Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Student Sections: Prospective Students, Admitted Students, Current Students, CPT, OPT
FAQs for Prospective Students
International application processes and requirements vary based on application types. Note that graduate applicants should also review program-specific admission criteria, deadlines and requirements. https://www.memphis.edu/academics/ugmajors.php
Deadlines to apply to the UofM vary based on application type. Follow the links below.
For immigration purposes, international students must provide proof of sufficient funds for the first academic year of study at the University of Memphis based on an estimated calculation of the total cost of attendance which includes tuition, fees, and living expenses. Fee Charts & Fee Payment - University & Student Business Services - The University of Memphis
Are there scholarships and assistantships for international students?
While most U.S. federal financial aid is restricted to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, international students may apply to other funding sources. There are funding opportunities for undergraduate and graduate international students, including scholarships and assistantships, depending on the area of study. Scholarships - International Student Services - The University of Memphis
International students must demonstrate English proficiency to enter a degree-seeking program at the University of Memphis. Additional Admission Requirements for International Students - Graduate Admissions - The University of Memphis
SAT and ACT scores can be useful for placement in mathematics courses and receiving an invitation to join the University of Memphis Helen Hardin Honors College. Admissions Freshman Requirements - Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation - The University of Memphis.
Degree certificates, final and/or official transcripts are not generally required as a pre-condition of admission to the University of Memphis, and admission decisions will be processed prior to receipt of these documents. They should be submitted to undergraduate or graduate school as they become available or upon your arrival at the University of Memphis. Please note that official transcripts are original transcripts delivered directly from the institution in a sealed envelope. Registrar Office Transcript Request Form
The University of Memphis undergraduate, graduate students who have completed university-level academic credit at another institution in the U.S, may be able to apply some of those credits towards a degree at the University of Memphis. Transferring Credit to the UofM
Supplemental materials that were not attached to the application may be submitted by email, fax, or postal mail. Note that official test scores must be reported directly from the testing agency to the University of Memphis; the institutional code to report TOEFL or GRE scores is 1459. Please use the link below to communicate with the undergraduate and graduate office on where to send the supplemental materials.
Undergraduate students visit: Freshmen Apply for Undergraduate Admission - Undergraduate Admissions and Orientation - The University of Memphis
Graduate students visit: https://www.memphis.edu/graduateadmissions/future/admproc.php
FAQ's for Admitted Students
Due to COVID-19, the Student Exchange and Visitor Program is allowing I-20s to be sent to students electronically to their email addresses
Visit the U.S. Department of State for a step-by-step guide on applying for an F-1 visa (I-20). You may also contact the U.S. consulate office in your home country for information about applying for a U.S. visa. https://www.usembassy.gov/. Note that a SEVIS fee is required when a new I-20 is issued with a new SEVIS number. https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901.
You are responsible for arranging housing during your studies at the University of Memphis. Housing options are available on the main campus as well as off-campus through private apartment communities. Please follow the link to the residence life for more information about on-campus housing. https://www.memphis.edu/reslife/
All international students are required to have health insurance coverage in effect on the first day of classes. Health insurance must be purchased for the academic year or, at the minimum, the entire semester. https://www.memphis.edu/iss/insurance/index.php
Incoming students from countries identified by the CDC as high-risk for tuberculosis exposure will be required to have testing done at the University of Memphis Student Health Center.
To view UofM's TB requirements, please go to https://www.memphis.edu/health/immunization/tb_skin.php.
To schedule an appointment with the Health Center, go to https://www.memphis.edu/health/about/appointments.php.
International Student Orientation is a mandatory program for newly admitted international students designed to facilitate a smooth academic, social, geographic, and professional transition to the University of Memphis. More information will be sent to you about orientation after you have been accepted to the University of Memphis.
During International Student Orientation, you will have the option of opening a U.S. bank account with the bank on campus or you may open a bank account off-campus.
A semester invoice is sent to all students who are registered for classes via TigerXpress located in your MyMemphis account. The semester invoice will include the tuition, fees, room, and board for those who are staying on campus. Recommended payment methods for international students include:
- Wire transfer. U of M participates with Flywire to facilitate overseas payment into student accounts.
- Online banking. Once you have opened a U.S. bank account, you can set up electronic payment through MyMemphis Payment and Account Information.
- By check. Opening a checking account with a U.S. bank allows you to write checks for payment of tuition and fees.
FAQ's for OPT
After thoroughly reading the instructions, and attending an OPT workshop, you should complete the OPT application
The fee to mail a completed OPT packet is $410. This fee can be paid with a personal check or money order made payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" with your SEVIS ID number in the memo line.
