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Current International Students


This page is for Current International students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. Through this page, you can see upcoming events, tips on how to maintain your F-1 Status, see the services available to you through the International Office, as well as request transportation.  If there are questions that are not answered on this webpage, please feel free to stop in to Fine Arts, Room 208 or email us and let us know!  Don't forget to join NWOSU International Students on Facebook!


Monday - Friday 
8:00 AM - 12:30PM
1:30PM - 5:00PM

Monday - Thursday
7:00 AM - 12:30PM
1:00PM - 5:30PM

Located in the Fine Arts Building, Room 208






Maintaining Your F1 Visa Status

Congratulations! You’ve been issued your F-1 visa and you are an official student in the USA. With this victory comes big responsibility. Now that you are in the US, you must maintain your F-1 visa. To remain in legal F-1 visa status, you should follow these guidelines very carefully.

Check in with the NWOSU International Student Office within 30 days of your arrival
You will be required to provide your local address, phone number, and email address in order to keep your SEVIS records up-to-date. If you change your local address at any time during your stay, you will need to notify them.

Keep your passport valid
Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future. Passports can be renewed by your home country’s consulate or embassy.

Maintain full-time enrollment
Students who are studying in an undergraduate programs are required to enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester during the academic year. If you are unable to enroll full-time, or wish to withdrawal from a course that would put you under full-time, you will need authorization from the International Academic Advisor before doing so. The International Academic Advisor will only allow this under extenuating circumstances as lined out by SEVP.

Graduate students are required to be a minimum of nine (9) credit hours to be considered “full-time”. Again, you will need to receive authorization from the International Academic Advisor before you are allowed to drop below full-time and will only be considered under extenuating circumstances as lined out by SEVP.

Maintain "Presence on Campus" 
F-1 students are required to be seen on campus. They are not allowed to take a full course of study in online/ITV courses.  Only 3 credit hours of online/ITV courses can count towards your minimum credit hour requirement.  Undergraduate students must enroll in 9 credit hours of traditional courses before they may enroll in a 3 credit hour online OR ITV course. Graduate students must enroll in 6 credit hours of traditional courses before they may enroll in a 3 credit hour online OR ITV course.  There are very limited exceptions to this rule.  Please contact the International Academic Advisor for specification.

Extend your I-20 as needed
If your program will require more time that originally granted, you will need to notify your International Office at least 30 days prior to the end date in Section 3 of your Form I-20, in order to allow enough time to obtain the necessary documentation to maintain your F-1 visa.

Apply for a new I-20 as needed
If you are beginning a new program, you must apply for a new I-20 at least 60 days before the completion of your first program. Evidence of funding may be required.

Obtain special permission to work
WORKING OFF-CAMPUS WITHOUT PERMISSION IS A SERIOUS VIOLATION OF YOUR F-1 VISA AND COULD RESULT IN YOUR DEPORTATION! The visa you have obtained is listed as a Student visa, which means you are in the U.S. to study, not to work. For this reason, you are required to prove Financial Support that will allow you to study without having to work. Should you wish to obtain employment while you are at NWOSU, F-1 students are very limited on your options.

F-1 students are allowed to work part-time on-campus. It is the student’s responsibility to find a job on-campus. Once employment is obtained, the student will need to apply for a Social Security card. The International Office can assist in this step by providing the necessary items to apply for a Social Security card. Transportation to the Social Security office can be obtained by completing at Travel Request Form and paying the transportation fee.

Information regarding your other employment options can be found on our International Student Employment page. For security purposes, it is advised that you keep the International Student Office informed of any employment you have obtained to alleviate any concerns.

Carry your immigration documents with you at all times
It is advised for you to carry your passport, I-94, and I-20 with you, especially when you are traveling. You will need to be able to prove your legal F-1 visa status in the US. It is also recommended that you carry proof of enrollment (e.g. current course schedule) for further evidence of your valid status.

If you will be traveling outside of the U.S., you must have the International Advisor authorize your travel by signing the second page of your I-20 BEFORE your departure.

Change your status or depart the US in a timely manner
F-1 students generally have 60 days to depart the US after the completion of their program. As long as you maintain your F-1 visa status, you may be eligible apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), or you may be able to switch your immigration status. Be sure to apply for these changes prior to your program completion date.

Pay debts in a timely manner
It is customary to pay all debts, to Northwestern , to the Alva Community, or to anyone else you may owe within a reasonable time frame. Failure to do so can effect your ability to attend other schools or apply for future visas.

By following these steps, you will be able to maintain your F-1 visa and prepare yourself for any changes that may occur during your academic program. Retaining your legal F-1 visa status is extremely important to remain in the United States as an international student, or to obtain any future Visas

 For more information on maintaining your F-1 Visa, click here.

