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Information for F-1 Students


F-1 Student Requirements 

Federal Immigration regulations in the United States are taken very seriously, and it is critical that international students in F-1 visa classification maintain their legal status in the United States. Students must be aware of and comply fully with the requirements set forth by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

Fulltime Enrollment

F-1 students must enroll in a full course of study during normal enrollment periods which are fall and spring semesters at Ohio University. However, there is one exception; any F-1 student that begins their program of study or ends their program of study in the summer semester must be enrolled full-time for the summer.

  • A full course of study for an undergraduate or OPIE student is 12 credits
  • A full course of study for a graduate student is 9 credits.


When choosing courses to enroll in it is important to consider if the course will be taught online or in person. No more than one online course that is 3 credits or less may count towards full-time enrollment. For example, if an F-1 undergraduate student enrolls in a 3 credit on-line course, the student must enroll in 9 more credit hours that are all in person. If a student wants to enroll in more than one online course, only one of the courses will count towards the student’s full-time enrollment for that semester.



Reduced Enrollment

Federal Regulations limit the circumstances in which students may register less than full-time.  

Academic Difficulties

One time during the degree program, students may request to enroll less than full-time due to academic difficulties.  Those difficulties must fall within one of the following areas:

  • Unfamiliarity with US teaching methods (Limited to first semester only)
  • Initial difficulties with the English language (Limited to first semester only)
  • Initial difficulties with reading requirements (Limited to first semester only)
  • Improper course level placement

The student must submit a Reduced Courseload Request form to ISFS and be supported by the academic department.  ISFS written approval must be obtained  before  dropping the courses, and the student must remain enrolled in half of the full-time credits.  Once this option is used, it may not be requested for future semesters.

Final Semester

During a student's final semester of an academic program, the student is only required to register for the credits necessary to finish the degree.  The student must submit the  Reduced Courseload Request form  to ISFS, and the academic department must provide confirmation.  The request should be submitted before the start of the semester.

Medical Recommendation

If a student develops a medical condition that requires reduced enrollment (or no enrollment), the regulations allow it under the following conditions:

  • The student must have a written recommendation from a licensed US doctor or a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  The recommendation must be provided on the Medical Recommendation form.
  • The recommendation can only cover one semester at a time.
  • The cumulative limit on authorization is 12 months per degree program.
  • The documentation is submitted to ISFS before the courses are dropped.

Students who believe they may need this option should talk with an ISFS advisor as early as possible.  The request may be submitted in iCats.

Program Extensions

Eligibility Requirements for Program Extension: You may apply for an extension of your study program if: 

1. You have not yet exceeded the time limitation placed upon your study by the expected program end date on your I-20 –and— 
2. You have continuously maintained lawful F-1 status –and—
3. The delay in completing program requirements has been caused by compelling academic reasons (such as changes of major field or research topics, or unexpected research problems), or compelling and documented medical reasons.
Delays in completing program requirements which are caused by academic probation or suspension (such as retaking courses) are not acceptable reasons for extension of a program of study. If your completion of studies date has expired or if you do not meet the eligibility requirements to apply for program extension, you may need to apply for “reinstatement: to lawful F-1 status.” In this case, immediate consultation with an International Student Advisor is necessary.


You can request a program extension by submitting a completed Program Extension request form.  New financial documentation will be required.  Students being sponsored by family or friends will need to submit a Financial Sponsor Form from each sponsor.  

Current Address and Phone Number

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all international students in F-1 status to maintain their current US and foreign addresses, and a valid phone number, at all times in the SEVIS database.

As an international student in F-1 status you are required to have a current US local address (SEVIS US address) as well as a permanent foreign address (SEVIS Foreign address) on file with Ohio University at all times. Failure to update either of these addresses within 10 days of moving is a violation of your immigration status.  Similarly you are required to designate a "preferred" phone number, which will also be reported to SEVIS.

For instructions on how to update your address or phone number in your MyOhio Student Center, please use the following links:

The Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) will update your address electronically in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), the US federal web-based database used by immigration officials to record and track international student data.

