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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I get a student visa?

When you have been granted full-acceptance to DBU and have shown financial documents (Joint Certificate/Sponsor Statement) proving that you have adequate resources to support your studies at DBU for at least one academic year, the International Admissions and Immigration Office will issue you a Form I-20. You must take the Form I-20, Form I-901, acceptance letter, financial documents, and a valid passport to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence and apply for a student visa at DBU. Visit the Visa Information page for more information.

2. How do I maintain my visa status?

Maintaining your visa status allows you to be granted immigration benefits like Optional Practical Training (OPT). A visa with a specific expiration date is not an assurance that you will be able to stay in the U.S. Your right to stay in the U.S. may be forfeited at any time if you violate the regulations of your visa status.

In order to maintain your status, you must:

  • Maintain a passport that is valid at least 6 months into the future.
  • Receive written authorization to make changes to your I-20.
  • Complete a full course of study each fall and spring semester.
  • Obtain permission before accepting any employment in the U.S.
  • Complete your course of study on or before the completion date in section 5 of your I-20. In order to request permission to extend this date, you must come to the International Admissions and Immigration Office one month before the completion date.
  • Obtain a new signature on your I-20 before traveling out of the U.S.
  • Update your U.S. local address, phone number, and e-mail address in Web Advisor within ten days of the change. Changes in your foreign address must be reported to the International Admissions and Immigration Office within 10 days as well.
  • Maintain health insurance coverage for yourself and any dependents while in the U.S.
  • Obey all federal and state laws.
  • Leave the U.S. when your I-20 expires, when you graduate, or if you have ended or suspended your DBU program.
  • Meet with a DBU International Advisor for an exit interview one month before your final day of class.
  • If you are subject to Special Registration, you are responsible for maintaining all Special Registration records and reporting.
  • Complete the appropriate tax forms for the IRS every year.

The USCIS website provides more information about maintaining your status.

3. Can I renew my student visa while in the United States?

No. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website.

4. Can I renew my visa while outside the United States in a country other than my home country?

Yes, but the Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa application visit the Visa Renewal section.

Before you travel to a country other than yours to renew your visa, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If you exit the United States and apply for a visa, you cannot return to the United States until the visa is issued. This could require a lengthy stay. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student.

5. Can I go to Canada or Mexico and apply for a new visa?

Yes, in some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the United States until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student. You can visit the Visa Renewal section of the site for detailed information.

6. What is automatic visa revalidation?

Automatic visa revalidation allows most F-1 students to take a trip of less than thirty days to countries sharing a border with the United States and reenter on an expired visa provided you have proper documentation and have not applied for a new visa during the visit.  This process revalidates your visa (making it eligible for the single trip), but does not renew it.

7. What is SEVIS?

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a computerized government system that maintains data about foreign students and exchange visitors during their stay in the U.S.

SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit information and even notifications via the Internet to USCIS and the Department of State. DBU is required to register students in SEVIS every semester. For this reason, every student must register for a full course load every semester and the International Admissions and Immigration Office will register that student in SEVIS.

Some of the events that DBU must report via SEVIS are as follows:

  • Change of Name
  • Change of Major
  • Change of Address
  • Change of Education Level
  • Change of Program Dates
  • Change of Sponsor

8. Will I have to apply twice if I want to enroll in the Intensive English Program and an academic program?

No, you  only need to apply one time.  DBU has a unique acceptance policy which allows students to submit a single application for IEP and an academic program.

9. What scholarships are available to international students?

Scholarships for international students are limited.  Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information.

10. How do I obtain a U.S. Social Security Number?

An international student is eligible to receive a Social Security Number only if that student has a job offer.  All on-campus employment must be approved by the International Admissions and Immigration Office before the student can begin working.

11. How do I get a Texas Driver's License or Texas ID?

You must apply for a Texas Driver's License in person at the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) office.

12. What are my options for working with a student visa?

Please visit the Employment page for more information on employment.

13. What if my passport expires?

You must not allow your passport to expire. If your passport expires, you will be out of status. Please refer to the General Guidelines for more information.

14. What do I do when my visa has expired?

If your visa has expired, your status in the U.S. is not necessarily affected. Your status is linked to the validity of your passport, I-94 card, I-20 expiration date, and maintaining a full academic course load. Please visit the U.S. Department of State site for more information.

15. What should I do if my family member(s) would like to visit or join me in the U.S.?

An immediate family member is a child under the age of 21 or a married spouse of the F-1 student.  In order for a family member to join you, he/she (they) must request an F-2 I-20 in order to apply for an F-2 visa.  Please contact the International Admissions & Immigration Office for details.

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