularly monitor your OU email.

If your DS-2019 has not been issued by OU, you will need to work with the organization that issued the DS-2019 to make changes, extend or update your DS-2019. However, the information below is still relevant for you as you think about maintaining your status.

Full-Time Enrollment

It is your responsibility to enroll full-time. Full-time enrollment is:

  • 12 credits for an undergraduate student
  • 8 credits for a graduate student (or 9 credits for a graduate student in the School of Business)

You need to make sure that you are registered for a full-time credit load in every fall and winter semester during your program. You must also attend class and make normal academic progress. If summer is the first semester of your program, you also need to be fully enrolled in summer.

Vacation Semester: Degree-seeking international students are eligible for one official “vacation semester” each academic year. Most students register full-time in the fall and winter semesters, and take the summer as the annual “vacation semester”. You do not need to request special permission if this is the case. Students can opt for a nontraditional vacation semester if enrolled full time for two consecutive semesters. For example, if you are enrolled full-time in the summer semester, and enrolled full-time in the fall semester, you can take winter semester off. Or if you enrolled full time in the winter semester and full time in the summer semester you can take fall semester off. If you would like to take a nontraditional “vacation semester”, you must fill out the Vacation Semester Form so that the ISSO so that we can keep your student record active in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and meet with an international adviser. During your “vacation semester”, you can remain in the United States, or travel internationally, work on campus or work off campus with CPT authorization. You can take classes as a guest student at other schools during your “vacation semester”; as long as you plan to return to OU, you don’t need to transfer your SEVIS record to the other school. Consult with your academic adviser to ensure your credits will transfer back to Oakland University.

Authorized Under Enrollment: There are a few exceptions to full time enrollment. Please see the below forms and if one of those exceptions applies to you, please be sure to complete one of the forms below so that you may be authorized to be less than full time prior to the start of the semester. 

Valid Passport

It is your responsibility to keep your passport up to date. Your passport should always have at least 6 months of eligibility. If you need to renew it, make sure to start the process at least 6 months before it expires. Your home country embassy or consulate can advise on your passport renewal process. Some require that the application be requested in person, while others handle the request by mail. We encourage you to always keep a copy of your passport and visa.

Change of Address

It is your responsibility to keep your physical address, where you live, up to date. You must report any changes to your address and phone number within 10 days of changing it through the secure SAIL system under the personal information section. When updating your address, make sure to select “local” and the “valid from” and “valid until” dates. ISSO will get these reports on a weekly basis and update your address in the SEVIS system.

Valid Travel Documents

Before leaving the United States, always make sure you have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019. If your visa will be out of date by the time of re-entry into the United States, make plans to renew your visa while you are home. You must also travel with a valid passport. Students also find it helpful to travel with an updated class schedule or a job offer letter and updated D2-2019 while on Academic Training.

“Own” your DS-2019

It is your responsibility to make sure your DS-2019 has the correct program dates, program level, and major details.

  • DS-2019 extension: If you need to extend your DS-2019, make sure that you do it at least 30 days before the current date of expiration by contacting your institution/department and also setting up a meeting with an ISSO adviser. We will need to update your DS-2019.
  • Name change:  The name on your DS-2019 must match the name on your passport. If you change any part of your legal name—first/given name, middle name, or last/family name—on your passport, you must report it to the Registrar’s Office or Student Financial Services. The ISSO will get these reports on a weekly basis and update your name in the SEVIS system. The ISSO will also contact you when your new DS-2019 is ready.
  • Public Benefit: In most instances if you hold non-immigrant status in the United States you are not eligible for public benefits from the federal, state, county or any other local U.S. government agencies. While some public benefits for a U.S. born child (such as immunizations, children's nutrition and health programs) may not cause problems, accepting most public benefits can put your legal status in the United States at risk and can create a bar to re-entry to the United States. It is advisable to seek legal advice before accepting any public benefit.

If you find that something is not correct on your DS-2019, it is your responsibility to contact the ISSO at isso@oakland.edu.

Dependents

The J-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a consular official at a United States embassy or consulate for spouses and dependents (unmarried children under the age of 21) of J-1 exchange visitors who accompany or later join the J-1 holder in the United States.