Travel Outside of the US

If you are traveling outside the U.S. you will not be allowed back into the U.S. without a valid visa, a valid passport, and an I-20 with a travel endorsement on page 2 that is less than a year old. Students must complete a Travel Signature Request eform in iCats at least 2 weeks prior to their anticipated travel date.

Students in valid status may travel to Canada, Mexico and many of the caribbean islands without a valid US visa if they qualify for a benefit called Automatic Visa Revalidation.  Students must have a valid passport, a valid I-94 and a valid signed I-20. To learn if you will be eligible for this benefit, read this memo from US Customs and Border Protection.  If you have further questions, contact your ISFS advisor.

If your travels will take you to or through a third country, be sure to find out if you will need a visitor or transit visa for that country.  ISFS is not able to provide information about foreign visas.  However, most details can be found by searching for that country's embassy online.

Transferring your SEVIS record


A transfer is a change in U.S. education institution, and this change can occur at various times throughout your F - 1 program - while in the middle of your degree program, after completing your degree program or after engaging in Optional Practical Training (OPT). When you request a transfer of your SEVIS record, ISFS will work with the international student office at the new school to transfer your record to them. We must work with that office closely in order to transfer an F-1 student record.

When should I request a transfer?

A transfer can be requested any time prior to the end date on your current I-20, and up to 60 days after. You can request the transfer by completing the SEVIS Transfer Out Request in iCats.  You'll need to upload a copy of the admission letter from the new school. Once ISFS has received all the necessary documents, please allow 2 weeks for processing of your request. 

How will I know that my SEVIS record has been transferred?

Once your request has been processed, ISFS will send an email to your OHIO email account confirming that your SEVIS record has been transferred or to confirm that it is scheduled to be transferred (if your requested release date is in the future). If you decide that you do not want to transfer to the school noted on the request form, ISFS can cancel the transfer if you notify us about your decision before the SEVIS release date you selected. If you change your mind after the SEVIS release date, you will need to work with the new educational institution to correct your SEVIS record.

How does a transfer affect authorized employment?

On the day your record is released, any employment benefits obtained while at Ohio University end. This means that your OHIO authorized employment must end the day before the release. You are eligible to begin employment at the new school on the day of transfer. However, each University's policies vary so check with the new institution for more information.

What else should I do after I decide to transfer from OHIO?

Work with your academic department, Residential Housing, Registrar, Bursar, Campus Care and the Library to make sure all academic, housing and financial pieces of your record are resolved.

F-1 Employment Options

On-Campus Employment

F-1 students are authorized to work on-campus while attending classes. The work does not need to be related to your field of study. You must maintain legal F-1 status while engaging in on-campus employment.

Although there are some limited exceptions, on-campus means typically means work performed with Ohio University as the employer (Alden Library, academic and administrative departments, laboratories, dining halls, and Ohio University recreation facilities) and paid by Ohio University. Please schedule an appointment to meet with an ISFS advisor prior to accepting or performing any employment that does not meet these basic guidelines, or if you are unsure.


  • You must be maintaining valid F-1 status and enrolled in a full course of study during the academic year.
  • You may work up to 20-hours per week on-campus during the semester.
  • You may work full-time (28 hours) on-campus during vacation periods and official school breaks (winter break, summer break).

NOTE:Once you have completed all requirements for your academic program, you are no longer eligible for on-campus employment.

Finding and Applying for On-Campus Jobs

Click here to look  for positions posted as hourly student employment. Alternatively you can call, email, or stop in to the departments you are interested in working for and ask if they are currently seeking student employees. F-1 students are not eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS) positions.

F-1 undergraduate students are eligible for Program to Aid Career Exploration (PACE) positions. Click here for more information about PACE.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)



Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by US immigration regulations as “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the schools.”  [8CFR 214.2(f)(10)(i)].

If you are considering an unpaid internship, please read the section below on Unpaid Employment.


