Keep your I-20/DS-2019 Up-to-Date

It is important to keep all information on your I-20/DS-2019 accurate. Work with OIS to update your document for:

  • Change of Major
  • Change of Degree Level
  • Change in Funding
  • Change in Biographical Information (citizenship, name, gender, etc.)
  • Change in Enrollment Status
  • Adding Dependents
  • Employment Information
  • Any other information included on your I-20/DS-2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for F-1 students and the Department of State (DOS) for J-1 students each have regulations regarding how to maintain visa status. As long as you continually meet these obligations, you will be considered “in status” or “maintaining your visa status.” International Student Advisors are available to answer questions and assist you with maintaining your status; however, it is your responsibility to know and follow the regulations.

​Helpful Tips

  1. Your passport should have at least 6 months of validity at all times - contact your Embassy to renew or extend your passport

  2. Update all US address changes through IP Connect within 10 days of any move

  3. Health insurance is required for all OSU students and their dependents

  4. In order to change your major on your I-20, you must first receive approval from the Office of the Registrar or the Graduate School

  5. Register for a full course of study each term

  6. ALL employment is highly regulated, please review our website and receive authorization before accepting any employment

  7. Review travel information and obtain the necessary documents before traveling outside the US

  8. Request a program extension before the end date listed on your I-20/DS-2019 if you need more time to finish your degree

  9. All international students’ SEVIS records are monitored by the US Department of Homeland Security and therefore you may be contacted at any time regarding your immigration status. Please speak with OIS if you are contacted by an immigration official.

  10. In cases where students do not maintain their immigration status there may be some options available to regain valid F-1 and J-1 status. It can be a stressful and potentially expensive process and may impact your ability to complete your program. Please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor if you have any questions about specific situations and how they may impact your immigration status. Any emails from OIS regarding a SEVIS termination should be taken very seriously and responded to immediately.

Change of Degree Level

When you complete a program at OSU or INTO OSU and start a new education level, you will need to update your I-20 to reflect the change of degree level. Remember to:

  • Attend orientation for your new program

  • Submit updated immigration documents when instructed

  • Register full-time in the first term of your new program.

To update your I-20:
  1. Be formally admitted to the new program

  2. Submit new financial information

  3. Pick up your new I-20 at OIS after receiving notification

Additional Information on Changing Levels

Traveling between one level and the next can be tricky due to the time needed to confirm your admission and create your new I-20. In any case, you will not need to apply for a new F-1 visa simply because you have changed education levels. If your current visa is already expired and you leave the US, it is best to use the new I-20 to apply for a new visa.

I-20s are typically created within the first 2 weeks of the new program. If you will need yours earlier in order to renew your visa, please email us to request special processing.

In some circumstances, you may be able to travel with your previous I-20. In this case, all of the following must be true:

  • You do not need to renew your visa

  • Your previous I-20 is valid at least 1 term into the future and has a travel signature less than 1 year old

  • You are progressing from an INTO OSU program

We always recommend that students who are changing from one degree to another (Bachelors to Masters; Masters to PhD) use the new I-20 for travel outside the US, especially if a visa renewal is needed.

If you want to take a break between programs that will last 1 term or more, please speak to an international student advisor before you finalized your plans. Some breaks will require you to submit additional paperwork and may require a new SEVIS fee payment.

If you are working in a period of Optional Practical Training, we cannot create a new I-20 until you are finished with your employment. You will need to use the new I-20 for travel after completing your employment. You can use your previous I-20 to travel if you will be returning before the end of your employment.