Current International Students

Please see below for helpful information and documents for current International HCU Students.

  • Congratulations on your acceptance to Houston Christian University! There are several next steps that you need to take in order to move forward with your enrollment at HCU:

    1. Pay your deposit (undergraduate students)
    2. Make sure that all of your immigration documents have been submitted so that you can receive your I-20 (F-1 students)
    3. Make sure that HCU has your correct mailing address to send the I-20 and admission letter
    4. Complete your meningitis vaccination (students under 22 years old)
    5. Have your F-1 SEVIS record transferred from your current school to HCU (F-1 students currently inside the U.S.)
    6. Schedule your visa interview (F-1 students currently outside the U.S.)
      • U.S. Embassies
      • Visa Application form
      • Take all the required documents with you to the visa interview.
      • Travel to the U.S. with your passport and I-20 in your carry-on luggage.
    7. Pay the SEVIS fee if necessary (first time F-1 students)
  • Current F-1 students may seek an off campus internship experience for which they will receive academic credit toward their degree plan. If a student is interested in CPT or has a program that requires an internship or clinical experience, they must gather the following materials before submitting the CPT request. Students may NOT begin their internship/clinicals before the new I-20 with CPT has been issued.

    The CPT General Information Sheet and Checklist provides detailed information about the CPT process and immigration regulation.

    First, students must make an appointment with their academic advisor. Next, students must make an appointment with the International Office and submit the following documentation:

    1. CPT Department Form completed by the student and their academic advisor.
    2. The employment letter needs to be on letterhead with the following information specific to the student:
      1. a brief statement of the job assignment
      2. the beginning and ending dates of employment
      3. the number of working hours per week
      4. the location of employment (street address, city, state, and zip code)
    1. An email or letter from the professor for the class that states the dates of the internship, location, and the semester and class for which the student is registered
  • Current students may seek a reduced course load for one of the following reasons: Academic Difficulties, Medical Conditions, or Completion of Course Study. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the DSO will be considered out of status.

    If an international student is in their last semester of study before completing their program, they may take less than full time coursework if they are taking all the classes required for graduation. In this case, an international student must still take at least one course on campus and complete the Final Semester Form in addition to the Request for Reduced Course Load.

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. F-1 students may apply to receive up to a total of 12 months of practical training either before (pre-) and/or after (post-) completion of studies. Please refer to the following information and forms regarding OPT:

  • OPT STEM Extension may be available to students who have obtained a degree in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. It is a one-time extension of your current post-completion OPT for an additional 24 months (making the total OPT eligibility 36 months). It must first be adjudicated (approved) by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). You may apply for the STEM extension as early as 90 days before your current OPT ends, but you MUST apply for the extension before the current OPT expires.

    You must be working in a paid position for more than 20 hours per week for an E-Verify employer.

    Please refer to the following information and forms regarding STEM OPT:

    • STEM OPT General Information and Checklist
    • I-983 form must be completed by the student and employer and submitted to International Student Services before an I-20 with a STEM recommendation can be issued.
    • I-765, Application for Employment, is an online form that must be completed, but DO NOT submit until you have met with an international advisor from HCU.
  • Certain international students may seek to extend or change their status to another non-immigrant status, or an F-1 student may need to apply for reinstatement. If you are seeking to change your immigration status in the U.S. or need reinstatement to legal F-1 status, please contact the International Office for more information and to make an appointment:

  • F-1 students have a program start date (beginning of their program) and a program end date (date by which they must complete their program) on their I-20. If you are getting close to the end date on your I-20 and will not complete your program by that time, you will need to apply for an extension of your I-20 BEFORE the program end date. We recommend that you apply for an extension at least 2 months prior to the program end date. Please follow these steps to request an extension of your I-20:

    1. Download the extension form. Complete the top part and request that your academic advisor completes the bottom part. Submit to International Student Services.
    2. Your academic advisor will need to send an email to International Student Services stating that the need for the extension is beyond the student’s control and for what reason (example: the student added a minor or changed majors). The email needs to state the new estimated graduation date.
    3. Complete the financial affidavit to show that you have enough money to pay for the extra time to complete the program. You will complete page 1, and your financial sponsor will complete page 2 with a witness signature.
    4. Please have your financial sponsor submit 3 months of bank statements or an official bank letter to show that they have enough funds in their account to cover the expenses. If you only need an extension for 1 more semester, then the sponsor only needs to show half of the funds requested on the financial affidavit.