F-1 Status


 
          

All non-immigrants in the United States are required to have a valid passport at all times. A valid passport is a legal document issued by the home country of a nonimmigrant that permits travel to U.S. along with a valid visa. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Please note that a valid passport does not guarantee entry into the United States; however, a valid passport along with other required immigration documents enables a nonimmigrant to travel to the U.S. point of entry to attempt entry into the United States. As a nonimmigrant, you must adhere to the terms associated with your visa type. A valid and current passport is required for all F-1 and J-1 students. Failure to have a valid passport could impact your immigration status.

How do I renew my passport?
  • You may renew your passport inside the United States at the local Embassy or consulate of your home country or at an Embassy outside of the United States. You must contact your Embassy or consulate for specific instructions on how to renew your passport.
  • Students with a valid, unexpired visa in their expired passport may still use that visa if they have the old passport. Students must remember to carry and present the old passport along with the new passport when traveling.
  • For a list of foreign consular offices in the United States, visit the website of your home country’s diplomatic mission or the U.S. Department of State website 

What to do after Renewing your Passport
  • You should notify ISS that you have renewed your passport as soon as possible after receiving the renewed passport.
  • To update your passport information with ISS, submit a copy of your renewed passport to iss@tamu.edu. Once received, ISS will update your passport information in your student immigration file. 
  • ISS monitors the passport information of our current students each semester. If it is discovered that your passport is expired—or soon to be expired—ISS will contact you for more information regarding the status of your passport renewal. If the passport of an F-1 or J-1 student has already expired, a registration hold will be placed on that student’s account until ISS receives a copy of the renewed passport. It is best to be proactive and submit a copy of your renewed passport when you receive it to avoid having a hold placed on your account.

Federal regulations allow F-1 students to work on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20 or DS-2019 if they are in good standing at that school and they are maintaining legal non-immigrant status.Click here for more details.
There are two types of practical training available to F-1 students:

Curricular Practical Training : CPT must be an integral part of a student's degree plan and can only be done before graduation.

Optional Practical Training: OPT is not an integral part of a student's degree plan. However, OPT must be related to the student's field of study and commensurate with the education level. OPT can be done before or after graduation.
If you change your degree level, you must get a new I-20 prior to the 15th class day of the semester or before you leave the U.S. Proof of financial resources are required to apply for a Change of Education Level. Refer to the Financial Resources section of our web site for more information and the below article:

SEVIS makes a distinction between 2 types of Degree Level Changes for F-1 students. ISS must report both types of Degree Level Changes to the Department of Homeland Security through SEVIS. Students will receive a new I-20 after completing either type of Degree Level Change. 

Types of Degree Level Changes​

1. Program Information Update – Applies to any graduate student who would like to move to a new degree level without graduating from their current degree level. A Program Information Update will first have to be processed and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS). Once OGS has approved the Program Information Update and the new data has been updated in COMPASS, ISS will automatically update this information on the student’s SEVIS record. The student does not have to submit any paperwork or requests to ISS in order to complete the Program Information Update. The student will be e-mailed when their new I-20 is available for pick-up at the ISS front counter. The student does not have to submit any of the documents listed on this handout. The student will not receive an extension to the program end date on their I-20. If they are unable to complete their new degree program by the program end date on their I-20, the student must apply for an Extension of Stay. 

2. Change of Educational Level – Applies to any student who graduates and moves to a new degree level. The deadline to apply is the 15th class day of the semester in which you want the update to take effect or within 60 days after graduation, whichever is first. ISS must approve all Changes of Educational Level. Failure to obtain ISS approval will result in the student being out of legal immigration status. If ISS is notified that a student has graduated and changed educational levels, ISS will place a registration hold on the student’s record until the student applies for a Change of Educational Level. To apply, the student must meet all requirements and submit all documents listed on this handout. 

Change of Educational Level Requirements​
  • Any student who graduates and begins a new academic program must obtain a new I-20 reflecting the new Educational Level.
  • There cannot be a gap of 5 months or more between graduation and the start of the new program unless you leave the U.S. and re-enter to begin the new program or you continue authorized employment with Optional Practical Training (OPT) during the gap.
  • If a student has been accepted to begin a new program in the summer term, he/she is required to register for a full course of study in the summer. For graduate students, this means completing 6 credit hours in the 10-week session or 3 in each 5-week session. For undergraduates, this means completing 8 credit hours in the 10-week session or 4 in each of the 5-week sessions.
  • A student may not change educational levels during the second summer session.
  • A student must receive the I-20 for their new educational level before they may begin or resume oncampus employment. 

Documents Required:
  • Photocopies of the student and each F-2 dependent’s passport, visa, I-94 card, and most recently issued I-20.
  • Official University Proof of Acceptance into the New Program
    • Students beginning a new graduate-level program should submit one of the following to ISS:  
      • A Letter of Intent from OGS if you have completed one graduate program and are moving to another. You should apply for the Letter of Intent during the semester you will graduate.
      • An Acceptance Letter from the Office of Graduate Admissions if you have completed an undergraduate program and are moving to a graduate program.
    • Students beginning a new undergraduate-level program should submit an Acceptance Letter from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.\
  • Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the student and any dependents. For detailed information about acceptable proof of financial resources, please visit the ISS Proof of Financial Resources page.
  •  If the new educational level is a non-degree seeking program or other special program, submit a “Non-degree/Special Program” Form (available on the ISS website). This form must be completed by the Academic Advisor.
Change of Education Level Handout.
What is Co-Enrollment (Concurrent Enrollment)? “Concurrent enrollment” means that a student is enrolled at two SEVIS approved schools at the same time.
  • Students who enroll at the English Language Institute (ELI) or Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) are NOT required to submit a co-enrollment form.
  • During major semesters or final term, the combined number of hours enrolled must add up to a full course of study (12 for undergraduates, and 9 for graduates) and at least half of the total must be taken at TAMU.
  • If the student is in their graduating semester and the required courses needed to graduate are not available at TAMU, they can be permitted to take more than half of their credit hours at the other school provided that they enroll in at least 1 hour at TAMU. Note: If the student will be enrolled less than full-time, they must also obtain Reduced Course Load (RCL) authorization.
  • Texas A&M students who wish to enroll at another school instead of Texas A&M must see an International Student Services Advisor for permission. This is only possible during school vacation periods (such as the Summer term) and if it is authorized.
  • Without ISS approval to co-enroll, an F-1 student will be considered out of legal immigration status.

