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International Student Support

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Identify program of interest
Please visit the Financial Aid website to estimate cost of attendance.
Verify that you can get a visa for this program.
(山ּ programs and many certificate programs are not eligible for visas).

F-1
(Academic or Language Students)

F-1 visas are for students enrolled in a degree-seeking program or in the English Language Institute (ELI).

  • Use Form I-20 “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status” to get an F-1 visa at a consulate/embassy if not in U.S.;
  • change to F-1 status within the U.S.; or
  • request an I-20 transfer to begin studying at UTEP if already in the U.S. with F-1 status.

J-1
(Exchange Visitors)

J-1 visas are for degree-seeking sponsored students, non-degree seeking exchange students, student interns, visiting professors, research scholars, or short-term research scholars.

  • Use Form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” to either apply for a visa or change of visa status.
  • If UTEP is the program sponsor, OIP will provide DS-2019. Otherwise, the J-1 student will receive his/her DS-2019 from the program sponsor.
Mexican nationals should check their eligibility for the PASE program.
U.S. or Mexican ($45 application fee)
International ($80 application fee)
Receive admission decision via e-mail.
The Graduate School will notify you of admission decision via e-mail (given that funding support varies by program, this letter does not include information on financial support).
If admitted, Office of International Programs will send you an email with information about getting a visa.
If admitted, notify the Graduate School of your decision to accept or decline via the Radius portal.
Notify your program director via email.
Request a Letter of Financial Support from your program, or, if interested in employment, ask your program director about employment opportunities.
Immediately after accepting admission, set up UTEP Email Account (can take up to 2 days). 
For problems, contact Technology Support via email, chat, or phone (915-747-5000).
Your UTEP email is how your program and other UTEP offices will contact you.
It is very important to check your UTEP email daily because some information is time sensitive.
Register in Sunapsis using your UTEP e-mail.
Sunapsis is the online portal that allows you to work with OIP to get your I-20/DS-2019.
This is necessary to get the corresponding F-1 or J-1 visa and take other important steps to comply with U.S. rules and regulations.
Complete two critical steps for this process:
  • Initiate I-20 or DS-2019 request by using UTEP username (the name preceding the @ in your UTEP email address) and password,  and
  • Complete Confirmation of Financial Resources (CFR) using Letter of Financial Support and your financial information
If you are a Mexican national, apply to the PASE program  after submitting CFR.
Once the I-20/DS-2019 is issued, OIP will mail you a hard copy. It can take two weeks to process your request, plus mailing time.

As soon as you receive your I-20 or DS-2019:

 

  • Pay the I-901 fee ($350 for F-1 and $220 for J-1).
  • Make an appointment at a US Consulate to apply for the F1 visa.

Appointment scheduling and a visa processing times vary considerably. Check the U.S. consulate website of your country for approximate wait times. Average times are 1-10 days. Waits may be considerably longer in some cases (more than 30 days), so you should start this process as soon as you receive your I-20/DS-2019.
Note: Some countries—including Iran and Bhutan—do not have a U.S. Consulate, so students in those places must go to another country to apply for visa.

If your visa is approved:

Plan your travel to the U.S.
You may arrive in the U.S. up to 30 days before the beginning date appearing on the I-20/DS-2019.

If your visa is denied:

Without prejudice

You may reapply or defer your application for admission.

With prejudice

That is the end of the application process.

Make arrangements to travel only after receiving the F-1/J-1 visa.

Students who will be employed

Should plan to arrive as close as possible to 30 days prior to semester start date on I-20 or DS-2019.
This is essential to get a U.S. Social Security Number, which can take 2-3 weeks.

Students who will NOT be employed

Should plan to arrive at least 10 days prior to semester start date on I-20 or DS-2019.

Check in on in Sunapsis, immediately after arrival in the U.S.

Have the following documentation ready and update all information as needed:

  • passport
  • I-20/DS-2019
  • visa
  • offer letter
  • and I-94

Contact OIP if you have any questions or issues.

If you have a job offer (including as a teaching, research, or graduate assistant), you must have a SSN to be employed and paid.
It can take 2-3 weeks to get an appointment with the U.S. Social Security Administration.

To get a SSN, you must:

 

  • Be present in the U.S.
  • Get a SSN Support letter from your hiring department. The Office of Human Resources (HR) can provide a template.
  • Submit the “Social Security Letter” request via Sunapsis. OIP will register your SEVIS record.
    OIP Work SSN
  • You will need to have a copy of your immigration documents (I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 with the U.S. consulate stamp, passport and F-1 or J-1 visa stamp, and CBP entry stamp).

OIP will provide you with an endorsement letter.

 

Make an in-person appointment with the Social Security Administration (once you have endorsement letter) by calling the local office at (866-964-6229).

Ensure you take the following original documents to the appointment:

 

  1. OIP endorsement letter and department support letter.
  2. Original I-9 documents (Example: I-20, passport, visa, I-94).
  3. Correct mailing address ready – Ensure PO Box is listed correctly, if applicable.
Use Sunapsis to submit an “On Campus Work Authorization” request.
Notify your program/hiring department that you applied for a SSN. Work with your department and HR to ensure you are appointed by census day
(early September in fall and early February in spring).

As soon as you receive your SSN:

Notify your program/hiring department.

Send email to HR.
Once HR receives your e-mail notification, HR will send time-sensitive information to your UTEP e-mail.
This includes your New Hire Packet and instructions on how to submit required employment documents.

Complete the following steps to begin working on campus:

Submit New Employee Hire Packet and copies of identification documents, including your SSN or the SSN provided by the Social Security Administration to HR. Please review the SSN checklist at the bottom of the HR Hiring Process page.

Complete the background check questionnaire provided by HR.

Visit the HR Onboarding Center and schedule an appointment to present I-9 original unexpired documents.

Once your new hire documents and background check clear with HR, your department will submit the following:

Appointment Request E-form

Once the Appointment Request is approved, your employment appointment will appear in PeopleSoft (UTEP's employment software). Plan to receive your first paycheck on October 1 (fall) or February 1 (spring). Any delays in the visa, SSN, and hiring paperwork might delay your employment appointment and first paycheck.

In-State Tuition Request Form.

The State of Texas allows students who are not Texas residents to pay in-state tuition if they are employed at least 20 hours a week in job that is relevant to their degree, and they are full-time students (taking 9 semester credits each semester).

Review this HR webpage for graduate student employment guidelines.

Employment Eligibility

To remain eligible for employment during the academic year (September through May) you must:

  • have grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better,
  • enroll for nine semester credit hours of courses each semester that are relevant to your degree.

In-State Tuition Eligibility

To remain eligible for In-State tuition (if you are not a TX resident), you must also be employed at least 20 hours a week.
Eligibility for employment and in-state tuition are verified each semester immediately after census day and near the end of the semester.

Student Health Insurance Plan

All students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) with the cost of coverage included in the student’s tuition and fees bill.
Student Health Insurance Plan

Health Insurance Waiver

Review this HR webpage to see if you are eligible to apply for a health insurance waiver or exception.
Student Health Insurance Waiver

Please note that you must submit the waiver by the deadline listed on the waiver website.

Once the waiver is approved, the health insurance charge on your bill will be removed or reimbursed.

NEXT STEPS

 

CONTACT OIP

The Office of International Programs assists UTEP international students, scholars, and dependent family members to maintain their non-immigrant statuses.

 

CONTACT HR

Learn more about student employment.

 

GRADUATE PROGRAMS

Take a look at our degrees and programs.