OISS Portal Info Page

All new international students admitted to Rice University must complete their international student profile in the OISS Portal, regardless of immigration status.

For students who plan to study in an F-1 or J-1 visa, please begin the process as soon as possible. Obtaining an F-1 or J-1 visa requires a minimum of 6-8 weeks, so please carefully review the process.

To ensure sufficient time for document review and, if necessary, I-20 / DS-2019 processing, all OISS Portal submissions should be completed by December 15 for students matriculating in the Spring semester, and July 15 for students matriculating in the Fall semester.

OISS only processes immigration documents for international students who are fully admitted to Rice University. If you are a prospective student seeking admission to the university, please contact the appropriate admissions office to apply for a particular academic program.

STEP 1: Collect / Prepare Necessary Documents for OISS Portal Upload

All students must submit certain forms/documents as part of the OISS Portal process for international students. Please prepare the following documents before uploading them to your account.

International Student Intake Form

International Student Intake Form
Please complete the webform. Upon clicking “Submit”, you will receive an email version of your Intake form at the email you indicate. Please save that in PDF format to upload to your OISS Portal account.

Passport ID page

Make a copy of your passport ID page and save as PDF to upload. Please note that, in general, passports must be valid for a minimum of 6 months into the future from the date that you enter the United States. You must maintain your passport valid for the full duration of your stay.

Proof of Funding

To obtain a Form I-20 (F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa), students must show they have sufficient funding to cover the estimated cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses. Estimated expenses can be viewed here:

Estimated cost of attendance for 2020-2021

For a detailed breakdown, please visit:
Tuition & Fees: https://cashier.rice.edu/tuition_fee_rates
Cost of Attendance: https://financialaid.rice.edu/cost-attendance
Health Insurance: https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu/current-rates

F-1 Students are required to show proof of funding for the first academic year.
F-2 Dependents – For F-1 students who will be accompanied by a spouse or unmarried child(ren) under the age of 21, you will need to provide proof of an additional $4000 for each dependent to cover dependent living and health insurance expenses.

J-1 Students are required to show proof of funding for the full duration of their program. If you are unable to show funding for the full program, please contact OISS.
J-2 Dependents – For J-1 students who will be accompanied by a spouse or child(ren), you will need to provide proof of an additional $4000 for each dependent per year to cover dependent living and health insurance expenses for the duration of the program.

Acceptable Documents for Proof of Funding
You may upload up to 4 attachments in the OISS Portal for review/approval.

  • Rice Funding
    • Offer letter indicating your name and amount of tuition waiver, scholarship, fellowship, financial aid award.
  • Personal Funds
    • Loan or official personal bank statement from checking or savings account or letter that is less than 6 months old, reflects your personal name on the account, states the amount of funds and the liquid funding source.
  • Family Funds (2 documents required)
    • Official bank statement from checking or savings account or letter that is less than 6 months old, reflects the name on the account, states the amount of funds and the liquid funding source.
    • Family letter of support that indicates the name (as shown on the bank statement), relationship, and state the intent to sponsor you during your studies. Click here for a template.
  • Personal Sponsor (2 documents required)
    • Official bank statement from checking or savings account or letter that is less than 6 months old, reflects the name on the account, states the amount of funds and the liquid funding source.
    • Sponsor letter of support that indicates the name (as shown on the bank statement), relationship, and state the intent to sponsor you during your studies. Click here for a template.
  • Other Source – Scholarship/Fellowship (Private, Employer or Government Sponsorship)
    • Offer letter that is less than 6 months old, indicating your name, amount of scholarship/fellowship/financial award, duration of funding.

NOTE: You may submit more than one bank statement, but you must include a letter of support for each sponsor.

Funding documentation not accepted include: Scholarship/Award letters that do not detail the amount of the award, income/salary letters, tax returns, land/property deeds, non-liquid funds.