In order for a student to be eligible for CPT, and to receive permission to engage in CPT from the Office of International Student & Faculty Services (ISFS), the following conditions must be met:

  • The student must have been enrolled full-time for at least one academic year, and must be maintaining F-1 status. A graduate student whose degree program requires immediate participation in practical training may waive the one year of enrollment requirement.
  • The student must complete the CPT prior to completing all the requirements for their program of study. ISFS requires verification from the student’s college or department chair that he/she has not completed all requirements for the degree program.
  • The CPT must be an integral part of an established curriculum based on one of the following criteria:

Option 1 :  The work is required of all students in the program of study

  • The requirement must be stated in the degree catalog

Option 2 :  The work is required for a particular course

  • The work must be related to the major field of study listed on the I-20 form
  • The course credits must count towards the degree

Option 3—Graduate Students Only :  The work is necessary for the successful completion of a graduate thesis or dissertation

  • The student’s department will need to provide an explanation of how the experience will contribute directly and substantially to the thesis or dissertation
  • The student must register in at least one research credit while on CPT
  • CPT will not be granted during the semester the student plans to defend the thesis or dissertation


Important Details

  • CPT is granted for a specific job, for specific dates.  Students can never begin working until they have received the CPT I-20 form and the start date has arrived.
  • CPT can only be granted for one semester at a time.  If there is an academic need for additional time, a new request must be made. 
  • CPT dates should fall within the semester the student is enrolled in the corresponding internship/research course.
  • Students must continue to meet the full-time enrollment requirements while on CPT.
  • CPT cannot be transferred to another employer or job.  Any changes require a new application.
  • CPT is granted as part-time (20 hours or less per week) or full-time (more than 20 hours per week).
  • A student who uses 12 months or more of full-time CPT will not be eligible to engage in Optional Practical Training (OPT). Anything less than 12 months, or any part-time CPT, has no impact on OPT eligibility.


How To Apply


Please read all information thoroughly.  If you have questions, contact an advisor in ISFS.


1. Read all packet materials thoroughly and complete the CPT eligibility worksheet.


2. Meet with your ISFS International Student Advisor and review your CPT eligibility worksheet. Obtain a Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form.


3. Meet with the appropriate official in your department to discuss your internship, and ask them to complete the Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form.  (This must be completed by your Department Chair or College Student Services Representative.)


4. Obtain additional supporting documentation, if required (see recommendation form).


5. Secure a letter from your prospective employer indicating the job title, start and end date of employment, number of hours per week, place of employment, and a brief description of work The letter must be on company letterhead A scanned copy of the letter is acceptable.


6. Register for the internship course indicated on the Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training form for the academic term in which you are pursuing CPT.


7. Collect the following documents and turn them into the front desk of ISFS:

a)Completed Recommendation for Curricular Practical Training  (this will be provided at your meeting with your ISFS advisor)

b)Employer letter

c)Any additional supporting documentation (if required)




Optional Practical Training (OPT)



Optional Practical Training (OPT) is one year of employment authorization that is intended to allow students a chance to gain practical experience in their field of study.  All work done under OPT must be related to the student’s degree studies. When OPT is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the student will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which authorizes employment for a specific time period. OPT may be used during the degree program or after graduation.

Pre-completion OPT
  • Can be granted for part-time (20 hours or less per week) employment during the semesters
  • Can be granted for part-time or full-time (more than 20 hours per week) during the summer
  • Each segment requires a separate application with a full application fee
  • Students are eligible to apply after completing one year of full-time study
  • OPT must end before program end date on I-20 form
  • Students must continue to enroll full-time during semesters


Post-completion OPT
  • Only full-time (more than 20 hours per week) authorization is allowed
  • Can be requested to begin anytime between the day after graduation to 60 days after
  • Graduate students who have finished all required coursework and have only research credits remaining may choose to begin OPT before graduation
  • Any pre-completion OPT that was granted will be subtracted from the year of OPT that is available after graduation (Part-time OPT will be subtracted at half the normal rate)
  • Student may not have more than 90 days of unemployment over the full year of OPT


Additional Eligibility Requirements
  • Student must be in valid F-1 immigration status at the time of application
  • Student must be present in the US at the time of application
  • Employment must be directly related to student’s major area of study
  • Student must not have already been granted OPT at the same, or a higher, degree level
  • Student must not have used a full year of full-time CPT in current degree program


