International Students

The Basics – Visa Types

Most degree-seeking international students will come to study on an F-1 student visa, while exchange students arrive on a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. To apply for a visa to come and study in the U.S., the student will need an I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) immigration document issued by Rice University's OISS. This document confirms the student has been admitted to a U.S. government-approved school and is eligible to apply for a visa to come and study.

Occasionally international students may study on other visa classifications, so please check with an OISS advisor if you have questions. Please keep in mind that OISS requires documentation for every international student on a non-immigrant visa, regardless of specific visa type.

Admitting New Students

International Student Admissions Flow Chart – Describes the process from when an international student applies for admission to when they arrive at Rice. It is a resource for any academic coordinator, faculty member, or new international student.

NOTE: International admission policy requires students to begin their programs in line with the Rice academic calendar, as immigration law requires Rice to register these standardized initial start dates with the government. Students coming to Rice outside the standard enrollment periods (Fall, Spring, Summer session start dates) may need to come to Rice on a J-1 short-term visa if they wish to begin research prior to beginning their standard academic program. Departments hoping to bring students in out of cycle for research purposes should consult OISS for the best visa options in these situations.

Admissions Process for Degree-Seeking Students

Checklist of Academic Department Requirements

OISS requires the following documents from the academic departments:

  1. Offer letter with signature
  2. Proof of Acceptance
  3. Proof of English Proficiency, as outlined on Rice’s General Standards for Admission (https://gradadmin.rice.edu/general-standards-admission)

Packets are electronically sent to OISS via a secured share drive by GPS (from Slate), Jones School, EMOC.

Checklist of Student Requirements

Upon record creation in Banner, incoming students will be invited by email to activate their OISS Portal account to submit required documents/data directly to OISS via a secure online portal (http://oiss.rice.edu/oissportal). Items include:

Verify/Update: Biographic/Address data
Upload (requirements guided by OISS Portal):

  1. New Student Intake Form
  2. Passport ID page
  3. Supporting financial documents (if coming on F-1/J-1 visa) – funding amounts are available at https://oiss.rice.edu/oissportal
  4. Dependent documentation – if bringing dependents (passport ID page, marriage/birth certificate, proof of funding)
  5. SEVIS Transfer documentation – if transferring from another U.S. institution (SEVIS Transfer Request, current I-20, current I-94)

The OISS Portal is interactive. It allows students to see their progress and view what else is still pending/required.

Admissions Process for Exchange Students

Checklist of Academic Department Requirements

OISS requires the following documents from the exchange program:

  1. Offer letter with signature
  2. Proof of Acceptance
  3. Proof of English Proficiency, as outlined on Rice’s General Standards for Admission.
    For graduate students: https://gradadmin.rice.edu/general-standards-admission.
    For undergraduate students: https://admission.rice.edu/policies/standardized-testing

Packets are submitted to OISS electronically by the exchange program coordinator via a secure OISS webform (https://oiss.rice.edu/deptupload, netID login required).

Checklist of Student Requirements

Upon record creation in Banner, incoming students will be invited by email to activate their OISS Portal account to submit required documents/data directly to OISS via a secure online portal (http://oiss.rice.edu/oissportal). Items include:

Verify/Update: Biographic/Address data
Upload (requirements guided by OISS Portal):

  1. New Student Intake Form
  2. Passport ID page
  3. Supporting financial documents (if coming on F-1/J-1 visa) – funding amounts are available at https://oiss.rice.edu/oissportal
  4. Dependent documentation – if bringing dependents (passport ID page, marriage/birth certificate, proof of funding)

The OISS Portal is interactive. It allows students to see their progress and view what else is still pending/required.

Readmit Process for Students Returning from Leave

In order to obtain a new I-20/DS-2019 for an F-1/J-1 visa to resume studies at Rice after a leave of absence:

  1. Academic Departments will need to work with GPS to confirm the readmission so the Banner record can be reactivated and notated.
  2. Academic Departments must upload a letter to OISS via a secure OISS webform (https://oiss.rice.edu/deptupload, netID login required) confirming readmission to Rice University for a particular semester and any funding support being provided.
  3. OISS will then initiate an OISS Portal account for the student to update their record for I-20/DS-2019 processing. Students may refer to https://oiss.rice.edu/returningLOA for additional details.

**Special Case: Visiting International Undergraduate Researcher

Visiting International Undergraduate Researchers are students who are not pursuing a degree at Rice University, but are instead coming for a short visit to conduct research typically in the summer months.

Advising Internationals Students

Regulations

  • Full-time Status: All F-1 and J-1 students need to be full-time at all times, unless they have prior authorization from their academic department and OISS
  • Part-time authorization procedure:
  • On-campus employment: F-1 students are eligible to work on-campus for a maximum of 20 hours/week while school is in session, and may work more than 20 hours/week while school is on break. For work eligibility regulations regarding students on any other visa type, please contact OISS.
  • Off-campus employment (internships):
  • Academic Dismissal / Withdrawal: If an international student is experiencing difficulty in their program, please advise them to make an appointment with an OISS advisor. If the student is either considering withdrawing or may be dismissed, there are immigration consequences to be considered.

Additional Resources