International Programs Office
International Program Office (IPO)
University West, Room 228
3007 N Ben Wilson, Victoria, Texas 77901
361.570-4106 or 361.570-4378
The International Programs Office (IPO) is committed in providing services and programs that support the growth, development, success and retention of international students and scholars on all aspects of their life in the United States – immigration regulatory advising and processing, cultural adjustment, social enrichment, and assistance with practical matters related to living in the U.S. IPO also acts as a center for cultural and educational programming that advances cross-cultural understanding and interaction between U.S. and international students and scholars and promotes cultural competency across the University and collaborating with departments, faculty, and staff across campus in a manner that strengthens and broadens the intercultural and international dimensions at University of Houston- Victoria.
- Quick, easy admission to UHV
- Accredited university with quality programs nationally ranked by organizations such as The Princeton Review
- Excellent, talented faculty delivering high-value education
- Knowledgeable, dedicated staff to assist you from admissions to graduation and after
- Small class sizes
- Outstanding preparation for your career
- Scholarships available to all students
- Safe campus environment
- Exciting, attractive and entertaining community
- Job opportunities on campus
F-1 and J-1 International and Exchange Students
All international students who are in F-1 and J-1 visa status must follow a set of immigration regulations as outlined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to maintain the students international student status. The following rules and regulations is a guide to properly maintain international student’s status at UHV. For more information please visit International Programs Website for more information on Immigration.
Maintaining the Immigration Status
It is very important for an F-1 or J-1 student to maintain the immigration status while studying in the United States. Maintaining status means you are complying with immigration regulations pertaining to your F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status. Failure to maintain your status can lead to termination of your Form I-20 or DS-2019 record and loss of your student visa. There are several important things you must do to maintain status. Please visit our website on Immigration to learn how you can maintain your immigration status.
Maintaining Immigration Documents
- Passport: Students must have a valid passport at all times. The passport must be at least 6 months to the future. If the passport will expire soon, student must make necessary arrangements to renew the passport. In most cases the passport can be renewed from your home country embassy or consulate in the U.S. Please note: give enough time to renew your passport. Certain countries may have to send your passport to your home country for renewal.
- I-20/DS-2010: International students must be aware of the expiration date on their I-20/DS-2019. If it is not possible to complete your academic program by the I-20/DS-2019 expiration date, students must request a program extension a minimum of 2-3 weeks prior to the I-20 expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019. Students who fail to complete a Program Extension Form with International Programs Office will be considered out of status.
International Student and Exchange Students Full-Course Load Requirement
International students who hold an F-1 visa must be in compliance with the regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Enrollment in online courses during the fall and spring terms is limited to one online class within the full-course load. It is the F-1 student’s responsibility to monitor their schedule to comply with this requirement in order to maintain legal visa status while in the United States. Failure to comply with this requirement may lead to termination of the student’s F-1 visa status and possible deportation. No tuition or fees will be refunded to the student in this instance, and degree completion may be delayed or indefinitely interrupted.
Drop/Withdrawal of Classes
International Students cannot withdraw from a class that results in going below full-time without prior authorization from the International Programs Office. Please do not drop a course or to receive a W in the course to avoid an impending F in the class. Instead, ask the student to see the International Programs Office for assistance. Students who drop below 12 credits (UG) or 9 credits (Grad) do not have the option to “make up” the credits in the summer. Receiving a W at the end of the semester is the same violation as if the student dropped the course during the add/drop period
International and Exchange students on F-1 and J-1 visa status are able to drop below the fulltime course load in certain instances. Please check the International Programs Website for more information on requesting a reduced course load.
Maintaining Academic Progress
Making academic progress is very important for all students, especially international students who come to America on an F or J student visa. To maintain an F-1 or J-1 immigration status, the regulations require students to make academic progress towards a degree and towards graduation. An international student that fails to progress academically may have difficulties renewing their visa, transferring, or completing their program by the end date on their I-20 or DS-2019.
If you are an international student on academic warning, probation or suspension please visit the International Programs Office immediately.
International Students on Academic Suspension:
What it means for international students: International students are required to meet with an international student advisor to discuss what options are available for suspended international students. An academically suspended student will not be eligible to register at UHV for 1 term. If a student is suspended a 2nd time they will not be eligible to register at UHV for 1 year.