Allowable Types of Employment


All OPT employment must be in a job that is related to the student’s degree program and commensurate with the degree level.  Employment may include:

  • Multiple employers : Students may work for more than one employer, but all employment must be related to the student’s degree program.
  • Short-term multiple employers (performing artists) : Students, such as musicians and other performing artists may work for multiple short term employers. The student should maintain a list of all employers, dates of employment, and hours worked. If requested by DHS, students must be prepared to provide evidence showing a list of all employment.
  • Work for hire : This is also commonly referred to as 1099 employment, where an individual performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship. If requested by DHS, students must be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.
  • Self-employed business owner : Students on OPT may start a business and be self-employed.  The student must be able to prove that he or she has the proper business licenses and is actively engaged in a business related to the student’s degree program.
  • Employment through an agency : Students on post-completion OPT must be able to provide evidence showing they worked an average of over 20 hours per week while employed by the agency.
  • Unpaid employment : Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns when this does not violate any labor laws.  See the Unpaid Employment section below for important details.


OPT Application Process

1.  You must attend an OPT Informational Session with an ISFS advisor in the semester in which you intend to apply for OPT. You can sign up for the session of your choice in iCats.  You'll find the OPT sessions listed under "Session Sign-ups".

2.  Once you have attended a workshop, you will need to submit the OPT Academic Advisor Form to your international student advisor in ISFS.  Your advisor will recommend OPT in your SEVIS record and print a new I-20 for you.

3.  Once you have received your new I-20 from ISFS, gather the remaining documents on the Application Checklist.  It is recommended that ISFS review your complete application before you submit it. 

Responsibilities on OPT

You must notify ISFS of any changes to certain information within  10 days of the change .  ISFS will update your information in the SEVIS system. Below is the data you must keep updated:

  • Your name and physical address
  • Your employer's name, address and employments status; and
  • Any other relevant information about your stay in the United States (change of status, transfer to a new degree program, requesting OPT STEM Extension, for example).

To report a change in address, you will need to visit your my.ohio.edu student center.  Be sure you update the "SEVIS US" address type.

To report a change in employment, please complete the OPT Employment Update eform in iCats.  


Employment Requirements

  • You are expected to be employed in your field of study during OPT, and you are required to submit employer information to ISFS. ISFS will transmit this required information to SEVIS.
  • You must have the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in your possession, and the start date on the EAD must be reached, before you may engage in employment.
  • After your I-20 end-date and before you receive your EAD Card, you may not be employed.
  • You must stop your employment when the end date on the EAD card is reached. 
  • The EAD is not employer specific, so you may change employers.
  • It is recommended that you keep documentation (job offer letters, pay slips, or W-2 tax forms) from all of your employers.

Travel Outside of the U.S. and Reentry

In order to be eligible to reenter the United States following travel and while authorized for OPT, you must carry:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid U.S. F-1 visa (Except for Canadian citizens)
  • A valid EAD card
  • A valid form I-20 with international student advisor signature on page 3 ( signatures are valid for 6 months )
    • If you need a new travel signature, please request it via iCats.
  • Evidence of your current employment in the form of a letter from your employer

Port of Entry officials sometimes get confused about whether entry is allowed with a pending OPT application.  If you travel and return to the US while your application is pending, we recommend that you refer the official to this Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) webpage if you encounter any complications.  

Options after Post-Completion OPT

You receive a 60 day grace period at the end of OPT in which you can do the following:

  • Depart the United States. Please complete a  Departure Notification  if you decide to depart the US. If you leave the United States you will be considered to forfeit any remaining OPT authorization time.
  • Transfer your SEVIS record to another school.
  • Start a new degree at Ohio University. To learn more about this option,  click here
  • Change status to another legal status, if you are eligible. Notify ISFS if you have been approved for a new U.S. visa status so that your SEVIS record can be deactivated, if necessary. Please provide a copy of the USCIS Change of Status Approval notice to ISFS.

Additional information about OPT may be found on our Frequently Asked Questions document.