Services for International Students

The International Student Office at Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers a variety of immigration, health insurance, work permission, and advising services and special programs for NWOSU international students and scholars, and for the NWOSU staff and faculty who work with them. 

Support services 
For help on immigration matters, financial aid, health insurance, work permission, advising on personal concerns, or any topic of special interest to international students, please contact the International Student Advisor. 

There are two types of appointments: (1) regular 30-minute appointments that will give students time to discuss more complex situations; and (2) five- to ten-minute drop-in appointments for quick questions. It is a good idea to schedule regular 30-minute appointments, but the International Student Advisor is always there to help you. You just need to ask for help. Drop-ins, however, are on a first-come, first-served basis. The Office of the International Student Advisor is located at Fine Arts building room 208 and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays (Summer hours: 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday). 

Immigration Information 
F-1 Visa 
It refers to the visa status given to an international applicant who wishes to enter the U.S. temporarily and solely for the purpose of study. 

I-20 Form 
The Certificate of Eligibility for non-immigrant student status for academic and language students is commonly referred to as the Form I-20. Students must sign in item #11 on pages 1 and 3 of the form I-20. On the initial entry, the admitting immigration official retains the School Copy (page 1-2). 

I-94 (Arrival/Departure record) 
Form I-94 is the DHS Arrival/Departure Record issued to aliens who are admitted to the U.S. The Form I-94 has been automated. If a student is required to have a paper version of Form I-94, it is available here

On-Campus Employment 
Students may work on-campus without prior approval from the USCIS, provided they are enrolled full-time. On-campus work is limited to 15 hours per week while school is in session. 

Curricular Practical Training 
Employment under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) permits you to work off campus in a job directly related to your field of study. There are important differences between CPT and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Make sure you read the information on OPT to understand which might work best for your situation. You might use both kinds of practical training, though not simultaneously. 

Curricular Practical Training: 
The rules for CPT are as follows:

  • The student must have been enrolled full-time in school for at least 9 months, and must currently be in F-1 status.

  • The training must be an important and integral part of the student's program of study.

  • The training must be part of a course which is either required of all students by the student's degree program, or part of a course for which the student receives academic credit.

  • The course must be listed in the NWOSU catalog.

  • The training may be either full or part-time. Full-time CPT may total one year without affecting post-degree practical training. Full-time CPT which continues for 12 months or more makes the student ineligible for OPT.

  • Part-time CPT is limited to 20 hours per week and requires full-time enrollment at school. A student may not work part-time on campus while engaged in part-time CPT.

  • Full-time CPT requires at least part-time enrollment at school in order to keep the student's F-1 status valid, since the student must be enrolled in the course to which the CPT is related. There is no restriction on being enrolled full-time at school while working full-time on CPT.

  • Work authorization is granted by the International Student Office for a specific employer and for a specific period of time, usually corresponding to a semester.

  • In order to grant work authorization, the International Student Office must have a letter from the professor of the course, describing the work experience, naming the employer, specifying the dates of employment, and indicating how the professor will oversee the work experience. 

If the student is enrolled in independent study, thesis, or dissertation courses and the work experience contributes significantly to the student's independent research, it may qualify for CPT. In this case, the International Student Office will need a detailed description of the research project, a description of the work experience, and an indication from the professor how the student will be graded for the course.

If the student is enrolled in a regular course, the professor of that course needs to determine if the employment can be related to the course and if the employment will count significantly towards the student's grade for the course. While this may be difficult to do in courses in which the grade is based only on tests, it might be possible for a course that requires all students to complete a research paper or project. If the professor can determine that the work experience will be the basis for the research paper or project, it might be possible for the course to qualify for CPT. If the professor feels that he or she is unable to say either that the employment is related to the course or will count significantly towards the grade, then CPT will not be authorized.  

Optional Practical Training 
International students in F-1 status who have completed nine months at NWOSU may apply for up to 12 months of Optional Practical Training, which is an immigration status that allows them to work in the U.S. First, read the Optional Practical Training handout and follow the attached instructions. 

H-1B Visa (Temporary Non-Immigration Work Status in the U.S.) 
An H1B visa is a work permit issued by a US Consulate/Embassy to an "alien"/foreign worker enabling him/her to work in the US temporarily. There are other options available for those who wish to work in the United States temporarily, like getting an intra-company transfer visa (L1), or a business visa (B1), or even a green card. The H1B work permit visa is the most common one. 

Obtaining Permanent Residence in the U.S. 
An immigrant visa is the visa issued to persons wishing to live permanently in the United States. These are popularly known as "Green Cards."

