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Application, Admissions, & Arrival

There are many academic programs to choose from at TWU. However, programs that are only, or mostly, offered online and would jeopardize F-1 Visa holder status are not eligible academic programs for admission. The TWU Admissions Office provides information on eligible academic programs for F-1 Visa holders.

Students must follow the application guidelines for TWU through the Admissions web-site. International transcripts must be evaluated and reported by a National Association of Credential Services (NACES) agency. English proficiency requirements must be met based on scores set by TWU International Admissions office. 

Admission to TWU is one part of the acceptance process for international students studying on an F-1 Visa. F-1 Visa holders applying to graduate programs must also be admitted by their academic department through the TWU Graduate School. For programs that require secondary admission (meaning that the student has been accepted to TWU but must submit a secondary application to a specific degree program), students must be granted secondary admission by the academic department prior to contacting the ISSS office regarding Visa status or I-20 documentation. 

Once fully admitted to TWU, the student will be notified by the ISSS office with instructions on how to submit specific documentation through the International Portal to meet international admissions requirements as either an Initial Student or a Transfer Student.

  • An Initial Student is an F-1 Visa holder who is either attending a U.S. institution for the first time, or who is returning to the U.S. to study under a new F-1 Visa with an updated SEVIS ID.  

  • A Transfer student is an F-1 Visa holder who has been enrolled in a different U.S. institution and has requested a transfer of their SEVIS record to TWU to begin a new program

The spouse or unmarried minor children (under age 21) accompanying the F-1 Visa holder to the United States may qualify for F-2 dependent status. In order to add an F-2 dependent, the F-1 Visa holder must submit all required documents for the F-2 dependents (to include a copy of unexpired passport and certification of finances) along with the F-1 Visa holder’s own required immigration documents, when requesting their Initial or Transfer I-20 in the International Portal. 

F-1 Visa holders continuing their enrollment through TWU may submit a request to add F-2 dependents to the F-1 I-20 at any time by providing an updated Certification of Finances and copy of dependent passports to the (P)DSO. F-1 Visa holders on Optional Practical Training (OPT) are not required to submit an updated Certification of Finances. 

F-2 dependents must maintain their F-2 status in the following ways: 

  • May not engage in work and are not eligible for Social Security Numbers

  • May depart and re-enter the US with proper documentation

  • May engage in study at a SEVP certified school part-time at the post-secondary level. However, full-time enrollment is not allowed. The F-2 dependent is required to apply for a change of status (Form I-539) from F-2 to F-1 to enroll in full-time study at a SEVP certified school at the post-secondary level. 

Additional information on USCIS F-2 policy can be found here.

International students studying on an F-1 Visa are typically not admitted to TWU for a summer semester start unless mandated by their academic program. Constraints to summer admissions are based on potential limits to course availability required for F-1 Visa eligibility. SEVIS Enrollment Reporting Requirements state that an international F-1 student must be enrolled in a full-course of study at the institution in order for the enrollment to be reported and an Initial I-20 issued (8CFR214.2(f))

For those academic programs mandating a summer admission start date, students must maintain full-time enrollment. For undergraduate students, full-time enrollment is 12 hours, in which at least 9 hours must be in-person or hybrid. Full-time enrollment during the summer for graduate students is 9 hours, in which at least 6 hours must be in-person or hybrid. 

Individual exceptions to F-1 regulations will not be made for international students if courses are not offered in the proper modality. F-1 Visa holding students must understand that limits to summer course offerings may result in the F-1 student's SEVIS record being terminated.

An F-1 Visa may be issued up to 365 days prior to a student's program start date. However, an F-1 Visa holder may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date printed on the Initial I-20, and no later than the first class day. The TWU ISSS office requires that F-1 Visa holding students arrive at least 12 days prior to the first class day, in order to attend mandatory International Student Orientation on the date provided in ISSS Arrival Information materials, and to complete the Tuberculosis screening requirement with the TWU Student Health Services office. 

F-1 Visa holders planning to travel outside of the U.S. at any time during their academic program dates may do so with authorization of a Travel Endorsement on the I-20. In order for the DSO to approve this request, the student must be in good F-1 Visa standing, have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the travel return date, and a valid F-1 Visa. If the F-1 Visa expiration date is prior to the student’s anticipated return date the student must schedule a Visa renewal appointment with a U.S. embassy and renew the Visa before returning to the U.S. Individuals with an expired F-1 Visa will be denied re-entry into the U.S. by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. 

All F-1 Visa holders, traveling outside of the U.S., are advised to carry with them the Travel Endorsed I-20, a valid passport, and an unexpired visa. The Travel Endorsement is valid for one calendar year for currently enrolled students, and for 6 months for students on OPT.

Students with a submitted application to USCIS for a change to their SEVIS record are discouraged from traveling while their application is pending.