Enrollment Requirements: An F-1 student may co-enroll in two schools approved by USCIS if:
  • Attendance at the other school does not occur without prior written permission of the Designated School Official (DSO) at the school where the student is enrolled in a full-time degree program (this form may be used for this purpose). Failure to receive prior written permission may result in the student losing legal immigration status.
  • The combined number of hours enrolled adds up to a full course of study (12 hours for undergraduates, and 9 hours for graduates) in major semesters and at least half of the total credit hours must be taken at TAMU*;
  • Only one online or distance education course may be counted towards a student’s full-time enrollment per semester.
  • The coursework at the other school is not avocational and will be accepted for fulfilling degree requirements at the school that issued the I-20.

 There are only two cases where a student may take a majority of credit hours at another institution he student 
  • If the student is engaged in a full-time Cooperative Education program, authorized by an ISS advisor
  • If the student is in their last semester of a degree program and the required courses are not available at Texas A&M University.

Required Documents and Actions: Complete the F-1 Co-Enrollment Authorization form and enroll in the specified courses.

Deadline(s): An F-1 student must apply for co-enrollment prior to the 1st class day of the semester in which they would like to co-enroll.
What is an Other School Enrollment Letter? International students that are planning to attend another school other than the one listed on their I-20 during a break semester, they must submit this form. Students requesting an Other School Enrollment Letter will not be attending Texas A&M University; however, will return to Texas A&M for the next major semester and will remain on Texas A&M immigration documents (I-20 or DS-2019).

Required Documents:
Required Steps Checklist: In order to submit a complete Other School Enrollment Form,
  • Submit Other School Enrollment Form

Deadline(s): Students should complete this form prior to the first day of classes at the other institution.

Processing Time: ISS processing times are 5-10 business days from the time the student submits a complete application.
What is F-1 Extension of Stay (EOS) Authorization Form ?
Students who are unable to graduate by the expiration date of their I-20 will need to submit paperwork for an extension of stay. Proof of financial resources are required to apply for an extension of stay. Refer to the Financial Resources section of our web site for more information.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Texas A&M University EOS Rules
  • Federal regulations require that F-1 students have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) at all times.
  • F-1 students are eligible for an EOS if he/she is in good academic standing, in legal status with DHS, and if the delay in completing degree requirements by the I-20 program end date has been caused by compelling academic or documented medical reasons. A student's overall academic progress, performance, and seriousness of purpose can also help to determine eligibility. Delays caused by any periods of academic probation, suspension or employment are not acceptable reasons for an EOS.
  • An EOS can be granted for a maximum of 12 months at one time.
  • If a student will be out of the country during the weeks prior to the program end date on the I-20, they should discuss how they can still apply for an EOS with an ISS Advisor before leaving the U.S.
  • Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for an EOS or who have already exceeded the program end date on the current I-20 must meet with an ISS Advisor as soon as possible to discuss the need for Reinstatement or New Entry.
  • Students who are granted an EOS will receive a new Form I-20 and must complete a new Form I-9 with their employing department payroll office.
  • F-2 dependent extensions are included in the F-1 student's EOS.
  • Students who fail to extend their I-20 prior to the expiration date must stop working immediately and schedule an appointment with an ISS advisor.

Required Documents: 
  • Proof of Financial Resources: Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the student and any dependents. For detailed information about acceptable proof of financial resources, please visit the ISS Proof of Financial Resources page.
  • Immigration Documents: Copy of the passport, visa, I-94, and current I-20 for the student and any dependents.
  • F-1 Extension of Stay (EOS) Authorization Form
  • Proof of Medical Condition: If a medical condition caused or contributed to your need for an extension, it is necessary to submit a letter written by a recognized, licensed health care practitioner. The letter must be written on the practitioner's own professional letterhead stationery and it should state that a specific (explained) illness or medical condition compelled the student to reduce or to interrupt (state which one) his/her full course of study. The letter should also specify the semester(s) and dates involved. If the medical condition is considered to be ongoing or open-ended, this information should be stated in the letter. In this case, it may not be possible for the student to continue to hold a visa type that requires full time University attendance.

Deadline(s):
  • The earliest that a student may apply for an EOS is the semester in which the current I-20 will expire.
  • An EOS must be completed before the program end date on your current I-20.
  • ISS processing times are 5 to 10 business days from the time the student's request is complete.

What is Reduced Course Load form?
Any F-1 student who wishes to drop below full-time enrollment should complete this form. The authorized exceptions to the full course of study requirement and the rules for reduced course load are included.

This form also explains the requirements for an F-1 student who would like to drop below full-time enrollment and obtain approval for a Reduced Course Load (RCL). An F-1 student must not drop below full-time enrollment without prior approval from ISS. Without ISS approval to drop below full-time enrollment, an F-1 student will be considered out of legal immigration status.

DHS and Texas A&M University Reduced Course Load Rules
It is the responsibility of the student to uphold both Texas A&M University and U.S. Government laws and regulations.
Federal regulations require F-1 students to register full-time during both the Fall and Spring semesters. Full-time enrollment is defined as 9 hours for graduate students and 12 hours for undergraduate students at Texas A&M.
F-1 students must register full-time during the summer if it is their 1st semester (including their 1st semester after readmission, a change of status, or entering a new academic program) or if they plan to graduate during the summer session. Full-time enrollment during the summer is defined as 6 hours for graduate students and 8 hours for undergraduate students at Texas A&M. These hours can be taken during the 10-week summer session or the summer II session for those students planning to graduate during the summer. A student who is eligible and intends to register for the next semester is not required to register during summer unless the department requires it. University full-time enrollment exceptions are described here. Texas A&M policy requires graduate students with assistantships to be registered full-time regardless of the semester. Contact OGS (http://ogs.tamu.edu/) if you have any questions about this requirement. Certain scholarships and fellowships also require students to enroll full-time so a RCL could make a student ineligible for these awards. All students will receive an e-mail from ISS when their RCL has been approved.
 
DHS Authorized Exceptions to the Full Course of Study Requirement
Medical Condition - Complete the F-1 Reduced Course Load Form and submit a letter written by a licensed medical doctor, a doctor of osteopathy, or a licensed clinical psychologist on their own professional letterhead stating that a specific (explained) illness or medical condition compelled the student to reduce or to interrupt (state which one) his/her full course of study. The letter should also specify the semester involved and whether the medical condition is considered to be ongoing. It may not be possible for an F-1 student with an ongoing medical condition to continue to hold a visa type that requires full-time University attendance.

  • Application Deadline: An F-1 student must apply and be approved by ISS prior to dropping the course(s).
  • Minimum Enrollment: None - An F-1 student may register for as few as 0 credit hours dependent upon the physician letter and the RCL form.
  • Duration: An F-1 student may receive a Medical Condition RCL for a maximum aggregate of 12 months per degree level.

