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International Student Overview

Most international students enter the United States on an F-1 student visa. F-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas that are granted to applicants who want to pursue a full course of academic study at a U.S. college or university. All nonimmigrant students who apply for an F-1 visa must have an I-20 to present to the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Union Institute & University may issue an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) to international students who have been admitted to UI&U and have shown proof of sufficient financial support to cover all anticipated expenses for each on-ground residency and during the entire length of their chosen degree program at UI&U.

More information about the Student Exchange & Visitor Program (SEVP) and F-1 visa requirements is available at the Student Exchange & Visitor (SEVP) Program website.

For more information on International Student Services (e.g.: Course Load Requirement, F-1 Student Visa Requirement, and Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility) click the F-1 Student Requirements.


Full Course Load Requirement

International students in the U.S. on F-1 student visas are required to be enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of their degree programs. Prior authorization is needed for enrolling in less than a full course of study that may occur during final terms in the PhD program.

International F-1 students enrolled at Union Institute & University may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before classes or residencies begin and remain in the U.S. up to 60 days after their residencies or courses are completed.

Form I-20

A Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) is a U.S. government form on which Union Institute & University certifies to the U.S. government that a student is eligible to receive an F-1 visa. It certifies that the student:

  1. Is going to be an enrolled, full-time student pursuing a degree in the Master of Arts with a Major in Clinical Mental Health Psychology or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Interdisciplinary Studies.
  2. Has satisfied all admission requirements and has been admitted to Union Institute & University.
  3. Has demonstrated sufficient financial support for current and future residencies—for the full length or duration of the chosen degree program.

F-1 Student Visa Requirements

Applicants for F-1 visas who wish to attend UI&U need to satisfy several strict criteria. They:

  1. Must have a foreign residence and must intend to return there upon completion of their studies;
  2. Can study only at the academic institution through which the I-20 was issued;
  3. Must have sufficient financial support for the length of each residency and for the full length of their degree programs;
  4. Must have strong ties to their home country (e.g., job offer letter upon completion of studies, assets, bank accounts, and family).
  5. Spouses and minor children of F-1 students should obtain F-2 visa status; they are not authorized to work in the U.S.

Applying for a Visa

To apply for a student visa to attend Union Institute & University, you will need to take your letter of admission from Union Institute & University, the Form I-20 issued by UI&U, the SEVIS fee payment receipt, original copies of your financial support documents, passport, and other supporting materials (as needed) to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. You should make this visit as soon as possible. Changes in U.S. visa laws and regulations have increased the amount of time required to get a visa. Processing times will vary. Please contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a current time estimate and planning recommendations.

The consular officer will place all your immigration documents into an envelope and seal it. DO NOT OPEN THIS ENVELOPE. The U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) officer will open the envelope when you arrive in the U.S.

Visa Waiver Countries

Residents of countries that have visa waiver agreements with the U.S. are required to obtain F-1 student visas in order to study in the U.S. and attend UI&U. Visa waiver countries include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

International students enrolled at Union Institute & University are required to obtain a new I-20 before attending each brief, on-ground residency for their degree programs. Each international student is also required to submit an updated Financial Certification or Sponsorship Affidavit before a new I-20 will be issued for each on-ground residency. The Financial Certification and Sponsorship Affidavit form is available as a handout. Instructions for completing the Financial Certification-Sponsorship Affidavit are also available as a handout.

Each international student is required to submit an Emergency Contact Information Form, which is available as a handout.

Other forms that international students may need to submit during the course of their degree programs include a:

  1. Change Academic Level or Major form – students must notify their DSO before making this change
  2. Change Status form
  3. F-2 Dependent Information form
  4. Reduced Course Load form – for final term only; students must notify their DSO before making this change
  5. Replace Lost I-20 form
  6. SEVIS Update form
  7. Status Reinstatement form
  8. Transfer In form – for international student transferring to Union Institute & University from another U.S. university 
  9. Transfer Out form – for a UI&U student who plans to transfer from Union Institute & University to another U.S. university

International students who need to submit any of these forms must contact