  • To obtain the J-2 DS-2019 documents for your spouse and/or dependents under 21 years, please complete the J-2 Dependent Application Form and provide proof of dependent funding. Afterwards, schedule an appointment with an ISSO adviser.
  • Immigration regulations require all J-2 dependents to be covered by health insurance while participating in the exchange visitor program.
  • J-2 minor children are eligible to enroll in full-time studies at elementary or secondary schools (K-12).
  • J-2 children lose their J-2 status once they marry or reach 21 years of age. If the J-2 child wants to remain in the United States, they should apply for independent status prior to the end of their J-2 status.
  • J-2 visa holders may study while in the United States without being required to apply for an F-1 visa. J-2 visa holders may enroll in academic programs as a degree-seeking student or non-degree seeking. They may also enroll either full-time or part-time.
  • In most cases, J-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The application takes approximately three months to process. Please note that the ISSO does not assist with J-2s applying for an EAD card. For more information on the employment authorization, please visit the J-2 Dependent Employment Authorization Document.
  • A J-2’s status is dependent on the J-1. If the J-1 leaves the United States permanently, the J-2’s visa status also ends.
Departure

You must take action to maintain your legal status or depart the United States after completing your program of study. You have a grace period of 30 days to leave the US or to take further action – which could be either applying for a new program or applying for Academic Training employment.  During the grace period, J-1 students and their dependents may not enter the US, including after traveling to Canada.

If you have decided to transfer out, or depart the United States at that time, you are required to complete this form: J-1 Student Transfer Out/Departure Form. For a transfer out request, you will also need to upload the admission letter from your new school before the transfer of your SEVIS record can be completed.

Health Insurance

You must be covered by the Oakland University’s health insurance plan, which is renewed annually in the fall semester. If you are staying for one semester, you will be only responsible to pay for one semester. Very few students may qualify to waive insurance, and details on these exceptions can be found on our health insurance page. No other exceptions can be considered.

Employment

Know your employment options. You have the opportunity to work up to 20 hours a week on-campus throughout your program. You will need to fill out the J-1 Student Employment Tracking Form prior to your employment start date. You can engage in off-campus employment by participating in academic training. Employment authorizations are issued by a Designated School Official (DSO) in the International Students and Scholars Office. Your job has to be in your major field of study and abide within the Exchange Visitor Regulations. More details on your options, employment requirements, and the application processes, can be found on the Employment tab on this page. Email isso@oakland.edu to set up an appointment with an international adviser to discuss employment options before you begin.

It is also your responsibility to understand and manage your reporting requirements relative to any employment you undertake while in the United States. Any off-campus employment for J-1 students will need prior authorization from the ISSO before you will be able to begin work.

Letters

There may be times when you need to request a letter from the ISSO. Make sure that you submit the forms below at least 3 business days in advance of your deadline. Other letter types relevant to an application for a social security card can be found in the employment section.

All of Campus is Here to Help

The ISSO has seminars, workshops, and events throughout the year that are designed to support and enhance your journey as an international student and a Golden Grizzly – and there are many other resources on campus that are here to help!

Here’s our list of the top 10 places you should get to know on your campus!

  1. International Students and Scholars Office
  2. Graham Health Center
  3. Tutoring Center
  4. Oakland Center
  5. Kresge Library
  6. Athletics Center and O’Rena
  7. Recreation and Well-Being
  8. Office of Student Involvement
  9. Oakland Writing Center
  10. OU Police
Employment

International students are permitted to work on-campus up to 20 hours a week during the school year and full-time during vacation periods. Students can also work off campus with prior approval.

On and off campus work require a Social Security Number (SSN). Newly admitted students and scholars must wait at least ten business days after the date of their arrival in the United States to apply for an SSN. You must have a job, an assistantship or an offer to apply for an SSN.

Applying for an SSN:

  1. Get an offer letter from your employer on official “letterhead”. The letter must include the following:
  • Employer’s signature
  • Current date
  • Employee’s name
  • Employee’s job title
  • Employee’s start and end dates
  • Employee’s work hours per week
  1. You will need a letter from the ISSO before you apply for an SSN. Submit the F-1 Social Security Letter or J-1 Social Security Letter request form to the ISSO at least 2 days before applying for an SSN.
  2. Go to the nearest Social Security Administration Office (SSA) with the required documentation. We recommend the SSA office at 1280 Pontiac Road, Pontiac MI 48340 because they are closest to Oakland University and familiar with the needs of international students and scholars.

Any off-campus employment for F-1 students will need prior authorization from the ISSO. J-1 students need prior authorization before working on-campus or off-campus. If Oakland did not issue your DS-2019, you will need to seek off-campus work permission from the organization that issued your DS-2019. It is also your responsibility to understand and manage your reporting requirements relative to any employment you undertake while in the United States.

