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International Student Services FAQ


How do I maintain my F-1 Status?
More information on Maintaining Your F-1 Status.

How do I apply for a social security card?
Visit the identification information page.

How do I apply for a driver's license?
Read about identification information here.

What do I need to do when I want to travel?
If you are traveling within the U.S., you are not required to obtain a travel endorsement on your I-20/DS-2019. You are advised to bring your UST I-20/DS-2019, passport, visa and I-94 during your travels.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S., you will be required to obtain a travel endorsement on your I-20/DS-2019.  Please plan at least two weeks in advance to get your I-20/DS-2019 signed by an international student advisor.  We also advise you to bring your passport and visa, so we may check their validity.

What employment opportunities are available students on an F-1 visa?
Learn more about international student employment.

Can I travel while my Optional Practical Training (OPT) application is pending?
The regulations have been edited and now state that you may travel outside of the U.S. while you have a pending application. However, if you are able to postpone your travels, it would be best to do so until after you receive your card.

If and when you do receive your OPT card/employment authorization document, it is not intended to be used for travel purposes. If you do decide to travel outside of the U.S. after you receive your card, there is no guarantee of re-entry into the country.

What is the difference between my status and my visa?
Your status is indicated on your visa and I-94, but is defined by the rules and regulations that you must follow while residing in the U.S.

A visa, found in your passport, is used for travel purposes only. This means that it does not have to be valid while you are in the U.S., as long as you are maintaining your status.  It does however, If your visa has expired, then you will need to apply for a renewal in your home country before returning to the U.S.

Can I stay in the U.S. with an expired I-20?
No. Your I-20 is a document that must remain valid while you reside in the U.S. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that it is still valid and to extend the end date before it expires. If your I-20 expires while you’re still in the U.S., then you have jeopardized your status and will be considered “out of status.”

Can I stay in the U.S. with an expired visa?
Yes, your visa, in your passport, may expire while you reside in the U.S. Keeping your passport and I-20 valid while following the F-1 rules and regulations are the most important things to remember.

Can I renew my visa in the U.S. before it expires?
Visas may only be issued and renewed at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S.


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University of St. Thomas - Houston, TX - Educating Leaders of Faith and Character
University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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