Student Travel Requests

Transportation Requests

Northwestern Oklahoma State University provides transportation to and from the locations noted in the table below.  In order to request transportation, the Travel Request Form must be completed and submitted ten (10) days prior to the requested date to be considered.  Any requests submitted with less notification cannot be guaranteed. This form may be found by scrolling down this page.


Destination Distance from NWOSU Estimated Time
Oklahoma City, OK -  Will Rogers Airport  163 miles/ 262 km 2 hours 43 minutes
Oklahoma City, OK -  Greyhound Bus Station  169 miles/ 271 km 2 hours 37 minutes
Wichita, KS -  Dwight D. Eisenhower Airport  107 miles/ 178 km 1 hour 59 minutes
Wichita, KS -  Greyhound Bus Station  114 miles/184 km 2 hours 2 minutes
Enid, OK  72.8 miles/117 km  1 hour 19 minutes
Alva (Walmart, Bank, etc.)  


NWOSU has assigned approved travel dates for each semester, which will be noted below.  If you are traveling on a non-approved travel date, you will be required to pay $90.00 USD to the NWOSU Business Office in order for your request to be approved. Transportation provided in Alva City Limits will not be charged a $90.00 fee.

Approved Travel Dates - Students Departing after Spring Semester

NWOSU will provide complimentary shuttles on the following dates for students leaving after the Spring semester:

Shuttle Date Departure Time
May 5, 2017 TBA
May 6, 2017 TBA
May 7, 2017 TBA


In order to confirm transportation details in ample time, the deadline to submit transportation requests is April 24th.  Any transportation requests submitted after this date cannot be guaranteed. Departure times will be released after this date.  

If your flight/bus departs prior to 8:00 AM CST we cannot guarantee a ride that day, due to the safety of our drivers and passengers.  You may be asked to take the last shuttle the night prior to your flight/bus departure time.  Additionally, if you request a date outside of these approved dates, you will be asked to pay the $90.00 USD fee before your request is considered

Approved Travel Dates - Incoming Students for Fall Semester

NWOSU will provide complimentary shuttles on the following dates for arriving students for the Fall 2017 Semester:

Shuttle Date Departure Time



In order to confirm transportation details in ample time, the deadline to submit transportation requests is August 8th. Any transportation requests submitted after this date cannot be guaranteed. Departure times will be released by August 11th. 

If your flight/bus arrives after 8:00 PM CST we cannot guarantee a ride that day, due to the safety of our drivers and passengers.  You may be asked to take the first shuttle arriving the day after your flight/bus arrival time.  Additionally, if you request a date outside of these approved dates, you will be asked to pay the $90.00 USD fee before your request is considered.

Working (F-1 Students)

International Student Employment Options

International students who are interested in working while studying at Northwestern are very limited on their options, especially in their first fiscal year at our institution. We encourage International Students to have a secure financial backing before attending any U.S. institution, as employment options on F-1 visas will not be enough to support a student while attending college.  Any money made while working as an F-1 student should only be considered supplemental income in addition to the costs of attending college.

Students on an F-1 visa are required to work no more than 20 hours per week overall while classes are in session (this does not mean 20 hours per job). Below are the options for working while on an F-1 Visa. Please note that, upon receiving any Employment Authorization document (Social security card, Employment Authorization card), it is strongly advised that you give a copy to the International Student office, along with keeping them informed of any employment that you have obtained. This is in order to protect you as an international student working while on an F-1 visa.

On-Campus Employment 

Northwestern allows international students to work on-campus for a maximum of 15 hours per week during the academic terms and up to 40 hours per week (full-time) during the academic breaks, such as spring break, summer break, or holiday break. International Students are responsible for finding their own on-campus employment.  Once they have obtained employment, they must apply for a Social Security card before being allowed to start working. In order to apply for a Social Security card, the student will need to ask their employer to send an email to the International Academic Adviser with the following information:

  • Name of Student
  • Job Description
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Supervisor's Name & Contact information

Upon receiving this information, the International Student Adviser will compose letters that show that the student has obtained employment and are authorized to work on-campus.  The student will take the letters, along with an application to the Social Security office in Enid. Should the student need a ride, they may request one by submitting a travel request. This process takes approximately two (2) weeks.  Upon receiving your Social Security card, it is a requirement that you give a copy of the card to the International Student office, along with the Human Resources department.

Off-Campus Employment

To qualify for off-campus employment, the student:

  • Must apply for authorization through the International Office and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Must be currently in legal status
  • Must have been enrolled as an F-1 Student at Northwestern for a minimum of one academic year (9 months)

The options for off-campus employment are explained below.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • CPT must relate to your major and the experience must be part of your program of study.
  • When you enroll at the graduate level, your designated school official (DSO) may authorize CPT during your first semester if your program requires this type of experience. Ask your DSO for details.
  • Your DSO will provide you a new Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” that shows that the DSO has approved you for this employment.
  • You can work on CPT either full-time or part-time.
  • CPT requires a signed cooperative agreement or a letter from your employer.
  • If you have 12 months or more of full-time CPT, you are ineligible for OPT, but part-time CPT is fine and will not stop you from doing OPT.