Academic Difficulty - Complete the F-1 Reduced Course Load Form. The only Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorized reasons for an Academic Difficulty RCL are the following: (1) Initial Difficulties with the English language, reading requirements, or unfamiliarity with U.S. teaching methods and (2) Improper Course Level Placement.

  • Application Deadline: An F-1 student must apply and be approved by ISS prior to dropping the course(s).
  • Minimum Enrollment: An F-1 student must register for a minimum of 6 credit hours.
  • Duration: An F-1 student can only be authorized for an Academic Difficulty RCL once during each academic program level (Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, etc.). An Initial Difficulties RCL can only be approved within an F-1 student's first year in the U.S. An Improper Course Level Placement RCL is not restricted to an F-1 student's first year in the U.S.

Final Term - Complete the F-1 Reduced Course Load Form. If a student is unable to graduate within the semester for which they request a Final Term RCL, they should report to ISS immediately because they may be subject to losing legal immigration status and may require a reinstatement. All students who apply for a Final Term RCL will be blocked from registering for class in future semesters.

  •  Application Deadline: An F-1 student must apply by the 1st class day
  •  Minimum Enrollment: An F-1 student must register for a minimum of 1 credit hour and must apply for graduation.
  •  Duration: An F-1 student may receive a Final Term RCL during their final academic semester only.
          *Note: The I-20 will be shortened to the graduation date.
What is Transfer Release Form? This form should be submitted by any F-1 or J-1 student with an I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Texas A&M University who intends to transfer out of Texas A&M and fully enroll at another educational institution. Completion of this form authorizes ISS to release the student's SEVIS record to another school.

Required Documents: 
Deadlines: This form must be submitted before the student enrolls at the new school.
What is Authorized Early Withdrawal Form? International students should not take a leave of absence or withdraw from Texas A&M University without first speaking with ISS about the consequences of this action. This form should be completed by all F-1 and J-1 students who intend to do the following: (1) take a leave of absence or withdraw from Texas A&M, (2) enroll less than full-time during the semester(s) of their leave of absence or withdrawal, and (3) depart the United States. This form should not be completed by any student who intends to maintain their F-1 or J-1 status or any student who plans to participate in authorized research or study abroad.

USCIS and Texas A&M University Authorized Early Withdrawal Rules​
The Authorized Early Withdrawal Process:
  • The SEVIS record(s) of the student and their dependents will be terminated on the date that the ISS Advisor completes this form.
  • The student’s on-campus employment will be terminated on the date of the SEVIS termination or on the last day of the current semester, whichever comes first. Graduate assistants are responsible for discussing the impact of the leave of absence or withdrawal on their tuition and/or fee payment with their employer.
  • If the student will not enroll during their leave of absence or after withdrawing, a registration hold will be placed on the student’s record.
  • If the student will enroll during their leave of absence or after withdrawing and ISS has received an In Absentia Letter from the academic department, the student’s immigration status will be classified as “Abroad” with Texas A&M University.
  • The student should plan to depart the U.S.                                                                                           
    1. F-1 students and their dependents are permitted a 15-day grace period in which to depart the U.S. following their SEVIS termination. F2 dependents are not eligible to remain in the U.S. once the student has departed.                                                                                                       
    2. J-1 students and their dependents should plan to depart the U.S. as soon as possible after their SEVIS termination. They do not have a grace period. J-2 dependents are not eligible to remain in the U.S. once the student has departed
Health Insurance Considerations
  • If the student takes a leave of absence or withdraws during the current semester               
    • Those students who purchased or have been charged for a TAMU insurance policy will not receive a reimbursement for the remainder of the semester.              
                   
    • Those students who purchased an alternative insurance policy can speak with their insurance provider about possible reimbursement.
  • If the student plans to take a leave of absence or withdraw during a future semester:               
    • Those students who do not enroll during their leave of absence or after their withdrawal will not be required to show proof of insurance and should not be charged for the TAMU insurance policy                          
    • Those students who enroll in at least 1 credit hour during their leave of absence or after their withdrawal must obtain an In Absentia Letter from their academic department. Upon receipt of this letter, ISS will re-classify the student’s immigration status to “Abroad.” The student will not be required to show proof of insurance and should not be charged for the TAMU insurance policy.
How to Re-Enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 Status to Resume Study at Texas A&M University:
  • Contact your current academic department to determine if you will be able to resume your studies. If necessary, re-apply for admission to Texas A&M University.
  • Contact ISS to inform them about your plans for returning to the U.S.
  • Obtain a new Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) from ISS. ISS will inform you about the documents required to obtain the new I20 or DS-2019.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee (https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/).
  • Apply for a new F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.
  • After re-entering the U.S., check in with the ISS office and provide copies of your immigration documents. Your registration hold will be removed, if applicable.
Requirements of F-1 and J-1 Students Who Intend to Take a Leave of Absence or Withdraw from Texas A&M:
  • Meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss the academic implications of the leave of absence or withdrawal. Inform the Office of the Registrar and the Office of Graduate Studies (graduate students only) about your intention to take a leave of absence or withdraw and submit all paperwork required by these offices.
  • Meet with an ISS Advisor to discuss the immigration implications of the leave of absence or withdrawal.
  • Submit the following to ISS:
    • A complete F-1/J-1 Authorized Early Withdrawal Form.
    • A copy of the student’s travel itinerary to verify their scheduled date of departure from the U.S.
    • An In Absentia Letter composed by the student’s academic department (required only if the student will remain enrolled in at least 1 credit hour after taking the leave of absence or withdrawing)
Deadline(s):
  • To take a leave of absence or withdraw during the current semester, submit this form to ISS prior to withdrawing.
  • To take a leave of absence or withdraw for a future semester, submit this form to ISS by the 5th class day of the semester of the withdrawal.
Travel

Re-Entry to the United States
There are several steps you should take before leaving the United States in order to be eligible to re-enter the United States with F-1 status.
  • Be in legal F-1 status.  Make sure that your SEVIS record is Active and has not expired.
  • Have your I-20 signed for travel by a Designated School Official (DSO)/International Student Advisor.  The signature is valid for one year unless you are on post-completion Optional Practical Training, then the signature is valid for six months.  Be sure the I-20 you travel with states “Continued Attendance.”  If your I-20 states “Initial” or “Transfer”, then you need a new I-20 printed before travelling.
  • All the information on your I-20 is up-to-date including your major and degree level. 
  • Have a valid F-1 visa (this excludes Canadian citizens).  Please see the visa renewal section for further information.
  • Your passport will be valid for at least six months in advance from the point of return.
To request a travel signature please refer to the Travel Signature Request Form

Travelling to a Third Country
If you are travelling to a third country, check with that country’s embassy to determine if you need a visa to enter that country.  https://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/united-states
If you will be traveling to Mexico and you are not a citizen of Mexico, please also submit a completed Notification for International Students Pursuing Personal Travel to Mexico along with your Travel Signature Request Form.