On-Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students can work on-campus up to 20 hours per week when school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during semester breaks and during the summer semester. On-campus work does not need to be related to your field of study. J-1 students must meet with an international adviser for prior approval. Students must meet the following immigration requirements:

  • Full-time enrollment
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019
  • Valid passport
  • Have or have applied for a SSN

For more information regarding on-campus employment, please visit the Student Employment website and be active on Handshake, the ultimate job-search and networking platform for OU students and alumni. The Career Services center at OU also has resources specifically for international students to assist them in their job search.  It is your responsibility to check with Student Financial Services for their own eligibility requirements and your individual department.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

If you wish to accept employment off-campus, you should pursue Curricular Practical Training (CPT). CPT is available only prior to the completion of your degree program, and you must have a job offer at the time of application. Students become eligible to apply for CPT after 8 months (two semesters) in F-1 status. Employment for 20 hours or less per week is considered part-time. Employment for more than 20 hours per week is full-time. Please be aware that 12 months or more of full-time CPT will eliminate your eligibility for OPT. If it is summer semester, or you have an approved under-enrollment, you will need to be enrolled for at least one credit to participate. Students who are working on-campus are only eligible for part-time CPT.

To apply for CPT:

  • Review the guidelines on this page and attend an ISSO Weekly Shares meeting to learn more about CPT and to get your questions answered (dates and times are sent to your Oakland University email). A dedicated CPT themed ISSO shares occurs at the beginning and end of each semester.
  • Complete the CPT form and route it to your academic adviser. Your academic adviser reviews the document, and routes it to the next person. If you are in the Graduate School, or the School of Medicine, their designees will need to review the form as well.
  • After you’ve received all of the necessary approvals, the CPT form is routed to our office, and you receive a confirmation email to schedule an appointment with the ISSO by emailing isso@oakland.edu.

CPT authorization from the ISSO is required prior to you starting work. You may not start working while your CPT application is pending approval, and must wait until the CPT start date on the I-20 issued at your appointment. If you fail to follow these guidelines, it may jeopardize future applications for CPT employment.

First-day CPT: Students who are starting a second program at the same education level, such as a second master’s program, and who have already used their OPT allowance at that education level, are not permitted full-time CPT for their first semester. They are only allowed part-time CPT in the first semester of their new program. They may pursue full-time CPT starting their second semester.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows students in F-1 status to engage in 12 months of employment after graduation. Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before their program end date (last day of classes in your last semester), or up to 60 days after your program end date. It takes at least 90 days for approval from USCIS. You are eligible to apply if you meet the following criteria:

  • Maintained F-1 visa status as a student during your program and will continue to maintain F-1 visa status while working.
  • Have been in F-1 status for at least 2 consecutive semesters prior to starting OPT.
  • Did not work full-time CPT for more than 11 months and 29 days on the current program. Part-time CPT does not affect OPT eligibility. 
  • Did not work off-campus without authorization.
  • Have a valid passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity at the time of application.

 

OPT is an application to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and requires their approval. 

  • To begin the OPT process, read through the information in this section of the website and attend an ISSO Weekly Shares meeting to learn more about OPT and to get your questions answered. Dates and times are sent to your Oakland University email, and an OPT themed session will occur at the beginning and end of each semester.
  • Click on the checklist for OPT application, and then select 'make a copy' when prompted. You will need to use your Oakland email account to access this. This will allow you to have your own personal version of the list of documents required for OPT application in your google drive account, for you to use when gathering your documents.
  • Once all documents are completed, enter them into the OPT Application Form. Follow the instructions to obtain all required approvals prior to meeting with ISSO.
  • Once all required approvals have been obtained, you will receive an email informing you that you can now contact isso@oakland.edu to set up an appointment with an international adviser. During this appointment, the ISSO adviser will help you prepare your documents to send to USCIS and give you guidance on next steps.

Processing times for employment authorization can take 90 days or more after USCIS has received your application. Visit USCIS Case Processing Times for more information.

If you receive a notice from USCIS for a Request for Evidence or RFE, or your I-765 application is returned to you, please contact the ISSO immediately via email (isso@oakland.edu) for an appointment with an international adviser. The response period for an RFE is limited, and if you fail to respond by the deadline, your application may be denied.

What do I need to know about being on OPT?

What to Do After Receiving Your OPT EAD (Employment Authorization) Card:

  • Complete the EIR form and follow the process to submit a copy of your EAD card and job offer letter to the ISSO. Your offer letter should include your name and date of employment. Once we receive all necessary documents, we will send you an updated I-20 within 2 business days. You are required to do this before starting work on your OPT. 

Please note that being unemployed for more than 90 days, or not submitting these documents in a timely manner, could result in your lapse of status, and potentially your SEVIS record being TERMINATED.