Dependent Documents

For F-1/J-1 students who will be accompanied by a spouse or unmarried child(ren) under the age of 21 in the dependent visa category (F-2/J-2), please prepare the following documentation:

  • Passport ID page(s) for each dependent
  • Proof of relationship to you for each dependent (copy of original marriage certificate for spouse or birth certificate for child(ren), and translation (unofficial is acceptable) if the documents are not in English)
  • Proof of funding in the amount of $4000/dependent – this proof of funding may be included in the proof of funding section above, as long as the total funding provided exceeds total expenses (tuition / fees, living expenses, and dependent expenses)

SEVIS Transfer Documents

For students already in the United States in valid F-1/J-1 student visa status who plan on transferring their SEVIS record to Rice University from another U.S. institution, please prepare the following documents:

STEP 2: Activate your OISS Portal account

An invitation to access the OISS Portal will be sent to your email account of record within one week from the date your Rice student record is created (this occurs after you accept your Rice offer of admission and submit your enrollment deposit, if applicable). You can contact your academic department for more information on the status of your student record.

  1. The invitation email will guide you on how to setup your OISS Portal account. You will be given a link to set your password.
  2. You will receive a second email to confirm your registration setup – please click the link for "Registration Confirmation" to complete your access.
  3. You may login to your OISS Portal account.

If you received the email invitation to the OISS Portal, but you are not able to log in, please see our troubleshooting tips.

If you do not receive the OISS Portal invitation email, the most common reasons are:

  • Rice University has not yet processed your confirmation of intent to enroll and/or your deposit. It may take up to 7 days for this to be processed.
  • Your email inbox directed the message to your spam/junk folder.

If you have not received an email invitation to the OISS Portal and do not know the reason, please contact us at oiss@rice.edu for assistance.

STEP 3: General Instructions in OISS Portal

The General Instructions section of the OISS Portal, outlines Step 4 and Step 5 indicated below. You may revisit this section within your OISS Portal account at any time or you may refer to this webpage for further details on your next steps.

STEP 4: Update Personal Information and Emergency Contact Information in OISS Portal

Upon activating your OISS Portal account, all students must login to their OISS Portal to review and enter information in each of the sections below (unless otherwise specified):

  1. BIOGRAPHICAL DATA – review and update if needed
    • Verify the spelling of your name to ensure it matches your passport
    • Verify your date of birth (MM/DD/YYYY)
    • Verify your Country of Citizenship
  2. U.S. ADDRESS (if applicable)
    • If you are already living in the United States, please review the information in this section to verify that it is correct. If it is incorrect, please update the information.
    • Students transferring their SEVIS F-1/J-1 record to Rice must enter a U.S. address.
    • If you are abroad, you may leave this section blank.
  3. PERMANENT/FOREIGN ADDRESS
    • Please enter your address in your country of citizenship/permanent residence. All non-immigrant visitors must show proof of ties to their home country and indicate their address abroad.
  4. DEPENDENTS (for F-1/J-1 only)
    • If applicable – Please click "+ Add New Dependent" to enter the information for any dependent (spouse / child) who will accompany you to the U.S. on an F-2 or J-2 dependent visa. You may disregard the field "Dependent Campus ID", but please provide all other requested fields.
    • You will be asked to upload your supporting documents in the next section.
  5. EMERGENCY CONTACT(S)
    • Please provide an emergency contact. This may be a family member who will not accompany you to the United States and may be contacted in the event of an emergency. Your emergency contact should be someone who has the legal authority to speak with doctors or other officials on your behalf, if necessary.
  6. PASSPORT
    • Enter your current passport number, expiration, and country in this section.
    • If your passport will expire in less than 6 months before your entry to the United States for your program, please apply for an extension of your passport prior to your arrival to Rice University.
    • If you do not yet have a valid passport, you may leave this section blank and provide your current passport upon arrival to Rice University.

Once you complete ALL sections, or if you must save and go back at a later time, please click “SAVE” at the bottom of the page in the OISS Portal. This will submit any updates you have made to Rice’s OISS to review and approve. Once your entries have been reviewed, your data entry status will be updated under the Upload Documents Section. It will be noted as "Complete" or "Needs Submission" with additional notes if something is missing.

STEP 5: Upload Supporting Documents to OISS Portal

After activating your account, please upload the documentation you prepared in Step 1 on this page. Please make sure you have read through all the information under Step 1 carefully, to ensure your documentation is complete and meets the requirements listed. Incorrect or incomplete documents will delay the processing of your record and preparation of your immigration documents (if applicable). Please note that items indicating "Post-arrival" are to be completed in STEP 8.