Please visit following link to get your most recent I-94: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home

Visa Renewal
If you need to renew your visa while outside the United States, please the following into consideration. 
  • Plan ahead.  It could take a considerable amount of time to renew the visa.  You can check the processing times at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en.html
  • Know what documentation to take with you.  ISS recommends taking at least a transcript, a letter of academic status from your academic department if possible, proof of financial support, standardized test scores, passport and I-20.  For more information regarding the required documentation, go to https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange/student.html.  Also check the embassy or consulate web page to determine if additional information or documentation is needed.
  • If you are a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major, then you may want to have information about your research available.  A letter from your academic advisor explaining your program or research subject in plain English at the time of your interview may be helpful.
  • Schedule your appointment at the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate, https://www.usembassy.gov/

Arrival at the U.S. port of entry
Deferred Inspection
If your travel history information is outdated on your electronic I-94 record, your I-94 record itself is incorrect, or you cannot locate your I-94 record online, first review the information and resources provided at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home for online help.

If you cannot resolve this online, then you will want to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Deferred Inspections Office, which is a unit within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  https://www.cbp.gov/contact/deferred-inspection/overview-deferred-inspection

Houston, Texas Deferred Inspection Location
Address: 19581 Lee Road, Humble, TX 77338
Phone: 281-443-4350 extension 221 OR 281-230-4600 extension 1
Fax: 281-443-0241

If you call Deferred Inspection, have your immigration documents with you.  Ask if they can assist you with correcting your record.  CBP may require you to appear in person to resolve your case.
  
Visa Delay
If your visa is delayed in being issued, please inform ISS, your on-campus employer and your academic department.  If the reason for the delay is because of administrative processing, please note that ISS and Texas A&M University cannot speed the process up.  

Delays in visa issuance could be caused the situation in the country, status issues, country of citizenship or major.  If you are a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) major, then you may want to have information about your research available.  A letter from your academic advisor explaining your program or research subject in plain English at the time of your interview may be helpful.

If the delay is caused by administrative processing, please be aware that there is little that University can do to find out what is causing the delay.  The Department of State will not release information to the school or to anyone besides the applicant.  The National Visa Center (NVC) is available to answer questions concerning nonimmigrant visas.  You can contact the NVC at 603-334-0888 from 7 am to 12 am EST, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).  The Department of State recommends you wait at least 60 days from the visa interview before inquiring about delays caused by administrative processing.

According to the Department of State, “Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case.” https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/administrative-processing-information.html

Visa Denial
If your visa is denied, do not panic. Calmly ask the reason for the denial.  You should also receive written notification of the denial reason. Several of the reasons for denials are listed at https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/denials.html.  Good advice is also available at this web page.
Send an email to iss@tamu.edu and include the facts of your interview, such as what questions were you asked, what were your answers, what documentation did you bring to the interview, and what did the consulate officer tell you.  Be sure to include the letter you were given explaining the visa denial.  ISS will then advise you on your options.

Resources
F-1 students are eligible to invite their spouse or children to come to the United States as an F-2 dependent.
  • If the dependent is currently outside the United States:

Please refer to the for a list of the documents to be submitted to the ISS office. Please refer to the Financial Resources page since Finances are required.

 F-1 Invitation of Dependents Handout describes the procedure for inviting dependents to come to U.S.  ​​Students can also obtain information and the necessary documents from the International Student Services (ISS) office. Each eligible dependent will be issued an I-20/DS-2019 by ISS, and will then have to request a corresponding visa (F2 or J2) at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy in a foreign country.

Please be aware that while U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations do allow dependents on F-2 visas to be enrolled in a degree program, they are not permitted to take a full course load (they must take less than 12 credits for undergraduate programs, and less than 9 for graduate programs). If dependents wish to take a full-time course load, they will first have to obtain F-1 status. In cases where a dependent wishes to begin a full-time course of study shortly after arrival in the U.S., s/he should apply for the F-1 visa, and not the F-2 visa.

A “Dependent” is defined as the spouse and/or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of an F-1/J-1 student.


The student must provide International Student Services (ISS) with the following documents:

  • Official Documents: Student’s valid passport with visa, I-94 card, and the most recent I-20 or DS-2019 received
  • Current Financial Support: Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the student and any dependents. For detailed information about acceptable proof of financial resources, please visit http://iss.tamu.edu/Current-Students/Estimated-Cost-of-Attendance.
  • Dependent Information: First name, middle name, last name (as stated in passport), date of birth, birth country, country of citizenship, country of residence, gender, relationship to student (spouse, child). This can be provided to ISS by submitting a copy of the dependent’s immigration documents (passport, visa, etc) or by typing out the dependent information on a piece of paper. 
  • Department Letter: This letter is necessary if you have already been in the current academic program for one academic year (9 months) or more at the time of this application. The letter has to be written by your academic advisor. It has to confirm that you are in good academic standing; that you meet departmental expectations; the requirements remaining; and your projected date of graduation (month/year). For graduate students, the letter needs to be signed also by the Graduate Advisor.
Note: After the I-20/DS-2019 for the student’s dependent(s) has been issued, ISS will put a registration hold on the student’s academic record.
  • Once the student’s dependent(s) enter the U.S., the student must provide copies of each dependent’s official documents (passport, visa, I-94, I-20/DS-2019) to ISS in order to have the registration hold removed. 
  • For students in J immigration status, the hold can only be removed after ISS has verified that health insurance requirements for all family members in J immigration status are fulfilled.
  • Please refer to http://iss.tamu.edu/Prospective-Students/Health-Insurance for additional information on health insurance coverage requirements.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DEPENDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN ISSUED A DEPENDENT I-20 or DS-2019
The student’s dependent(s) shall present the following (and any other supporting documents required) at the U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa:
  • Valid passport;
  • Marriage license/birth certificate (as appropriate);
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019;
  • Original financial support letters.
Please note: U.S. Consulate and Port of Entry Officials may request additional documents or information not mentioned above.

The ISS website http://iss.tamu.edu/Prospective-Students/Applying-for-Visa has links to US consulate/embassy websites you may want to visit to see if there are any additional requirements (besides the above) for citizens of your country.