Optical Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is employment that is directly related to your field of study.  It is designed to complement your academic work by providing you an opportunity to obtain actual work experience in your field of study. 

  • As an F-1 student you are allowed up to 12 months of OPT for each educational level you pursue. For example: if you take 12 months of OPT after completing your bachelor's degree, you are eligible for another 12 months of OPT for each additional level of degree program you complete (Master's, Ph.D).
    • You can use part of your 12 months of OPT before completing your degree (i.e., during the summer breaks), or
    • You can save the full year of OPT to use after you graduate. 
  • In order to be eligible for practical training you must be in lawful F-1 student status for at least one full academic year (9 months) and submit the application materials to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in a timely manner.
  • You may not begin work until you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • While school is in session, you are limited to 20 hours of work per week.
  • You must keep the International Student office up-to-date with any employment changes, including but not limited to new employers, or new contact information by submitting the OPT Employment Information form

For further information on OPT, you may refer to the OPT Policies, provided by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

What to file:

  • Completed Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization” (instructions for filling out the form may be found here).  For best results:
    • Complete the form in blue ink
    • Attempt to make your signature no larger than 1" wide x ½” tall and do NOT cross the lines. (fit it in the white space). If your signature is too large, USCIS will return the application to you.
    • List a local address that is valid for the next three (3) months where you can receive all correspondence.
  • Two Photos – passport style. Print your name and admission number (found on your I-94 card) lightly on the back in pencil.
  • Copy of student visa, passport photo page, & I-94 card (both sides), and all previous I-20s.
  • Check for $380 made payable to Department of Homeland Security in order to receive EAD
  • Copies of any prior EAD cards (if applicable)

Upon gathering this information, bring these items to the International Student Office in Fine Arts 208.  The International Academic Adviser will provide a new I-20 and a letter that will show his/her recommendation for this employment and assist you in sending your OPT application.

17-Month OPT STEM Extension

You may qualify for an additional 17 months of OPT under the following circumstances:

  • The degree for your current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) program listed here.
  • The employer from which you are seeking employment uses the E-Verify program.
  • You have not previously received a 17-month extension of OPT.
  • Your DSO will provide you with a new Form I-20 that shows the DSO recommendation for this employment on page two.
  • You must apply for work authorization by electronically filing a Form I-765 with USCIS and paying a filing fee. USCIS will send you an EAD upon approving your petition.
  • You may continue to work on your expired EAD for OPT up to 180 days while your 17-month extension petition is pending if you meet these conditions:
    • You are currently in a period of post-completion OPT.
    • You properly and in a timely manner filed your application for the 17-month extension with USCIS.
  • You must report changes in name, address, employer and loss of employment to your DSO within 10 days of any change.

Employment Based on Severe Economic Hardship

If other employment opportunities are not available or are otherwise insufficient, an eligible F-1 student may request employment authorization based on severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond the student's control. In order to be eligible for employment based on severe economic hardship, you must:

  • Be a valid F-1 status-holder for at least one academic year (nine months)
  • Be in good academic standing, and enrolled in a full course load
  • Be able to provide evidence of unforeseen economic hardship caused by circumstances beyond your control
  • Show that on-campus employment is either unavailable or insufficient
  • Guarantee that employment will not interfere with your studies

In order to file for employment based on Economic Hardship, you must bring the following items to the International Student Office in Fine Arts 208.

  • A personal statement describing the unforeseen hardship situation and, if possible, attach backup documentation; for example, news articles, a letter from home telling of a change in family circumstances or proof of a currency devaluation in your country, etc.
  • Completed Form I-765, using the code (C)(3)(iii) at item 16. Do not date the form until you are ready to send the application to the U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Check for $380 made payable to Department of Homeland Security in order to receive EAD.  If you feel that you cannot afford this fee, you may apply for a fee waiver by filing a Form 912. For information on how requirements for receiving the fee waiver and information on how to fill out this form, please click here.
  • Copies of your current and previous I-20s
  • Copy of paper or print-out of electronic Form I-94.
  • Copy of your F-1 visa page (except Canadians) or I-797 (approval of change of status to F-1), if applicable
  • Copy of your unofficial transcript available from RangerNet.

The International Academic Advisor will write a letter of recommendation to include in your application and assist you in mailing it to USCIS.  This process can take three (3) months or more.

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Phone: (580) 327-1700

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