International Students and Scholars

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

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Newly Admitted Students


Congratulations on your admission to Oakland University! We extend a warm welcome to all new international students and look forward to getting to know you in the year ahead.

In order to ensure a smooth transition into your new program, please follow these steps:

  1. Read the Welcome Guide.
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee and schedule your embassy appointment. 
  3. Activate your SAIL account and sign up for your NetID (Oakland email). 
  4. Once you receive your visa, sign up for your mandatory orientation: Winter 2019 here
  5. Start looking into on-campus housing or off-campus housing. We recommend living on campus at the International Village (IV) Special Interest Floor. For more information about the International Village, watch this IV video
  6. Whether you will be living on campus or not, you can purchase on-campus meal plans.
  7. Start planning for your mandatory health insurance.
  8. 'Like' our Facebook page for updates and important information.
  9. Fill out the mandatory data sheet form and bring it with you to the orientation.
  10. Watch our orientation video here or look at our Welcome to Michigan presentation here.

Mandatory Orientation:
All new, transferring and change of status international students are required to attend International Orientation. Our next Orientation is:
  • Winter 2019 - Friday, January 3, 2020 at 9:00 am 
  • Location: 202B O'Dowd Hall
The orientation provides information you will need to become acquainted with your new academic environment and life in the Rochester, MI area. We hope to answer all of your questions! 
Attendance is mandatory. Please be on time and please be aware we have a no guest policy.

Once you receive your visa, sign up for your mandatory orientation: 
Bring the following items to orientation
  • Passport
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • If you have F-2 or J-2 dependents (spouse or children) who traveled with you to the U.S., bring their I-20/DS-2019s and passports
  • Fully completed Data sheet form (also mailed to you in the Welcome Packet)
Transfer Student

Undergraduate Students

F-1 or J-1 Student Visas
Those who wish to transfer from another American educational institution must follow all United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) procedures. When transferring from one school to another within the U.S., you must carefully follow certain procedures to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 status.

  • We cannot issue an I-20 or DS-2019 until the previous school has released your SEVIS record to Oakland University.
  • If you are an international applicant with transfer credits from a Non-American, foreign school, you do not need to complete the Transfer-In form as part of the International Supplemental Application.

  1. Apply through the appropriate Admissions Office, submitting all necessary documents including the supplemental packet with Transfer-In form.
  2. Take the International Student Transfer form to an Immigration Coordinator in your previous institution.
  3. The Designated School Official at your current school enters the transfer request in the SEVIS and sets the release date.

    The SEVIS release date is the date on which your non-immigrant record will be electronically transferred to Oakland University. The release date should be determined according to your circumstances and needs.

  4. An I-20 or DS-2019 will be issued on or after the release date indicated on the International Student Transfer form. The new I-20 or DS-2019 will be mailed to you at the address on the admission application or given at the orientation.

Travel Plans
  1. To travel outside the U.S. before starting your new program, you should enter the U.S. on your new I-20 or DS-2019.
  2. You do not need to apply for a new visa as long as your current visa is still valid. However, the SEVIS ID Number on the visa must match the SEVIS ID Number on your new I-20/ DS-2019.

SEVIS Transfer
Every student who wishes to enter the U.S. in F-1 status is issued an I-20 with a unique Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) identification number. 

Speak with the international student adviser at your current school to request that your SEVIS record will be electronically released from your current school to Oakland University. Once the SEVIS record is released and all other admissions materials have been submitted and accepted, your file is sent to the ISSO where we will process and send you your new I-20. 

If you were admitted late, and are not traveling outside of the United States, a new I-20 will be available at the mandatory orientation or during the first week of the semester.
Discuss your travel plans with your international student adviser at the transferring school so that an appropriate "transfer out" date and new I-20 issuance can be coordinated to facilitate your travel.

Transfer SEVIS record after graduation

F-1 students: You are eligible to request a SEVIS record transfer during the 60-day grace period following your program completion. If you are authorized for OPT you can request a SEVIS record transfer during your OPT period and within the 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date.

J-1 students: Please consult your international student adviser.