Other documents a U.S. Consulate or Embassy may require:

  • Student’s personal income tax returns (Forms 1040, 1040NR, or NREZ, etc.) for each year while in U.S.
  • Student’s W-2 tax forms
  • Proof of health insurance in U.S. for the dependents
  • Copy of the student’s passport pages (visa pages, validity page, picture page, and pages showing all port-of-entry stamps).
Within a week after your dependent(s) have arrived in the U.S., it is necessary to bring each dependent’s passport, visa, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019 into the ISS office for verification and to have your registration hold removed.
 

HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR DEPENDENTS

  • J-2 dependents are required by federal law to maintain health insurance coverage as long as they have an active J SEVIS immigration record, including during periods when they are outside the U.S.
  • Learn about minimum health insurance requirements for persons in J immigration status by referring to http://iss.tamu.edu/Prospective-Students/Health-Insurance, or by contacting healthinsurance@tamu.edu.
  • F-2 dependents are strongly recommended to maintain health insurance coverage while they are in the U.S.
  • Regular medical insurance coverage from the home country may not be sufficient for U.S. conditions. Medical services in the U.S. are very expensive and a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization can result in large bills for those without adequate health insurance coverage.
  • Holders of F and J visas cannot access U.S. Public Assistance benefits, including low-cost health care services targeted at uninsured/underinsured U.S. citizens.
  • If the dependent is currently inside the United States in another visa category:

The F-1 will need to schedule an appointment with an ISS adivsor to discuss the options regarding a change of status to F-2. 

There are two ways through which a nonimmigrant can change their status to F-1:

  • Change of Status by Application - Obtain an I-20 from ISS and submit an application to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) while you remain in the U.S. by accessing Form I-539 in the online Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) on the USCIS website: http://www.uscis.gov/elis
  • Change of Status by Travel – Obtain an I-20 from ISS, depart the U.S., apply for an F-2 visa, re-enter the U.S. in F-2 status, and check-in with ISS (submit copies of all immigration documents).
Change of Status to F-2 Handout describes the procedures for doing a Change of Status by Application only. For Change of Status by Travel, consider the following:
  • If your primary F-1 student’s SEVIS record is managed by Texas A&M University (i.e. their most recent I-20 was issued by Texas A&M University and they have not transferred to another school), then refer to the F-1/J-1 Invitation of Dependents handout.
  • If your primary F-1 student’s SEVIS record is not managed by Texas A&M University, please contact the school that does manage their SEVIS record to discuss their Invitation of Dependent procedures.
If you request a Change of Status to F-2, then the person who is currently in F-1 status and wants to add you as their dependent is referred to as the “primary visa holder” or “primary F-1 visa holder.” If you are currently in a dependent visa status (i.e. F-2 or H-4) then the term “primary visa holder” refers to the person who has applied to have you as their dependent (i.e. the person in F-1 or H-1B status).

Information about Change of Status to F-2 by Application
  • All individuals interested in doing a Change of Status to F-2 by Application must schedule an appointment to meet with an International Student Services (ISS) advisor to determine your eligibility.
  • Both the applicant for F-2 status and the primary F-1 student must be in legal status in order for the spouse/child to apply for a Change of Status to F-2.
  • Individuals who have applied for Lawful Permanent Residence should speak with an Immigration Attorney before considering a Change of Status to F-1.
  • If a Change of Status to F-2 is granted by DHS, the applicant obtains F-2 status, but not an F-2 visa. The next time they leave the country, they must apply for an F-2 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to re-enter the U.S.
Information about F-2 Status
  • F-2s are not eligible to work nor are they eligible to apply for work authorization.
  • F-2s can enroll in a college-level, degree-seeking program, but may not take a full course load (they must be below 12 credit hours for undergraduate programs, and below 9 credit hours for graduate programs). If they wish to enroll in courses full-time, they must switch to another status that allows a full-time course load.
  • F-2s can also take courses that are avocational or recreational in nature.

Documents Required

(Please note that additional documentation may be requested as needed.)

  • Proof of financial resources. Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the applicant. For detailed information about acceptable proof of financial resources, please visit the ISS Proof of Financial Resources page at http://iss.tamu.edu/Prospective-Students/You-are-admitted-Now-What#1-ProofofFinancialResourcesI-20%2FDS-2019.
  • Original I-94 card or electronic record for the applicant for F-2 status.
  • Photocopies of all immigration documents ever received by the applicant for F-2 status. Immigration documents include the passport, visa, I-94, Approval Notices (if the applicant ever changed status within the U.S. in the past), Employment Authorization Documents, and any Certificates of Eligibility (i.e. I-20 or DS-2019). 
  • Photocopies of all immigration documents ever received by the individual currently in F-1 status. Refer to the explanation above for details.
  • Employer Letter. If the applicant, their current primary visa holder, or their requested primary visa holder is currently in a status that is dependent upon employment in the U.S. (i.e. H-1B or F-1 OPT), ISS must also receive written proof of that employment from the employer.
  • Academic department letter(s)
    • If the primary F-1 is currently enrolled as a student, ISS must receive a letter from their department.
    • If the applicant for F-2 status is currently a student, ISS must receive a letter from their department.
    • The letter must be composed on department letterhead and addressed “To Whom It May Concern.” The letter must state the following:  (a) when the student began the present program, (b) that the student is a full-time student in good academic standing, (c) the specific program requirements remaining, and (d) the student’s expected date of graduation (month/year). Titles and printed names should accompany all signatures.   
      • For undergraduate students, this must be written and signed by the Academic Advisor.
      • For graduate students, the letter must be written and signed by the academic advisor and also signed by the graduate faculty member identified by the Office of Graduate Studies as authorized to sign as Department Head (Department Graduate Advisor).
  • Personal Statement:  Addressed “To Whom It May Concern” stating (a) that the applicant (and primary F-1 student) is in legal status, (b) asking that the applicant’s status be changed to F-2, and (c) stating the reasons the change is desired or necessary.   
  • Transcripts:  Provide transcripts from all U.S. schools attended by both the primary F-1 as well as the F-2 applicant.  Print unofficial transcripts for Texas A&M University at https://howdy.tamu.edu
  • Marriage / Birth Certificate:  If the F-2 applicant is the spouse of the primary F-1 student, submit a copy of the Marriage Certificate (in English or translated into English).  If the F-2 applicant is the child of the primary F-1 student, submit a copy of the birth certificate or other legal document(s) verifying the relationship to the parent (in English or translated into English).   

