Frequently Asked Questions
Explore answers to the most frequently asked questions from our international student community
How are F-1 international students different from other international students?
There are about 45 different non-immigrant visa types, ranging from A to V, and they each have different rules regarding studying and working in the U.S. The F-1 visa is granted specifically for study and has specific regulations and privileges. A Form I-20, issued for F-1 students, cannot be issued for programs that are a 100% online
What is SEVIS and how does it affect F-1 students at TWU?
The Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and was created by the Department of Homeland Security after September 11, 2001, to track non-immigrant students on study visas (F-1, M-1, J-1). Access to the database is limited to Designated School Officials (DSOs). It tracks the same information the university has on a student, along with details related to sources of finances, passport/visa, entry in & out of the country, children/spouse, off-campus employment (including OPT up to 3 years), program dates/extensions, transfers between schools, and more. Each F-1 student must be “registered” in SEVIS each semester, and a DSO must verify the student is in good status and enrolled in the appropriate number of face-to-face credits
What is an I-20 and Why is it important?
An I-20 is defined as U.S. Customs and Immigration Form Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status. It is required in order to request an F-1 student visa. It is issued by a university Designated School Official (DSO), who must first confirm that a student is eligible to receive it
What are the required admission documents for international students?
Applicants are encouraged to provide attested copies of any academic credentials that cannot be replaced. Notarized copies are not acceptable
- Original or university-attested copy of transcripts, mark sheets, academic credentials (and English translation)
- Original or University-attested copy of diploma, certificate of graduation, degree certificates (and English translation)
- Documents must be originals or copies which have been attested by the issuing university or an academic government agency
- Proof of general admission English proficiency (TOEFL) requirement (departmental TOEFL requirement is not considered)
- GRE/GMAT, if required by the academic department
What are the English proficiency requirement(s)?
- TOEFL Score Requirement: Internet-Based Test (IBT): 79+
- IELTS Score Requirement: 6.5 Overall Band Score
- PTE Academic: 53 and above
- Intensive English Program Certificate of Completion: UNT’s Intensive English Language Program, University of Houston LCC Intensive English Program or Texas International Education Consortium (TIEP) advanced-level program (generally J-1 scholars)
What are my options for Credit Evaluation?
The Office of Admissions Processing conducts in-house credential evaluations; external evaluations are not required. Admission is based on TWU’s standards of evaluation and that may differ from standards of outside evaluators. All required applications documents, including all academic credentials, must be complete before a credential evaluation can commence. Admissions Processing does not do on-the-spot evaluations. The timeline for this process can range from two to six weeks. For this reason, the preferred application deadline is encouraged
Can F-1 visa holders receive federal financial air or scholarships?
F-1 students are not eligible for federal financial aid but are eligible for merit-based scholarships. F-1 visa holders are required by DHS to prove they have funding available for their education before they arrive in the U.S. They are not eligible for need-based funding. Students may apply for merit-based scholarships as soon as they have been accepted to the university. Additionally, by receiving a scholarship or Graduate Assistantship position, an F-1 student may subtract those funds from the amount they must show to obtain an I-20
How much money does an F-1 student have to provide they have to obtain an I-20?
DHS requires the university to obtain proof from the student that they have liquid funds available to them (person, sponsor, government, scholarships, etc.) to finance their education so they will not be a burden in the U.S. Each year, International Student & Scholar Services calculates an estimate using information from the Bursar (tuition), Financial Aid (books, supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation), Student Health Services (insurance), and the Department of Health and Human Services (dependent cost). Explore Fall 2020-Summer 2021 estimates
How does an international student get in-state tuition?
- Employment by the university in a Graduate Assistant position (GA, GTA, GRA) that grants an in-state waiver
- Showing proof of Texas residency through the Core Residency Questionnaire
- A scholarship of at least $1000 may qualify for in-state tuition
What are enrollment requirements each semester for F-1 students?
F-1 students are required to be enrolled in full-time credits each Fall and Spring semesters. Full time is considered 9 hours/semester for graduates and 12 hours/semester for undergraduates. F-1 students may enroll part-time, full-time, or not at all in summer. There are circumstances in which a student can be considered full-time with PRIOR permission
Are there any online course restrictions for F-1 students?
F-1 visa holders may not consider more than one 100% online class (no more than three credits) per semester toward full-time enrollment requirements. However, a student may add online courses over the number counted toward the full-time enrollment requirement. If a student finds him/herself in a situation where there are not enough face-to-face courses, they may need to be concurrently enrolled in a junior college to meet the requirement listed above.
I am a new student, and I have registration holds. What holds are related to me being an international student?
- International Orientation
- Original academic credentials on file(if applicable)
- Tuberculosis Test
- Meningitis vaccination if under 22
Does my passport have to valid at all times?
Passports must be valid at all times and can be renewed at a U.S. consulate
Once I arrive in the U.S., can I still study if my visa expires?
Visas are used to enter the country and can expire while the student remains in the country. If a student leaves the country with an expired visa, they must apply for a new visa in order to return. Visas are not renewable in the U.S. Explore U.S. Embassy/Consulate Locations
How do I contact an international student advisor?
Please contact International Student and Scholar Services via phone at (940) 898-3338 or by email to reach an advisor
Where is International Student and Scholar Services located?
International Student and Scholar Services is part of the International Affairs office, located in Old Main, Rm 112
What happens when an international student completes their degree?
When an F-1 student completes their program they have a 60-day “grace” period to take one of the actions listed below. Work, both off-campus and on-campus, are not permitted during this 60 day grace period
- Apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- Leave the country
- Apply for a change of status to another visa type
- Obtain acceptance into another degree program and obtain a new I-20, either at TWU or at another university
- If pursuing another degree outside of TWU, a student's SEVIS record must be transferred within 60 days
- The new program must begin within 5 months after the end of the 60 day grace period.