International students which are academically suspended will need to do one of the following within one week of grades coming out (winter break, spring break, or early summer break):
- Students may apply for an “Academic Appeal” with the designated school. Please contact the Academic Success Coach for additional information.
- Students may transfer to a different school. The student must first get admitted to a different school or program and show the International Programs Office the acceptance letter and financial guarantee if applicable for the new school. The SEVIS record will remain active as long as the transfer is done in a timely manner.
- Students may withdraw from UHV and exit the U.S. within 14 days. The student’s immigration record will be terminated.
- Students who take no action will have their SEVIS record terminated and will be out of immigration status. Students who remain in the U.S. will be here illegally.
Graduation is the most important event of your educational pathway in the United States. If you are a student in junior standing we recommend that you plan your graduation efforts starting your junior year. Which means you will need to look in to the following items:
- Work with your academic advisor of your course completion plan and have an idea of your final semester
- Attend the mandatory sessions for Optional Practical Training (OPT) even though you have time to apply and the session on “Graduation and Life After Graduation” session
- Gather your paperwork
- Visit the Career Services Specialist and work on your resume, CV and cover letter
- If you do not plan to apply for OPT, you have 60-days depart the United States upon graduation. If you plan to apply for OPT, remember to apply for OPT ahead of time and maintain rules and regulations as an OPT student
- If your plans are to enroll at another U.S institution or enroll at a Graduate School, please have the acceptance letter from the U.S. institution or from the Graduate School or if you are continuing your education at UHV an acceptance letter from the program indicating your start date or the program 1st week in May or 1st week in December (the semester you graduate)
- Visit the International Programs Office to discuss your future plans with one of the advisors. You can email at email@example.com.
International and Exchange Student Sash Ceremony
International students will receive a Sash of the country of their citizenship to wear to the commencement. Sash Ceremony is designed for graduating international students. UHV International Programs Office will provide a sash from the country of citizenship for graduating international students. International students will wear their sashes during commencement.
International Student and Exchange Student Employment
"Employment" is work performed in exchange for compensation. Compensation can include money, room and board, or other significant benefits. Before accepting any kind of employment, be sure it is allowed by the F-1 regulations. Note that the off-campus employment opportunities generally require you to have completed one academic year (two semesters) to be eligible to apply for work authorization. Consult International Programs Office with any questions related to F-1 status and employment. For more information on employment and the types of employment for international students please visit our website on Current International Students.
International students and exchange students have a set of grace period regulations that must be met to their visa status.
- F-1 students who complete an academic program or OPT have a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S., change to a different program, degree level, change institutions or change visa status (H1-B, PR). Immigration status for F-2 is dependent on F-1 student and they cannot remain in the U.S. under the F-2 status after the F-1 student has departed the U.S. during the grace period.
- J-1 students who complete an academic program or academic training have a 30 day grace period to depart the U.S., change to a new program, transfer or change to a different institution or change of visa status (H1-B, PR). Immigration status of J-2 is dependent upon J-1 student and they cannot remain in the U.S. under the J-2 status without the presence of the J-1 student.
- F-1 or J-1 students who have received prior authorization to withdraw from classes have 15 days to depart the U.S. after the withdrawal date. Students who withdraw from classes without prior authorization are not eligible for a grace period
F-1 and J-1 students are given a specific period of time to complete the academic program requirements. For F-2 students, this period of time is shown on #5 of your I-20 and for J-1 students, this period is shown on #3 of your DS-2019. Please note the expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019. Students who are unable to meet the academic program requirements by that date must request a program extension from International Student Services before the I-20 expiration date. If the expiration date on the I-20/DS-2019 has passed, students must meet with International Programs immediately, as the student is considered to be out of status.
- Eligibility Criteria
- The expiration of your I-20/DS-2019 has not yet passed
- Continuously maintained the F-1 or J-1 student status
- The delay in completion or program must be due to one of the following reasons:
- Compelling academic reasons (change of major, change in research topics, unexpected research problems, unexpected grades, repeat courses)
- Compelling medical reasons (documentation is require from Hendrix Health Center or U.S. licensed medical physician)
- Must have sufficient funds to cover the additional time needed to complete program requirements, check with International Programs Office for the actual dollar amount
All F-1 and J-1 international and exchange students must visit the International Programs Office for up to date information. All J-1 Exchange Visitor Scholars must visit the Exchange Visitor Scholar website for additional information.