OPT authorization

If you are currently authorized for OPT, choose carefully when deciding what date you would like your SEVIS record transferred to your new school. OPT authorization ends on the "transfer out" date, even if the EAD card is not yet expired. If you plan to work between programs while on OPT, coordinate with your international student adviser at both schools to determine an appropriate "transfer out" date.

  • Students who are admitted and have submitted all necessary documents to Oakland University.
  • Students who are currently maintaining their F-1or J-1 status either as a student or on Optional Practical Training (OPT). If your current SEVIS record is not active, please contact the ISSO before requesting the transfer of your non-immigrant status.
  • Students who begin the new program within five months of the end of the course of study at the current school or end of the authorized OPT period. Example: If you completed your bachelor's degree at your former school on May 14, you must request and receive a SEVIS transfer no later than July 13 and you must begin your new program no later than Oct. 13.
  • Students who have requested transfer no later than the end of the student’s grace period; otherwise the student is considered to be “out of status” and may have to apply for reinstatement
    • F-1 students: The SEVIS record has to be transferred within the 60-day grace period following your completion of study or practical training.
    • J-1 students: The SEVIS record has to be transferred within the 30-day grace period following your completion of study or academic training

Graduate Students
Students interested in transferring from a graduate program at another institution to Oakland University must complete the online Application for Admission and meet the same admission requirements as any other graduate applicant. 

Upon admission, previous graduate coursework will be evaluated by a faculty adviser to determine transfer to Oakland University. A maximum of nine credits may transfer to the OU graduate program. Students should be familiar with the  Course Content and Course Waiver Substitution policy and consult with their faculty adviser. 

International applicants already studying in U.S.
International  applicants who are presently in the United States on a student status may be required to provide a statement from the  International Student Adviser at their current institution.  International students who do not enroll during their indicated semester of admission must submit an application to update at least eight weeks prior to the start of the term (fall or winter) in which they wish to enroll.

To learn more, visit the Transfer Credit section in the graduate catalog.

Do I need to report to my new school's international office?
F-1 students: Report to ISSO within 15 days of the program start date listed on your I-20.
J-1 students: Report to ISSO within 30 days of the program start date listed on your DS-2019.

What do I do if I have attended a U.S. institution or completed a program in the United States, and I am currently outside the United States, but plan on re-entering to attend Oakland University?
In addition to requesting the release of your SEVIS record, keep in mind that you can be outside the U.S. for no more than five months without being registered in coursework in the U.S. to be eligible for a visa transfer. If you plan to be outside the U.S. for more than five months and do not intend to register in U.S.-based coursework during this time, or have been outside the U.S. for more than five months already, you will not be eligible for a SEVIS transfer. Oakland University will make a new I-20 with a new SEVIS ID for your re-entry. You must then pay the SEVIS fee again and apply for a new F-1 visa per Department of State regulations. In order for the SEVIS to transfer, you must apply to your program of interest.

What do I do if I am currently participating in OPT in the United States, but plan on starting a new degree program?
In addition to requesting that your former institution release your SEVIS record to Oakland University, keep in mind that your OPT will terminate on the date that your SEVIS record is released. Therefore, if your OPT start date is May 1, and you request that your former institution release your SEVIS record to Oakland University on June 15, your OPT ends on June 15, and you would no longer be eligible to work on that authorization. OPT authorization is non-transferable. If you intend to have your SEVIS record transferred after your OPT ends, you must request your release and have that release granted within 60 days following the completion of your OPT. 

When can I register for classes?
You may contact your academic adviser at any time after admission to discuss your plan of study.  Once you do so, the adviser will remove the hold and you can register for classes.  If you do not meet with an academic adviser ahead of orientation, you may also do so that day.

How do I get from the airport to Oakland University?
Many times, alumni or current international students will help with transportation from the airport- you could connect with others on our Facebook page. We also work closely with a local non-profit organization, International Oasis, and you can request airport pickup on their website. 

How can I find off-campus housing with other international students?
Please contact the president of any multicultural organization. You can also email the ISSO and we will forward your request to our current students to see if someone is looking for a roommate. Please also check our

When can I move to on-campus housing?
Oakland's housing department allows international students to move in one day before international orientation. Visit University Housing.