After receiving your F-2 I-20 from ISS: Access the USCIS ELIS application system to submit Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status at http://www.uscis.gov/elis. You will pay the application fee electronically through the ELIS system as well.
If you believe that you have fallen out of F-1 immigration status please schedule an appointment to speak with an ISS advisor by calling our office at 979-845-1824.

It is the student’s responsibility to maintain legal status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) while in the United States. International Student Services (ISS) can provide information about how to maintain legal status.

Students who violate their F-1 status are not eligible for F-1 immigration benefits such as work authorization, co-enrollment permission, program extension, degree-level changes, school transfers, etc. Also, the ISS office cannot provide these students with certain services, letters or endorsements on some legal documents.

Students who lose legal F-1 status and who wish to apply to regain legal status have two choices:
Reinstatement: The student may file an application for Reinstatement with USCIS by filing a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, by mail or with the online Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) at http://www.uscis.gov/elis.
Reasons USCIS may grant Reinstatement (Note: The applicant for Reinstatement is very likely to be called by USCIS for an interview with a District Adjudications Officer at San Antonio – Fourwinds):
  • The student has not been out of status for more than five months at the time of filing the request for reinstatement.
  • The student does not have a record of repeated or willful violations of USCIS regulations.
  • The violation results from circumstances beyond the student’s control or if failure to receive a reinstatement would result in extreme hardship to the student;
  • The student is pursuing or will pursue a full course of study at the school that issued the I-20 in the next major semester of term (Fall or Spring);
  • The student has not engaged in unauthorized employment (a student who has worked illegally should not apply for Reinstatement but discuss the possibility of a “New Entry” with an ISS Advisor – *see below)
  • The student is not otherwise deportable.
  • New Entry: The student might choose to perform a New Entry by leaving and re-entering the United States.
    • This is the only option available to students that have engaged in unauthorized employment.
    • If you choose the option of a New Entry, it is necessary for you and any accompanying dependents to check-in with ISS upon your return. After you have re-entered the U.S., please bring your I-20’s, passports and I-94 cards to our office so ISS can verify in the SEVIS system that you have checked-in and resumed your studies.
    • Once you return to the United States and begin your studies again, you must be enrolled full-time for one academic year before you will become eligible for Practical Training.

Important Information about Reinstatement:
  • A student cannot be employed while out of legal status. This includes the time that the application is pending with USCIS.
  • If USCIS grants Reinstatement, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the employer (Texas A&M employees should contact their departmental payroll office) so that a new I-9 can be issued and suspended work may be resumed. A copy of the processed I-20 must be presented.
  • Students who are out of legal status should discuss the situation with an ISS Advisor before traveling outside the U.S. This requires that a new I-20 be processed at a U.S. port-of-entry, and may not be possible for all situations. It may also require the student to obtain a new visa stamp in his/her country, even if the visa stamp looks current. Your re-entry will be treated as an initial attendance. You will then have to be full-time for one academic year before becoming eligible for Practical Training.
  • Students must be registered full-time at Texas A&M while the application is pending, or the first available major semester (Fall or Spring) after it is granted by USCIS.
F-1 REINSTATEMENT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS​
Federal regulations require a student to request Reinstatement after falling out of legal immigration status. The ISS Advisor will issue a new Form I-20 for the student and the student will submit the Reinstatement application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Office. The following items are needed by ISS to complete the Reinstatement request:
  • Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the F-1 student and dependents : (i.e. student’s bank letter, employer’s letter, assistantship letter, etc.). Financial bank documents must be presented on letterhead, dated, and signed by an official. Please ask the bank official to include the account holder information, the account number, the date the account was opened, the current balance, and the average balance. An ISS Advisor can supply exact amounts of funding required by Texas A&M. No matter what other sources of support exist, if the student is funded by Texas A&M, he/she must provide a departmental letter (from the departmental payroll office) stating: job title, dollar amount of award or monthly/hourly salary, expected duration of the funding (i.e. 9 months or 12 months), and whether it makes the student (and any dependents) eligible for in-state tuition and/or health insurance benefits. For more information, please see the ISS website: http://iss.tamu.edu/Current-Students/Estimated-Cost-of-Attendance.
  • Official immigration documents: Original valid passport, visa, I-94 card, and all issued I-20’s or DS-2019/IAP-66 forms for the student and any F-2 dependents.
  • Student’s letter of explanation addressed “To Whom It May Concern” including:
    • Reason(s) for falling out-of-status (breaking one or more F-1 regulations) and a request to be put back in legal status to complete specific degree requirements (if possible, list requirements remaining);
    • All the applicable reasons the student deserves a reinstatement (see list on the other side of this handout);
    • The expected graduation date (month and year) agreed upon by the student and academic advisor;
    • A statement that the student has not worked illegally in the U.S. or a full explanation of any illegal employment (name and location of employer, dates of employment and reasons for working). (Please note, if the student engaged in unauthorized work this will require a New Entry rather than Reinstatement.);
    • If applicable, an explanation about all major semesters in a U.S. school in which student registered for and/or completed less than the minimum number of credit hours. (Copies of Full-Course Waivers and Co-enrollment forms should be included in the application);
    • A statement that the student will follow F-1 regulations if reinstated.
    • If doing a new entry, a statement that the student will check-in with ISS after re-entering the U.S.
  • Departmental letter addressed “To Whom It May Concern.” The letter must state the following: (a) when the student began the present program, (b) that the student is a full-time student in good academic standing, (c) the specific program requirements remaining, and (d) the student’s expected date of graduation (month/year). Titles and printed names should accompany all signatures.
    • For undergraduate students, this must be written and signed by the Academic Advisor.
    • For graduate students, the letter must be written and signed by the academic advisor and also signed by the graduate faculty member identified by the Office of Graduate Studies as authorized to sign as Department Head (Department Graduate Advisor).
 