For credit card payment, submit form G-1450, authorized payment amount to $410. You may only use a credit card account with a U.S. billing address - no foreign billing address is allowed. You can use cards with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.
You should apply no earlier than 90 days before the completion of your coursework and no later than graduation. You should not wait for a job offer to apply, as there is no expedited processing available for OPT.
After satisfying all requirements in the OPT program on the International Portal, it will take CIES advisors approximately 4-7 days for processing. Once the new I-20 is produced, the student will be sent a scanned copy to be used in the I-765 application. The packet must be sent to USCIS within 30 days of the DSO recommendation for OPT.
After it has been received by USCIS, it is taking an average of 90 days to adjudicate the application you submitted. You can view the Texas Service Center processing times here. Choose the "I-765 Application for Employment Authorization" and select the "Texas Service Center".
No. You must wait for the USCIS to respond to your request for work permission. Until you have the EAD card, you are not legal to work.
International students are allowed 12 months of full-time Optional Practical Training per degree level. This means that you may be eligible for 12 months of OPT after a bachelor's degree earned inside the U.S., 12 more months of OPT after a U.S. master's degree and then 12 more months after completing a PhD.
F-1 visa holders are allowed a maximum of 90 days of unemployment while on their initial 12 months of OPT. Any student who is not employed within the first 90 days of their OPT card start date will be considered in violation of their status. Volunteer jobs do count as employment, but you need to get documentation of the volunteer work. The government can ask to see proof of employment.
F-1 status continues while on OPT, which means that the ISS Office must report your status and employer information to the government while you are on OPT
There are two types of OPT extensions available. Each extension has restrictive policies that may not apply to all students. You should check with the ISS Office to determine if you qualify for either type of extension.
Extension 1: STEM — 24 Month Extension
OPT extensions are available for some F-1s who have completed coursework in a government-selected list of approved majors. The STEM-category majors are listed here: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/eligible-cip-codes-for-the-stem-opt-extension
Additionally the F-1 must be employed with an E-Verify registered company. A form I-983 must be completed by both the student and the company, signed by the company and submitted to the ISS Office, where the new I-20 will be produced for the extension.
Extension 2: Cap Gap Extension
F-1s who are currently on OPT with a pending H1B application may also qualify for a temporary extension, regardless of their major. Any major qualifies for this H1B "Cap Gap" extension. No E-Verify is required for this extension and no special major is required, but the H1B application must be in progress. You should be prepared to show your H1B application receipt number.
OPT time cannot be returned or saved if you cancel the card early or decide to return to school full-time. If an F-1 student requests a new I-20 for a new degree program during the OPT time, it will cancel the OPT. F-1 visa holders are allowed to take part-time classes while on OPT but are not required to take classes.
Registering a SEVP Portal account after receiving authorization is necessary to report employer details, address changes, etc.
Your employer needs to keep a photocopy of your OPT card to prove that you are legal to work. They also need a social security number to comply with tax laws. You are allowed to work for more than one employer and can change jobs while on OPT. Jobs must be related to your course of study and appropriate for your degree level. You should NOT use OPT for student worker jobs or graduate assistantships.
F-1 students on OPT are allowed to travel domestically in the U.S. with no special
paperwork requirements. HOWEVER: Travel outside of the U.S. is always uncertain. There
have been a few cases of OPT students being denied re-entry to the U.S. At some border
points, OPT students have been asked to show proof of a job, their OPT card, their
valid F-1 visa and I-20.
*Travel outside of the U.S. is at the students' own discretion.
If not taking OPT, you have a 60-day grace period after completion of the academic program in which you can:
- Leave the U.S.
- Change visa status
- Sign an I-20 for a new degree program
You are allowed a 60-day grace period following the expiration of your OPT card. During this 60-day period, you may pack and leave the U.S. OR obtain a new I-20 for a different degree program OR move to a new visa type.
F-1 visa students using OPT must remain in contact with the International Students Office. Your International Student Advisor will update SEVIS with your address changes and employment information. You may also upload the information to your SEVP portal.
*Your UofM email may expire after graduation, so another email address will need to be provided as well.
Checklist for First-Time OPT Applications (Initial 12 Months of OPT)
Complete the OPT Application
- A scan of a completed and signed form I-765
- A scan of a completed and signed form I-538 - be sure to include the planned OPT start date on this form
- A scan of the your passport data page, showing your name, birthdate and passport expiration. Note that the passport must be more than 6 months from expiration.
- Your academic department must provide an estimate of your last semester of enrollment. This does not need to be an elaborate letter, but the ISS Office must confirm that you are at the end of your academic program in order to proceed with OPT processing.
- Notify the ISS Office of any pending Permanent Residence Application, Change of Status, or other visa issues.