24 Month OPT STEM Extension


Certain F-1 students who are currently authorized for post-completion OPT may qualify to apply for a 24-month extension of that OPT authorization, bringing the total OPT available to 36 months. Students should read the information below thoroughly to determine eligibility and contact ISFS before beginning the STEM application process.


To be eligible for the 24-month extension, a student must have received, or be completing, a degree included in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) Designated Degree Program List. The current list of STEM degrees can be found at  http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm. Your CIP code must be on this list in order to be eligible for the extension. You can find your CIP code next to your major on your I-20.  If you are unsure if your degree qualifies, please contact ISFS for assistance.  (Please note that CIP codes are used for many purposes, and are tied to Department of Education filings.  They cannot be artificially changed to meet STEM OPT eligibility.)

The STEM extension may be requested on the basis of the most recent degree earned from Ohio University, or on a prior STEM degree if the following requirements are met:

  • The STEM degree must have been issued within the 10 years preceding the request for the extension
  • The STEM degree must have been issued by an educational institution located in the US, and with US accreditation
  • The job the extension is based on must be related to that STEM degree

Additional eligibility requirements for all applicants:

  • The student must have maintained valid F-1 status
  • The student must be currently on post-completion OPT
  • The employment must be full-time  (For immigration purposes, full-time is defined as more than 20 hours per week)
  • The student must be offered a job by an employer currently using the E-Verify program (See details below)
  • The student must not be self-employed
  • The student must be paid by the employer  (Volunteer work cannot fulfill the STEM OPT work requirements)
  • The student must not have been granted more than one STEM extension in the past  (The STEM extension is only available twice per lifetime, regardless of the number of STEM degrees earned)
  • The STEM application must be received by the USCIS prior to the end of the initial period of post-completion OPT
  • The student and employer must complete form I-983 and agree to adhere to it  (See details below)
The E-Verify Program

The E-Verify program is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system available to employers and in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Please contact your employer to learn if they are registered with E-Verify and to obtain their E-Verify number.

Application Process for the 24-Month STEM Extension

Step 1:  Read all of the information on this page to determine if you qualify for the STEM extension.

Step 2:  Complete the following documents and email them to isfs@ohio.edu

  • Completed form I-983 (see information below)
  • Completed new I-765 (see tips below)

Step 3:  ISFS will send your new I-20 form to the address listed in your MyOhio Student Center via regular U.S. mail. If you wish to have your I-20 sent by express mail you will need to create a waybill using the FedEx website and send the shipping label to your advisor via email.

Step 4:  Follow the instructions on the STEM Extension Application Instructions to complete your application and mail it to the USCIS.  (The instructions will include the USCIS filing address for the application.)

Tips for completing the I-765
  • For any question that isn’t relevant, enter “N/A”.
  • In Part 1, select "Renewal of my permission to accept employment".
  • In Part 2, item 27 should be answered "(c)(3)(C)."
  • Your employer will need to provide you with the E-Verify information for item 28.c.  Please be sure that the number provided is the employer's E-Verify Company ID, and NOT the employer's Taxpayer ID.
  • In Part 6, item 3 should list your previous OPT approval(s)
  • Be sure to sign and date the form in ink.  The signature is valid for only 30 days.
  • If there are any pages that do not pertain to you, draw a diagonal line and write “N/A” in big letters.  You must include these pages when you submit the form.
Information about form I-983

Form I-983 is a form that will be used to define the formal training plan for the remainder of the OPT experience.   You may access the form and find detailed instructions here.  Section 1 requires some information about Ohio University.  Here is the information you will need:

  • Name of school recommending STEM OPT: Ohio University
  • Name of school where STEM degree was earned:  Ohio University
  • SEVIS School Code of school recommending STEM OPT:  CLE214F10415000
  • DSO School Official name and contact information:  Jennifer Nisevich, nisevich@ohio.edu

Because form I-983 is an agreement between the employer and employee, ISFS cannot provide guidance on the content.  Employers with questions should start by reviewing the information on the Study in the States website.  If questions remain, they should contact the company’s HR department or immigration legal staff, or the Department of Homeland Security.