Additional Items Needed for Reinstatement/New Entry:
  • Transcript(s) from all schools attended in the U.S. as an F-1, including Texas A&M. You must obtain unofficial copies from all U.S. schools at the Transcript Office in the General Services Complex (GSC) for your ELIS application or visa interview.
  • I-901 Receipt (SEVIS Fee), if applicable. If you are completing a New Entry or if you have been out of legal status for five months or more, then you must pay the SEVIS Fee at https://fmjfee.com. Do not pay the SEVIS fee until after receiving the new I-20.
  • Submit Application for Reinstatement/New Entry:
    • Reinstatement Applicants: Complete Form I-539 via ELIS at http://www.uscis.gov/elis. You will also be required to pay the application fee electronically through ELIS. This is not necessary if the student is doing a “New Entry.” 
    • New Entry Applicants: Complete the DS-160 electronic form through the Department of State at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and complete any additional requirements for a New Entry (visa interview, pay the visa application fee, travel, etc).
 F-1 Reinstatement Handout

 

International Student Services: : 110 Pavilion, Phone: 845-1824, Fax: 862-4633, Website: http://iss.tamu.edu, E-mail: iss@tamu.edu. International Student Services (ISS) is an advocate for international students at Texas A&M University (TAMU). ISS advisors are available to answer your questions, especially questions involving immigration issues, while you are a student. However, it is your responsibility to maintain your legal status.
  • Keep your documents up to date
    • I-20: Do not let your I-20 expire.  If you need an extension to the completion date on the I-20, please contact ISS.  If your I-20 expires before you graduate, you will be out of legal status.  Keep all of your I-20s for your records.
    •  Passport: Do not let your passport expire.  You should extend your passport six months prior to the expiration date at your country's Consulate in the United States or when you go back home.  You cannot work with an expired passport.
    • I-94 Card or I-797: Keep your I-94 card.  It must state "F-1" and "D/S" (Duration of Status).  Your dependents I-94 must state "F-2" and "D/S".  If you have an expiration date on your I-94 card, then you should speak to an ISS advisor immediately.
    • Visa Stamp: It is okay for your visa to expire while you are in the United States; however, you may need to renew it if you travel outside the United States.  Pay attention to the number of entries into the United States you are allowed.  It is acceptable for your visa to have another school's name on it. Please contact ISS for information concerning going to Mexico or Canada with an expired visa.
    • Update both ISS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of any physical address changes while maintaining legal immigration status (Post Office Boxes are not acceptable for reporting purposes).  Reporting changes of address in the Howdy Portal (http://howdy.tamu.edu) will fulfill this requirement, as the University will forward the updated address electronically to DHS.  Failure to do so could result in losing legal immigration status and being required to leave the United States.
    • Maintain a permanent address outside the United States to which you intend to return.
    • Do not enter the United States on a tourist (B) visa, the visa waiver program, or on a border-crossing card.  You will no longer be on a student visa and you will lose all student visa benefits such as work authorization.
  • Maintain Full-time Enrollment:
    • You must complete the following number of hours each semester.
      Student Credit Hours
      each Fall and Spring
      Credit Hours
      Summer term
      TAMU Graduates TAMU Undergraduates Full Time ELI students 9
      12
      24
      6
      8
      21
    • If you need to fall below the required hours, please contact ISS before you Q-drop the classes. You may or may not be eligible to fall below hours legally.  Please ask about a Reduce Course Load Waiver.  In order to maintain legal immigration status, a Reduce Course Load Waiver must be approved prior to dropping below hours.
    • If summer is your first semester at TAMU, first semester in a new academic program, or last semester in your academic program, you must register full-time.  Summer is considered vacation time if it is not your first or last semester and you are not required to take classes for immigration purposes.  Please consult your department concerning university rules on summer registration.
    • If you want to take classes at another school, including Texas A&M University English Language Institute, during the summer or in conjunction with your TAMU classes, then you need to complete a co-enrollment form.  Co-enrollment must be authorized by ISS.  During the Spring and Fall semesters, you should be taking at least half of your courses at TAMU.
    • Do not change your degree level (bachelors, masters, PhD. or non-degree program), begin a second degree or pursue a double major without consulting ISS first.
    • Only 3 hours of distance learning or on-line education courses may count towards the fulfillment of your full-time enrollment requirement for each semester.
  • Obtain Work Authorization: Work authorization is dependent on your legal F-1 status and your enrollment at Texas A&M University. ​Speak to ISS concerning Optional Practical Training, Curricular Practical Training, or economic hardship work authorization. 
    • On-Campus Work: As long as you are in legal F-1 status and meet TAMU requirements, you are eligible to work on campus for up to 20 hours per week during the Spring and Fall semesters.  You are eligible to work full-time on campus during vacation periods and during the summer semester.
    • Off-Campus Work: You must get proper work authorization prior to working off-campus.  You will be out of status and eligible for deportation if you work without DHS authorization.  Do not risk it.   Work is considered anything for which you are compensated, such as being given cash, food, or room/board.
  • Traveling outside the United States while you are a student:
    • An International Student Advisor should sign your I-20 before you leave the United States.  The signature is valid for up to one year or until you graduate if you graduate in less than a year.  Be sure that you enter the United States on your F -1 visa. Always make sure your I-94 card is marked "F-1" and "D/S".  If you are given a 30-day entry, come to ISS immediately.
    • Do not enter the United States on a tourist (B) visa, the visa waiver program, or on a border -crossing card.  You will no longer be on a student visa and you will lose all student visa benefits such as work authorization 
  • Dependents: You may bring your dependents (spouse and/or unmarried children under age 21) to the U.S.  Please consult ISS about the procedure. F-2s CANNOT work or receive compensation for services, such as baby- sitting.  F-2s can enroll in a college-level, degree-seeking program, but may not take a full course load (less than 12 credit hours for undergrad programs, and less than 9 for grad). They may also take courses that are avocational or recreational in nature.  F-2s must travel with the proper paperwork, such as an I-20 signed for travel.
  • SEVIS Fee: The US government requires individuals applying for an F-1 or J-1 exchange visitor visa or F-1/J-1 status to pay the SEVIS fee in order to begin a program of study or exchange visitor program, change status, change exchange visitor category, or be reinstated to legal status after a substantive violation.  For further information regarding the SEVIS fee, please visit  http://iss.tamu.edu/Prospective-Students/Applying-for-Visa/Immigration-Requirements

Individuals that would like to change their status to F-1 have the options to complete this by travel or by application in the United States. If you plan to change your status to F-1 you must schedule an appointment to speak with an ISS advisor. 

There are two ways individuals in the U.S. in nonimmigrant status can change their status to F-1. All individuals interested in doing a Change of Status to F-1 must schedule an appointment to meet with an International Student Services (ISS) advisor to determine your eligibility.
  • Change of Status by Travel
    • Submit required documents to ISS and obtain an I-20.
    • Pay SEVIS fee at https://www.fmjfee.com/.
    • Travel to a U.S. consulate to apply for F-1 visa.
    • Re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status and check-in with ISS.
  • Change of Status by Application (inside the U.S.)
    • Submit required documents to ISS and obtain an I-20.
    • Pay SEVIS fee at https://www.fmjfee.com/.
    • Apply for a Change of Status with United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) through the online ELIS system or by mailing the Form I-539 to USCIS.
    • While application is pending, applicants should remain in the U.S.
    • Applicants should not start studies until the Change of Status has been approved unless current status allows enrollment. If unsure, consult ISS.
    • Once approved, applicant needs to check in with ISS.
    • If application is denied, the time between the end of student’s legal status (for example, H-1B) and the date of denial may be counted as unlawful presence by U.S. government authorities.