STEM OPT Extension

A STEM OPT Extension is available to international students who hold an appropriate degree in one of the DHS-approved STEM fields. The OPT STEM extension allows you to extend your original 12-month OPT for an additional 24 months. You need a job offer with an E-Verified Employer to apply for OPT STEM and you will need to send the petition to USCIS. OPT STEM must be applied for prior to expiration of your original OPT. We recommend applying 90 days before the expiration. You can continue working for 180 days after the expiration of your current OPT while you wait for the OPT STEM approval, if necessary.

OPT STEM Extension is an application to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and requires their approval. 

  • To begin the OPT STEM process, read through the information in this section of the website and attend an ISSO Weekly Shares meeting to learn more about OPT STEM and to get your questions answered. Dates and times are sent to your Oakland University email, and an OPT/ OPT STEM themed session will occur at the beginning and end of each semester.
  • Click on the checklist for OPT STEM extension application, and then select 'make a copy' when prompted. You will need to use your Oakland email account to access this. This will allow you to have your own personal version of the list of documents required for OPT STEM application in your google drive account, for you to use when gathering your documents.
  • Once all documents are completed, contact isso@oakland.edu to set up an appointment with an international adviser. At least 24 hours prior to this appointment, you must send all your prepared OPT STEM application documents to the ISSO adviser that you will be seeing for your appointment. During this appointment, the ISSO adviser will help you prepare your documents to send to USCIS and give you guidance on next steps.
  • OPT STEM Employer Information Report (EIR)

Once you’ve filled out the forms above, contact isso@oakland.edu for an appointment with an international adviser to prepare to send your documents to USCIS.

 

What to Do After Receiving Your OPT STEM EAD (Employment) Card

Please follow the same instructions as detailed above for your first OPT card. After the first 12 months, complete the first evaluation on the last page of the Training Plan for STEM OPT students (I-983 Form), and return this page to the ISSO.

Upon the completion of your OPT STEM period (24 months), complete the second evaluation on the last page of the Training Plan, and once again return this page to the ISSO for your records. The ISSO maintains the I-983 form until it is requested by SEVIS.

Academic Training for J-1 Students

J-1 students have some work authorization options that must be pre-approved by the ISSO or your J-1 visa sponsor. Academic training can be authorized either before or after completion of studies to conduct hands-on training within your field of study. Academic training must be authorized within 30 days of completion of study. If you are interested in working off-campus while on J-1 visa status, email isso@oakland.edu for an appointment with an international adviser to discuss your options.

Cap-Gap OPT Extension while H-1B is Pending

The Cap-Gap Extension is available to students who, as of April 1, were either on approved OPT or STEM OPT or in their 60-day grace period and have a pending or approved change of status for October 1 to remain in F-1 status during the Cap-Gap period.

Eligibility:

Those filing for H-1B via consular processing DO NOT qualify for the Cap-Gap Extension. You must confirm with your employer if the H-1B will be filed as a "change-of status" or via "consular processing." You may be eligible for one of two Cap-Gap extension benefits:

  • If the employer filed your H-1B (change-of-status) petition and it is received by USCIS prior to your post-completion OPT expiration date, you qualify for an extension of your OPT employment authorization.
  • If the employer filed your H-1B (change-of-status) petition and it is received by USCIS after your post-completion OPT expires but during your 60-day grace period following OPT, your F-1 status and permission to remain in the United States are extended but you are not eligible to work.

Petitions that have been filed and receipted: If your H-1B (change-of-status) petition has been filed by your employer and receipted by USCIS, you are eligible for an automatic Cap-Gap extension I-20 through September 30.

Petitions that have been filed but NOT receipted: If your H-1B (change-of-status) petition has been filed by your employer but not receipted, and your OPT expires before June 1, you are eligible for a preliminary Cap-Gap extension only until June 1. Once your petition is receipted, then you can request an automatic Cap-Gap extension I-20 through September 30.

In order to request either of these types of Cap-Gap extensions, please email isso@oakland.edu explaining your situation. We will update your I-20 accordingly and email it to you.

 

Change of
Immigration Status
and Reinstatement
of Status
In-Country Change of Status

Federal regulations permit individuals holding a non-immigrant visa in the United States to change status to another non-immigrant category. While in the United States, you must submit a change of status application, and not leave while the application is pending. Adjudications are taking around 12 months.

The ISSO does not process in-country change of status applications. The ISSO’s role in an in-country change of status is to provide you with a change of status I-20.  Before we can generate your I-20, one of our international advisers will need to meet with you. You can also consult an immigration attorney to complete the COS process.