It is imperative that every section on pages 1-4 of this form be completed.  ISFS is required by law to review the form for completion upon receipt.  If any part of pages 1-4 of the form is not complete, we are not allowed to process your request for the STEM OPT extension.


Once ISFS creates your new I-20 form for the STEM extension, it is only valid for 60 days.  If you find that you must delay the application more than 60 days after the I-20 was signed by an advisor, it is very important that you contact ISFA for assistance.  USCIS will reject an application if the OPT request is more than 60 days old on the date it is received.  Your signature on the I-765 form is valid for only 30 days.  If you find that your signature is too old, you can complete a new I-765 form to replace the expired form.

USCIS must receive your extension application no sooner than 90 days before your current OPT end date, but no later than that end date.  While USCIS must receive your application before your OPT ends, it is not necessary for your extension application to be approved before the expiration of your current EAD card.  If your EAD card expires while your application is pending, your OPT authorization is automatically extended to allow time for processing.  You may continue to work while the application is being processed for up to five months.  It is not necessary to obtain documentation from ISFS for this timeframe.

Student Responsibilities During the STEM Extension
  • Continue to report U.S. address to ISFS within 10 days of the change by changing your address in your MyOhio Student Center.
  • Report the name, address, and phone number of your U.S. employer, any changes in name and address of the employer, and any interruptions in the employment to ISFS within 10 days.  Your address must be updated in your my.ohio.edu student center.  (Be sure to update the "SEVIS US" address.)  Report employment changes by completing the OPT Employment Update eform in iCats.  Remember that all employment must be with an E-Verify company!
  • Every six months you must report to ISFS by responding to emails from ISFS regarding your STEM OPT verification, even if no details of your employment or address have changed.  This is required by the OPT regulations.   Failure to complete this step may result in the termination of your F-1 status and OPT.
  • If you change employers, or if there are substantial changes to the I-983 training plan that was submitted earlier, you must submit an updated I-983 to isfs@ohio.edu within 10 days of the change.   Failure to complete this step may result in the termination of your F-1 status and OPT.
  • You must complete an official self-evaluation before the 12 and 24 month marks of the STEM extension and submit these to ISFS via isfs@ohio.edu.  These should be completed on page 5 of the I-983 form that is on file with your employer.   Failure to complete this step may result in the termination of your F-1 status and OPT.
  • Accrue no more than an aggregate total of 150 days of unemployment during the combined 36 months of OPT.
  • Notify ISFS immediately if your immigration status changes via iCats.
  • Notify ISFS if you permanently depart the U.S. before your OPT ends.
  • Notify ISFS if you plan to begin a new full-time academic program before the end of your OPT.  The transfer of your SEVIS record to the new school or the beginning of a new full-time program at Ohio University will end your OPT authorization.


Unpaid Employment

Volunteer Work

Volunteer work with local charitable organizations does not require work authorization.  The work must not be compensated in any way.  Examples of this type of volunteer work include serving in a soup kitchen, helping take care of animals at a shelter, or providing free tutoring to school children.  You can find information about local volunteer opportunities at the Campus Involvement Center.  

Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internships are different than volunteer work, and are more complex.  Internships, both paid and unpaid, are primarily offered by the private sector and are related to the intern’s major field of study. The U.S. Department of Labor has guidelines for those seeking an unpaid internship: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

The following six criteria must be met for an internship to be considered a legitimate unpaid internship (and not employment below minimum wage, in violation of Department of Labor laws):

  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation on the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  • The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  • The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  • The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship


Working Without Compensation

It is never legal for an F-1 student to offer to perform work for free, if that work would normally be paid.  This includes work performed on campus, in labs, or for research.  Performing work that should be paid, without receiving salary, is a violation of both immigration and Department of Labor requirements.

Change Of Level Process

You must obtain a new Form I-20 before starting your new academic program when moving from one degree level to another (from Second Language Training to Bachelor’s, Bachelor’s to Master’s level, from Master’s to Doctoral, etc.).