All students must upload the following:

  1. Completed International Student Intake Form
  2. Copy of Passport ID Page


F-1 or J-1 visa applicants must also upload the following:

  1. Proof of Funding – you may upload up to 4 documents for review. For more information regarding acceptable documents, please see Step 1. Examples include:
    • Offer letter indicating funding from Rice (e.g. tuition waiver, stipend, financial aid award, etc.)
    • Bank statements (Additional letter of support required if bank account is not under your name. Click here for a template.)
  2. If applicableDependent Documents – supporting documentation may be uploaded separately or all together:
    • Passport ID pages
    • Copy of original marriage/birth certificates that show your dependent's relationship to you, and translation (unofficial is acceptable) if the documents are not in English
    • Financial support (if not previously uploaded in general Proof of Funding section)
  3. If applicableSEVIS Transfer Documents – supporting documents to request transfer of SEVIS record to Rice University:

Document Upload / Review Process:

  1. Click on "+ Add new document"
  2. Enter the document name (ex: Student Intake Form)
  3. Select the saved PDF or JPEG from your computer or phone
  4. Click the blue "Upload" button
  5. Your document will appear in the section box. If you have selected the incorrect file, you may click the red "X" to delete the file and select a new file to upload.
  6. Continue this process for any additional documents you need to upload in that particular section, then click "Submit for Approval" at the top of the section to notify OISS you have submitted a document for review. If you are resubmitting a new document for review, please click "Resubmit for Approval"
  7. A successful submission will change your "Requirement Status" from Needs Submission to Needs Review
  8. Please repeat steps (1-7) for each section's documents that you are required to upload

OISS will review documents in the order they are received. Please be patient, as it can take up to 2 weeks for newly uploaded documents to be reviewed during peak processing times. Please do not contact our office to inquire about the status of your documents. Instead, please login to your OISS Portal account to track your progress.

Please note that all items indicating "Post-arrival" are to be completed in STEP 8.

STEP 6: Tracking Progress in the OISS Portal

OISS will review documents in the order they are received. Please be patient, as it can take up to 2 weeks for newly uploaded documents to be reviewed during peak processing times. Please do not contact our office to inquire about the status of your documents. Instead, please login to your OISS Portal account to track your progress.

  1. Once a document is reviewed, the Document Status will be marked “Approved” or “Declined” for each individual file. If your document is declined, you will receive an email notification explaining the reason and you will need to correct and resubmit a new document to proceed. You may also review the details of a decline in your OISS Portal account in the comments section next to the document in question. Please correct, “Re-upload”, and “Resubmit for Approval” so that your record can proceed.
    Example of incomplete portal view
  2. Once all documents required for a particular section have been approved, the Requirement Status will be marked “Complete”. If the section indicates “Not Complete”, then you will be notified by email regarding the missing document(s) required to proceed.
    Example of complete portal view
  3. Once all required documents have been approved and all sections are “Complete”, you will receive an automated email indicating that your international student account has passed initial review and any related immigration documents will be processed.
  4. If you are coming to Rice on an F-1 or J-1 Rice sponsored visa, you will know your I-20/DS-2019 has been processed when you see your SEVIS ID number under your Personal Information and Emergency Contact Section.
  5. Your admitting department will mail you your international student welcome packet and immigration documents (if applicable) via FedEx.
  6. F-1/J-1 Students – Once you receive your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, you may complete your Pre-Departure Preparations including paying the SEVIS I-901 Fee, schedule a timely visa interview, and complete the appropriate visa application for your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

STEP 7: Pre-Departure Preparations

As you prepare to come to Rice University, please review our pre-arrival guide for information on:

  • Paying your SEVIS fee
  • Applying for your visa
  • Traveling to Houston**
  • Housing
  • What to Bring

**IMPORTANT: Please note that international orientation is mandatory for all international students, so please make your travel plans accordingly to arrive in time for your respective orientation program.

OISS hosts specialized orientation programs for all international students – including first-time students, transfer students, exchange students, and students changing program level from undergraduate to graduate programs – all are required to attend.

International students are also required to check in with OISS within 15 days of arrival to the United States. During the month of August, we have designated check-in times to facilitate the large numbers of new students arriving. Please visit our orientation page for more details.

STEP 8: Post-arrival options in the OISS Portal

Students with OISS Portal accounts can take advantage of an E-Check-in option when completing their mandatory Immigration Check-in requirements. For more information, please see oiss.rice.edu/orientation.