Before you schedule an appointment, you will need to gather the following documents:

If your change of status is approved, you will not receive a new visa in your passport. However, you will receive an I-797 Notice of Action. Please keep it with your passport and I-94 card. When you contact our office for an appointment, you should indicate that you plan on doing an in-country COS. Please allow 5-7 business days for your new I-20.

Required USCIS Forms for an in-country change of status:

Please do not move or travel outside of the United States while your change of status is pending. If you travel outside of the United States, it cancels your process. If your COS is approved, the Service Center will return a new Form I-94 indicating your new status to the address indicated on your Form I-539 application. If you plan to be a graduate/teaching assistant or undertake any on-campus employment, you cannot begin working until your Change of Status has been approved and we register you in SEVIS.

Once you receive approval of your change of status, you will be required to enroll as a full-time student. Also, you will be required to be covered under Oakland University’s health insurance plan unless you qualify for a waiver.

Out-of-Country “Change of Status"

Another option to receive a new non-immigrant status is to travel outside of the United States, apply for a new visa and re-enter in a new status.

For students traveling abroad and applying for F-1 visa abroad, you will need to submit the following documents by emailing them to issoforms@oakland.edu for I-20 creation before you can schedule an embassy appointment and travel.  You need to indicate in your email that you are planning to do an out-of-country COS. Please allow 5-7 business days for your new I-20.

  • Oakland University admission letter.
  • Valid passport.
  • Proof of funding for one academic year. This must be in English and in US dollars (USD).
  • If the proof of funding is not your own, you need to complete the "International Student Affidavit of Support" Form and have it signed by your sponsor(s). This form is part of the the Undergraduate and Graduate International Supplemental Application.
  • ISSO Data Sheet.

After you receive your new I-20, you will need to pay the SEVIS fee and print the receipt to take to your consular appointment. When you receive your visa, you will be required to enroll as a full-time student and pay out-of-state tuition rates. Also, you will be required to be covered under Oakland University’s health insurance plan unless you qualify for a waiver. You can enter the United States with your I-20 and F-1 visa no earlier than 30 days before the start date on your I-20.

Reinstatement of Status

If you have failed to maintain F-1 or J-1 student status (termed being “out of status”) and wish to regain valid F-1 or J-1 status, you can apply for Reinstatement of Status. If you are out of status, you can continue to enroll at Oakland, but you will not be eligible for on-campus work or any other immigration benefit like OPT or CPT. ISSO highly recommends applying for Reinstatement of Status. If you are out of status, you must meet and discuss the situation with the ISSO Director.

To be eligible for reinstatement you must:

  • Be enrolled or intending to enroll as a full-time student.
  • Not have worked without employment authorization.
  • Not have been out of status for 5 months or more.
  • Be able to show conclusively that the violation of status resulted from circumstances beyond your control.

Reinstatement Process:

Apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for reinstatement. ISSO recommends that you work with an immigration attorney. You will need to submit the following documents by emailing them to issoforms@oakland.edu for a new I-20 creation. You need to indicate in your email that you are applying for a new I-20 because of being out of status and applying for reinstatement in the United States. Please allow 5-7 business days for your new I-20.

Required USCIS Forms for reinstatement: 


More information can be found on the Study in the States website.

Canadian
Students

Canadian citizen students entering the United States with either F-1 or J-1 immigration status do not need to go to the United States Embassy or Consulate’s Office to obtain a United States visa stamp.

When entering the United States on an F-1 or J-1 visa for the first time:

  • Enter within 30 days of your I-20 or DS-2019 start date
  • Do not enter as a tourist
  • Present your I-20 or DS-2019, a valid passport and proof of SEVIS payment


If you travel by air or sea, you will not receive a paper copy of the I-94 card – instead, your I-94 is accessible electronically.  If you travel by land, you will receive a paper copy of your I-94 card. The inspector at the border will place an entry stamp indicating that you entered on a certain date, in a certain visa status (F-1, J-1), and can stay until a certain date or D/S (duration of status). Duration of status means that your F-1 visa status is valid until your I-20 expires, your program of study ends, or your status is terminated. Keep the paper copy of your I-94 card in your passport or another safe place. It also shows your admission number, which you will need when you apply for a driver’s license or Social Security Number (SSN).

If you are a F-1 part-time commuter student from Canada, you will need to meet with an international adviser every semester to get your I-20 updated. You do not need to reside in the United States, and do not need to provide the ISSO with a local address. You will need to maintain continuous enrollment throughout your time at Oakland University.

Canadian students are required to have the OU health insurance plan and can only waive out under the circumstances listed on the health insurance tab.