International Student Resources
Obtaining a visa with a specific expiration date is not an assurance that you will be able to stay in the U.S. and maintain the visa. Your right to stay in the U.S. may be forfeited at any time if you violate the regulations of your visa status. Compliance with each article below is required.
1. You must maintain a valid passport at all times.
- Apply for renewal at least 6 months before the expiration date.
- Keep copies of passport, visa, I-94 and I-20 with you at all times.
- Any time you travel outside Arkadelphia, keep these original documents with you.
2. You must receive written authorization to make changes to your I-20 activity such as:
- Attending another school
- Transferring to another school
- Changing your degree level
- Changing your major
3. You must complete a full course of study for each spring and fall semester.
- 12 hours for undergraduate students.
- No more than one (3 hours) online or distance learning class per semester.
- Exceptions may be discussed with the Grant Center for International Education.
- Obtain authorization from the Grant Center for International Education before dropping below full-time hours.
4. You must obtain permission from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the Grant Center for International Education before accepting any kind of employment (on or off campus) in the U.S.
- Even one day of work outside DHS guidelines will result in loss of status.
5. On campus work is limited to 20 hours per week when school is in session.
- You must get work authorization every time you add/change your place of work.
- You must have work authorization IN WRITING.
6. You must obtain a new signature on your I-20 BEFORE traveling out of the US.
- Do not pack your I-20 in your checked luggage.
- A minimum of 3 business days is needed to do this.
7. You must complete your course of study on or before the completion date in section 5 of your I-20.
- To request permission to extend this date you must submit an application to the Grant Center for International Education one month before the completion date.
8. Any change of your home country address or phone number must be reported to the Grant Center for International Education within 10 days of the change.
- Report your change of address or phone number by emailing email@example.com.
- Students subject to “Special Registration” requirements also must send an AR-11 SR Form by mail to the US. Department of Homeland Security within 10 days of any change of address.
9. You must maintain email contact with the Grant Center for International Education by checking your official Ouachita Baptist University email address weekly.
10. You must maintain continual health insurance coverage for yourself and any dependents in the U.S. through Gallagher Insurance.
- The Grant Center for International Education must have a copy of your current health insurance card on file at all times.
11. You must obey all federal and state laws.
12. You must leave the U.S. when:
- Your I-20 expires OR you graduate OR you have ended or suspended your Ouachita program as a student.
- Even if your I-20 is still valid, you must leave the U.S. if you are no longer in your program for any reason.
- You may consult the Grant Center for International Education to discuss exceptions to this requirement, such as extending your program, transferring to a new program or participating in Optional Practical Training (OPT).
13. You must submit Form 8843 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Services by April 15 every year.
- You must submit this form even if you did not earn any wages.
- If you have earned wages you must also submit Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.
The international office will host mandatory meetings in the Spring semester to help you fill out and submit these forms. You are responsible for making sure this task is completed each year.
14. Students must attend the mandatory orientation session held at the beginning of the semester for all new international students where they will sign a document stating these rules.
- By signing the form, you agree to comply with the aforementioned requirements.
- You also acknowledge that Ouachita is required by law to terminate an F-1 visa holder’s program if compliance requirements are violated.
F-1 status students are allowed to work on campus no more than 20 hours a week. (Learn more about working and maintaining your F-1 status here.) When a student acquires a job on campus, they must get a U.S. Social Security number and card.
You must apply for a Social Security number in person; the nearest Social Security office is located in Hot Springs (112 Corporate Terrace, Hot Springs, AR 71913 // Phone: 855-531-1685). Its hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m.-12 noon on Wednesdays; it is closed Saturday and Sunday. It is recommended that you call ahead to confirm the office will be open before you leave Arkadelphia.
Be sure to take the following documents with you to Hot Springs:
- Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) (can be filled out on site)
- Current I-20
- Recent copy of your I-94
- Letter from Employer
- Letter from International Advisor
When your Social Security Card arrives in the mail, please bring it to the Grant Center to be copied and put into your file.
Quality and affordable student insurance is provided through Gallagher Insurance for international students at Ouachita. This insurance is compulsory and provides necessary protection for students studying outside their home country.
Many international students choose to open local bank accounts for the sake of convenience. The international education staff can assist you with this once you’re on campus if needed. See below for a list of local banks that are within walking distance of campus:
Degree seeking international students on an F1 student visa are eligible to apply for 12 months of Optional Practical Training. During these 12 months, students can be paid to work in jobs that relate to their area of study. The 12 months can be divided and used during summer months as Pre-completion OPT. Most students choose to apply for permission to work for 12 months after graduation, which is called Post-completion OPT. For more information about the process of applying for OPT, make an appointment to talk with the director of international education.