April 21, 2021 Message from ISSSO regarding Immigration Documents and Fall 2021 - University of Houston
Skip to main content

April 21, 2021 Message from ISSSO regarding Immigration Documents and Fall 2021

Dear Student,

Greetings from ISSSO!

As we approach the end of the spring 2021 semester, we would like to remind you to check your immigration documents, to meet certain deadlines and if you are planning international travel, to prepare early.

This email will also provide you with current information regarding fall 2021 enrollment and connect you with additional resources.

Please carefully review the following important information:

Fall 2021 Enrollment
Although SEVP has not issued a specific guidance regarding the fall 2021 semester, UH F-1 students are expected to be on-campus to take the full course load with no more than one class (3 credit hours) online or through distance education (including synchronous, asynchronous or HyFlex) as part of their minimum course load requirements. F-1 students must maintain the F-1 status in order to be eligible for on-campus employment. UH sponsored J-1 students are expected to take the full course load with face-to-face classes.

I-20 or DS-2019 Program Extensions
Please check your I-20 (F-1 visa holder) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa holder) program ending date. If you need additional time to complete your degree requirements, you must apply and receive the program extension prior to your current I-20/DS-2019 expiration date. Please download and submit the application form to isssohlp@central.uh.edu.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) Reminder
For F-1 students who are going to graduate this spring semester and plan to participate in Post-Completion OPT, visit our website to schedule and join an OPT workshop to receive assistance on your application if you have not done so yet. We offer these workshops virtually, and the counselor will provide you the link to register as the time for your session approaches. You must be physically in the U.S. to be eligible to apply for Post-Completion OPT.

Academic Training for J-1 Visa Holders
If you are going to graduate this spring semester and plan to participate in Academic Training, you must complete the application and receive the authorization from ISSSO prior to the completion of your degree. Please visit the ISSSO website for the application form and procedure: https://uh.edu/oisss/resources/forms/academic-training-recommendation-application-for-j-1-students.pdf.

Report any Changes of Major or Program Level (F-1 or J-1 Visa Students)
Please email our office immediately if you are changing your major or level of studies. If you are changing your degree level from a undergraduate program to a graduate program, please contact the Graduate School to request an updated I-20 and email a copy of the new I-20 to ISSSO. You must request and receive the new degree level I-20 within the 60-day grace period or prior to start of the next semester, whichever is sooner.

Planning International Travel
Please check your I-20/DS-2019 travel endorsement. I-20 travel endorsement on page 2 of the I-20 is valid for 12 months upon re-entry to the U.S. If you are on Post-Completion OPT or OPT STEM Extension, it is recommended that these signatures are within six months. DS-2019 travel endorsement on page 1 of the DS-2019 is valid for 1 year for J-1 students and their departments.

If your travel endorsement/signature will be expired upon your re-enter to the U.S., please following the information on the I-20/DS-2019 Travel Signature Request Form to submit the request to our office, isssohlp@central.uh.edu.

Students returning from international travel are required to follow the UH travel guidelines: https://www.uh.edu/covid-19/guidelines-protocols/travel-guidelines/.

Information from the U.S. Department of State: The geographic COVID-19-related Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, and 10143, which suspend entry into the United States of foreign nationals who have been physically present in the People’s Republic of China, Islamic Republic of Iran, Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa in the 14-day period before seeking entry into the United States, remain in effect.

F-1 and J-1 Students Who Are Leaving UH

  • Traveling Home and Completing Your F-1 status
    If you do not plan to return to UH after this semester, please complete this form and email it to ISSSO. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requires us to report that you are leaving. An example might be that you are completing your degree, and returning to your home country.
  • Plan to Transfer to Another U.S. School
    If you are planning to go to another U.S. school or start a new program at another U.S. school, please email the SEVIS F-1 or J-1 Transfer-Out Form along with the approval of your admission to ISSSO before the official closing date of this semester.

Change of Contact Information
Please update the UH system through myUH if you have made any changes to your U.S. home address (SEVIS Address), phone number and email address. According the DHS regulations, you must report within 10 days of the changes. The SEVIS address cannot be a foreign address. If you are leaving the country, do not report the foreign address as your U.S. SEVIS address.

ISSSO Services
To better protect students, faculty and staff from COVID-19, ISSSO staff will continue to work remotely to assist you, by [713-743-5065]telephone and email during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We do not accept walk-ins without being pre-arranged. Please email your documents and inquiries to isssohlp@central.uh.edu. Please allow 7-10 business days to process requests, since we are experiencing a heavy volume of inquiries. We thank you for giving us as much advanced notice as possible. You may visit our website for detailed information.

Avoid Scams
Please be aware of telephone/email scammers using real government official names or telephone numbers which are publically available on websites or through an online search. If you receive such a phone call, please just hang up. Please see more information from the Social Security Administration and Avoid Scams on the ISSSO website.