The International Student Office is here to help you succeed.
We understand as an international student you have more to worry about than your domestic counterparts. Our primary goal is to ensure you maintain valid immigration status.
The International Student Office staff serve as Designated School Officials (DSO) for F-1 students or Responsible Officer (ROs) for J-1 students. The DSO/RO is your primary source for information on immigration rules and regulations. DSOs/ROs keep your record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) up-to-date, which is mandatory under U.S. federal law. To do this, we require your help.
We need to know if you
Below are the most common information international students ask for. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can reach us at email@example.com or 214-887-5369
You will want to become very familiar with the Department of Homeland Security Study in the States website. Study in the States offers free government resources that explain the rules and regulations governing the international student process in the United States.
Study in the States clearly explains the student visa process, enhances coordination among government agencies, and keeps international students and the U.S. academic community better informed about pertinent rules and regulations.
Your immigration status is just that – your responsibility. Take ownership of this important responsibility.
It is important for you understand your responsibilities as an international student on a nonimmigrant visa. Upon initial arrival to campus, you must check-in with the International Student Office (located on the first floor of Stearns Hall) so we may register your Form I-20 and activate your immigration record.
Here are a few other basic requirements to maintain your immigration status:
It is important you keep proper documentation of your immigration status.
Here are the documents you should always have on-hand:
It is your responsibility to monitor expiration dates on your immigration documents. Take note of the program end date listed on your Form I-20 or Form and the expiration date listed on your visa and set calendar reminders. Ask the International Student Office staff how to renew or extend your documents before the expiration date, or you will go out of status.
You are required to be enrolled full time (12 credit hours per fall and spring semester) during the academic year.
Exceptions to the full-time enrollment rule may be granted for the following reasons:
All of the above require advanced approval from the International Student Office. If you need to drop below full time, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options.
Do not begin any type of employment — job, internship, volunteer work or otherwise — without first checking with the International Student Office and receiving proper authorization. Violating this rule will jeopardize your ability to legally stay in the U.S. and continue your studies.
See additional information below under On-Campus Employment or CPT or OPT.
F-1 students have a 60-day grace period to depart the U.S. upon program completion and J-1 students have a 30-day grace period.
Other options to extend your stay include but are not limited to:
Plan ahead and contact the International Student if you wish to pursue any of these options.
With immigration, it is important to remember many decisions are outside of our control as a seminary. If a DSO learns you have violated your immigration status in any way, he our she must take appropriate action, which may include the termination of your Form I-20.
Common termination reasons include:
If you go “out of status,” inform the International Student Office staff immediately to discuss your options for regaining status. We will do everything we can to support you, but please help us by always reading and responding to emails!
Most issues can be resolved with your cooperation.
You must have a valid passport at all times when studying in the US. As a general rule, passports should have at least six months of validity when traveling internationally. Most countries will not permit a traveler to enter their country unless the passport is set to expire at least six months after the final day of travel.
These are forms from the university listing the program details. You must have your I-20 each time you enter the US.
Please don’t forget the I-20 should be re-signed by the International Student Office staff each year for international travel. DO NOT LEAVE THE US WITHOUT THIS SIGNATURE!
The visa is the travel document required to enter the US. Even if the visa expires while you are in the US, this is not a problem and does not mean you are out of status. The visa is only used to enter the US.
The I-94 is the record you have entered the US. In addition, it lists the immigration status and confirms you may stay in the US until you finish your program.
All international students are eligible for a total of 20 hours per week of on-campus employment during the fall and spring semester. If you have multiple on-campus jobs (such as grading for multiple professors), you must make sure your total hours from both jobs combined cannot exceed 20 hours per week.
International students may work additional hours during official school breaks such as
In order to be employed as an international student, you must be in valid status, eligible for the type of employment you are seeking, in possession of a Social Security number. Obtaining the Social Security number requires the following:
There is an increasing number of phone and email scams affecting international students. The Department Homeland Security has seen an uptick in housing and rental scams where international students transfer money before they start their program to a fraudulent realtor or landlord, scamming the victims out of hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Other reported scams involve phone calls from alleged government representatives demanding personal information and money with threats of deportation from the United States.
Never give personal information by phone or email to someone you do not know.
Please refer to the links below for helpful resources to educate yourself on protecting your identity and information.
J-1 students: If you are the victim of a scam, please report the incident to Dr. Carisa Ash immediately. DTS is required to report such information to the United States government for J-1 visa students.
Dallas Theological Seminary does not give legal advise to international students on matters of immigration. However, NAFSA (Association of International Educators offers guidelines for working with an immigration attorney.
Yes! If you …
It is important to contact the International Student Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holds are identified in your DTS student account and they might prevent you from registering for classes. The hold will tell you either how to address it or the department to contact.
If there is a hold on your Student Account, contact the International Office and we will direct you to the proper department to assist you with the hold.
Registration occurs in October for spring and winter sessions and in March for summer and fall sessions.
View the Important Dates Calendar to check this year’s dates.
You can apply for scholarships each year between January 1st – January 31st. You can apply for scholarships through your student portal under Finances, Scholarships, & Aid. Click the link that reads “DTS Scholarship Application/LYF App”
You must return home within 60 days after your program end date.
The Payment deadline can be found on the Important Dates Calendar https://students.dts.edu/advising/academic-advising/important-dates/
Changes to your schedule must be finalized by the first day of the semester.
If you are on an F-1 visa, you must take 12 credit hours each semester. 9 of them must be in person and any additional can be online.
Please note that RV courses do not count as on campus.
You can take classes in the summer if you desire to. If you wish to take online classes during the summer, you may do so. Summer is considered an official school break, not a required semester.