You may request your new I-20 form in iCats!  You will need to provide new financial documents, as well as evidence that you have been admitted to the new program.  Please see the "Request I-20 for new academic program" eform for details.  You will find it under "F-1 Student Services".

Adding Dependents (F-2)

Bringing Family Members to the U.S.

Certain family Members are eligible for dependent (F-2) status. They are:

  • A spouse who can provide a marriage license
  • Children who are under 21 years old and not married

If you wish to have your family members accompany you in dependent status (F-2) in the U.S., you must show adequate funds to cover your own expenses as well as those of your dependent(s).

NOTE: The required fund amounts provided in the link are estimated based on minimum living costs, not reflecting individuals' spending habits or emergency expenses.

Required Documents for Your Request

Please submit the Add a New Dependent eform in iCats.  You will need to upload the following electronic files:

  • A copy of your current official financial documents (e.g. bank statements and/or department funding letters). Funds need to meet the minimum requirements shown on the Addition of Dependent Form.
    • Bank statements must:
      • Be no more than 6 months old.
      • Be in English
      • Be on a financial institution's letterhead (or must show formal identification of the financial institution, e.g. a print-out of online account management page).
      • Have immediately available liquid funds (stocks, investments, 401(k)/retirement plans, real estate holdings, income verifications, etc. are NOT acceptable).
  • Copy of each dependent's passport

Health Insurance

F-1 students enrolled for one (1) or more Athens campus credit hours are automatically enrolled and billed for the University’s Student Health Insurance plan. Ohio University assesses the health insurance premium each semester.


Coverage Period








If Spring 2020 is your first semester in attendance, the following applies:


Coverage Period






International Dependents

Dependents of international students in F status residing with the student must also be enrolled in the health insurance offered by Ohio University. Students must complete enrollment applications for their dependents. Students are responsible for assuring that their dependents are enrolled each semester. These forms can be found online through the United Healthcare Student Resources website, or by contacting the Ohio University Student Insurance Administrator at studentinsurance@ohio.edu. Premium rates for spouse and dependent coverage will be charged to the student's account through the Office of the Bursar.

Regional Campus Students

Students can call UHCSR Customer Service at 1-800-767-0700 or email customerservice@uhcsr.com with questions regarding benefits. Students attempting to enroll can  go to the website and enter Ohio University under the "Find My School's Plan" section. This will display information on the main campus and regional campuses. There are instructions that state students attending the regional campus should enroll in plan option 76.



Waivers from the university coverage will only be considered for the following circumstances:

  • Students (and dependents) who receive insurance from their home government as part of a documented sponsorship.  The sponsorship letter must state that health insurance is provided.
  • Students participating in an established exchange program between their home institution and Ohio University, who submit proof of the insurance coverage that is specified in that exchange agreement.
  • Dependents of Ohio University employees who are insured through the employee's policy.

Waivers will not be provided under any other circumstances.  If you meet one of the criteria above, you must submit a waiver request   every year


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I obtain my insurance ID card?

United Healthcare Student Resources is a paperless company and is no longer mailing ID cards to students. Students MUST create an account online with United Healthcare  by clicking here to manage their benefits and obtain their ID card. Students must use their Ohio.edu email address when creating their online account with United Healthcare Student Resources.

Students may also obtain a copy of their insurance ID card from the Student Health Insurance Administrator located in Campus Care on the second floor in the Business Office.

How do I re-enroll in the University Health Insurance plan if I have already submitted a waiver?

Students can choose to re-enroll in the University Health Insurance plan during open enrollment periods at the beginning of each semester. The re-enrollment application must be submitted to the Student Health Insurance Administrator. Please view this document: Student Health Insurance Re-enrollment, for complete details and instructions.

Where do I go if I need verification of enrollment for my private insurance?

Verification of enrollment can be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.

Who do I contact if I want to obtain details about my policy?

For details regarding the student health insurance policy, students and parents may contact United Healthcare Student Resources Customer Service at 1-800-767-0700, or by contacting the Student Health Insurance Administrator at 740-593-1931, or by email at studentinsurance@ohio.edu.





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