Information about Change of Status to F-1
  • Once approved, student must comply with F-1 regulations, including full-time enrollment requirement upon entering the U.S. with F-1 visa, or from approval date listed on I-797 (approval notice). For information about F-1 status, refer to the Maintaining F-1 Status handout available at http://iss.tamu.edu/ISS/media/ISS-Files/ISS-PDF/Current%20Students/F-1-Immigration-Basics-9-2017.pdf
  • If you are currently in a dependent visa status (i.e. F-2 or H-4) then the term “primary visa holder” refers to the person who has applied to have you as their dependent (i.e. the person in F-1 or H-1B status).
  • If you are on a J-1 or a J-2 visa and are subject to the 2 Year Home Stay Requirement (INA 212(e) Home Residence Requirement), you cannot change your status in the U.S.; you must travel to your home country to change your visa status.
  • Both the applicant for F-1 status, as well as the primary visa holder (e.g. F-1, H-1B), must be in legal status in order to be eligible for a Change of Status to F-1.
  • Individuals who have applied for Lawful Permanent Residence should speak with an Immigration Attorney before considering a Change of Status to F-1.
  • If a Change of Status to F-1 is granted by USCIS, the applicant obtains F-1 status, but not an F-1 visa. The next time they leave the country, they must apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to re-enter the U.S.
  • Applicants currently in a status that does not permit full-time study (i.e. F-2, B-1, B-2, etc.) must wait for the Change of Status to be approved by DHS before they can enroll in classes.
Documents Required (Please note that additional documentation may be requested as needed.) Documents
required by
ISS
Documents
required by
USCIS for
Application
Documents
required at
Visa
Interview*
Photocopies of all immigration documents previously received by the Applicant for F-1 status: Immigration documents include passport, visa, I-94, Form I-797A Approval Notices (if applicable), Employment Authorization Documents, and any Certificates of Eligibility (i.e. I-20 or DS-2019). YES YES YES
If applicant for F-1 status is currently in dependent status, photocopies of all immigration documents previously received by the Principal Visa
Holder: Immigration documents include passport, visa, I-94, Form I-797A Approval Notices (if applicable), Employment Authorization Documents, and any Certificates of Eligibility (i.e. I-20 or DS-2019).
YES YES YES
Proof of financial resources: Current evidence of all sources of financial support for the applicant. For detailed information about acceptable proof of financial resources, refer to http://iss.tamu.edu/Current-Students/Estimated-Cost-of-Attendance YES YES YES
Employer Letter: If the applicant or their primary visa holder is currently in a status that is dependent upon employment in the U.S. (i.e. H-1B or F-1 OPT), ISS must also receive written proof of that employment from the employer. YES YES YES
University Letter of Acceptance for Applicant: Required for any NEW student. If a current student, must submit Academic Department Letter (see below). YES YES YES
Academic Department Letter for Principal Visa Holder: Required if applicant for F-1 status is currently enrolled as a student or if the applicant is a Dependent of an F-1 or J-1 student. The letter must be composed on department letterhead and addressed “To Whom It May Concern.” The letter must state the following: (a) when the student began the present program, (b) that the student is a full-time student in good academic standing, (c) the specific program requirements remaining, and (d) the student’s expected date of graduation
(month/year). Titles and printed names should accompany all signatures.
YES YES YES
Personal Statement by Applicant: Addressed “To Whom It May Concern” stating (a) that the Applicant for F-1 status is in legal status, (b) asking that
Applicant’s status be changed to F-1, (c) stating the reasons the change is desired or necessary, and (d) Signed and dated.
NO YES YES
Marriage / Birth Certificate: If the F-1 applicant is the spouse of the primary visa holder they must submit a copy of the Marriage Certificate (in English or
translated into English). If the F-1 applicant is the child of the primary visa holder (or they will include any F-2 children dependents with their application) submit a copy of the birth certificate or other legal document(s) verifying the relationship to the parent (in English or translated into English).
NO YES YES
Immigration Information Questionnaire (IIQ): Students starting their first semester at Texas A&M University must complete an IIQ available under the “Prospective Students” section of the ISS website. YES NO NO
Online Orientation: Students must complete the F-1 track of the Online Orientation at http://issapp.tamu.edu/checkin_orientation/orientation.asp in order to receive the I-20 from ISS. YES NO NO
Transcripts: Provide transcripts from all U.S. schools attended by both the applicant for F-1 status as well as the Primary Visa Holder. Print unofficial transcripts for Texas A&M University at https://howdy.tamu.edu NO YES YES
International Address: International addresses are required to issue an I-20. Please submit your international address with Change of Status application. YES YES YES

*NOTE: Be sure to check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where you will be applying for your F-1 visa to ensure that they do not require additional documents.

Change of Status to F-1 handout

Following are the mailing options available to receive your I-20/ Documents.
  • I will personally pick it from ISS. (You must bring proof of identification to ISS.)

  • You may authorize a friend to pick up the document(s) on your behalf.
    You may authorize a friend to pick up the document(s) on your behalf. To do so, send an e-mail to both your friend and to iss@tamu.edu from your Texas A&M e-mail account to grant them permission to pick up your document(s). Your friend should print the e-mail you send them and bring it with them to ISS in order to pick up the document(s). Remind your friend to bring some form of photo identification with them to ISS.

  • Send it by regular U.S Postal Service mail within the U.S. to the student local mailing address/ outside the U.S. to the student permanent address mentioned in the Howdy Portal
    You may ask ISS to mail the document(s) to you by regular mail (domestic or international), but keep in mind that this could take quite a while to reach you. To do so, send an e-mail request to iss@tamu.edu with the correct mailing address.

  • Send it by express mail at my expense.
    You may use the eShipGlobal service to have your document(s) express mailed to you through either DHL or FedEx at your own expense. To do so, visit https://study.eshipglobal.com (do not visit DHL or FedEx directly). You will be required to create a user name and password to set up an account. To request shipment, you will need your Texas A&M UIN, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and credit card information. If you have questions about how to use this service, review the Help section of the eShipGlobal website or e-mail support@eshipglobal.com. Once you have requested the shipment, send an email to iss@tamu.edu to notify our office that you have requested an eShipGlobal shipment.