Future International Students
Congratulations on your decision to study in the United States of America! At Evangel University, you will receive an outstanding Christ-centered education. Our campus is located in Springfield, Missouri, which is easily accessed by air through service at the Springfield-Branson National Airport (SGF). Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, you will love the amenities, friendly people, and easy-going style of our community.
At EU, you will meet new friends from nearly every state in the U.S. and from many nations around the world. You will feel right at home and thrive here under our faculty mentors and supportive staff.
Your admissions counselor will be your point of contact for all information related to securing admission and assistance with required documents to obtain your F-1 student visa and I-20.
How can the International Student Services help you?
International Student Services Office
The International Student Services Office is located in the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, on the North side of the Evangel Campus in the Vern Clark Veteran’s Center. Here, you can ask questions about your F-1 status or get contact information for student services. Whatever your need, International Student Services Office is here to serve you.
International Student Services are committed to international student success by:
- Creating a culture of trust and diversity.
- Ensuring that international students have a point of contact for their needs.
- Confirming that international students are in F-1 status and remain in F-1 status
Below are the forms that you will need:
International Student Coordinator & Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)
International Student Checklist
The following checklist items must be completed to ensure you are able to enter the United States and ensure you are in F-1 status when entering the country.
Admission and Registration
We recommend beginning your admission and registration by following the steps below:
- Complete an EU/AGTS online admissions application
- Talk with your admissions counselor on for application assistance.
- Complete the following requirement to receive your Form I-20:
- You will need to be approved for admission to Evangel University or AGTS. Please visit the admissions pages of our website for specific information.
- You will need to provide evidence of your ability to study in English. International students who have previously studied successfully at an English speaking school have fulfilled this requirement. International students whose language of instruction was not in English, or whose first language is not English, are required to show proficiency by submitting scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please visit the admissions pages [Link to TOEFL Page] of our website for specific information.
- You will need to show evidence of financial ability to pay for your education while in the United States. The DHS requires applicants to show one full year of estimated expenses for educational costs and living expenses. To show financial ability to pay, here are the requirements:
- Submit a $5,000 down payment to Evangel University/AGTS. Payment can be made through your student portal, or wired to Evangel University. Complete and submit the Evangel Financial Guarantee Form [Link to Forms Page] and submit a separate bank letter or affidavit on bank letterhead, signed by a bank official. This information and requirement is listed on the Financial Guarantee Form.
- Complete your enrollment with Evangel University. The International Student Office cannot issue an I-20 prior to you receiving your acceptance letter (see below).
When Your Acceptance Letter Comes…
- Submit a copy of your passport (apply for a passport as soon as possible if you do not have one). EU/AGTS must receive a copy of your passport in order to issue you a Form I-20.
- Obtain a Form I-20 by completing the Financial Guarantee Form. A letter from the institution on letterhead with seal and signature is required, verifying the financial ability of the Guarantor. Please submit a clear photocopy of the biographic page of your passport. If you currently hold a visa in the U.S., please provide a clear copy of that as well. Please send your Financial Guarantee Form, bank statements and supporting documents at your earliest convenience so we can start processing your Form I-20.
- Pay SEVIS I-901 fee online once you receive your Form I-20. To pay the I-901 fee, complete the following:
- Go to fmjfee.com and click on the “PAY I-901 FEE” button at the top of the page.
- Complete the fields on the screen titled “Applicant Validation.” Enter your information exactly how it appears on your completed Form I-20 or DS-2019 before clicking “Submit.”
- Click the drop-down arrow in the Please Select Form Type field and select the form you will use to enter the United States: Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. Be prepared to enter additional information, listed below:
- Given Name
- Country of Birth
- Email Address
- Physical Address Information
- Country of Citizenship
- School Code (need school code here)
- Review payment conditions. Click the box “I Agree” to indicate that you have read the form and agree to its payment conditions. Click “continue.”
- Review form information in the screen titled “Form I-901 Review.” If your information is correct, choose your payment method. If your information is incorrect, click “Return to Form I-901” to correct your information.
- If you selected “Credit Card Payment” as your payment method, you will be taken to the page where you can enter your card information. Follow the fields and click continue when finished.
Please note: If you are from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon or Kenya, you are ineligible to pay online. As such, you will need to fill out the I-901 Form online and then select “Pay with a Check or Money Order” or “Pay through Western Union Quick Pay.” Print out your payment coupon and mail it with your payment.
- Complete “Check I-901 Status” page. Re-enter your SEVIS ID, last name, and date of birth exactly as it appears on your Form I-20 or DS-2019. Click “Check Status/View Payment Confirmation” to continue.
Visa Application Preparation
Documents you will need in order to complete your Visa Application (DS-160):
- Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
- Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States, if you have previously travelled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae. You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
- Other Information. Some applicants, depending on the intended purpose of travel, will be asked to provide additional information when completing the DS-160.
How to Complete the DS-160 Application:
- Go to ceac.state.gov/genniv to begin your application.
- Click on the button labeled “Start a New Application.”
- Write down the Application ID displayed on the top right-hand corner of the page. If you need to close the browser before submitting your application, you will need this Application ID to continue your application.
- Follow the instructions on each page. Make sure you answer all the questions—if you do not, your application may not be accepted. Please Note: Your answers must be in English and must use the English alphabet. That means you cannot use letters like ñ, é, ü, or ç. For example, instead of writing “São Paulo,” write “Sao Paulo”. There is only one exception to this rule, which is when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet; then you can use non-English characters.
- Review answers once all the questions are answered to ensure they are correct.
- Click on the “Sign Application” button to sign your application electronically.
- Submit your application. When you do, you will see a confirmation page on your screen with a barcode.
- Following the completion of your application, be sure to pay the application fee.
If you have previously submitted a DS-160 application, you may use that information to complete a new application. You will need the Application ID from your previously submitted application to do this. To access previously submitted application information, click the “RETRIEVE AN APPLICATION” button and follow the instructions. If you use this option to complete a new application, please make sure to carefully review it to ensure that all information is current and correct.
- Contact your corresponding U.S. embassy or consulate to schedule your visa interview.
- Prepare the required documents for your visa interview. In addition to filling out the Form DS-160 online, check the website for the US Consulate/Embassy where you will be interviewed to see what documents are required. The required documents are as follows:
- Admission Letter
- Form I-20
- Proof of funding/sponsorship as reflected on the form I-20
- Proof ties to your home country and intent to return after studying
- Any other recommendations based on the embassy website
Scheduling an F-1 Student Visa Interview
How and When to Schedule Your F-1 Visa Interview:
It is important to schedule your Visa Interview as soon as possible after receiving your Form I-20 and paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee.
To identify the U.S. embassy or consulate that is most convenient for you to visit, visit this link: usembassy.gov
Arriving for Your F-1 Visa Interview:
When arriving for your appointment, a consular official will electronically scan your fingerprints and expect you to have the following completed documentation with you for the interview:
- Form I-20 issued by EU/AGTS.
- Printed Form DS-160, “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application,” confirmation page.
- Passport valid for at least six months after you plan to enter the United States.
- A two-inch by two-inch photo of yourself. Learn more about photo requirements at the link below: state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.hmtl
- Receipt for your visa application fee payment.
- Receipt for your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment.
Preparing for and Attending Your Visa Interview
In preparation for your visa interview, you should be prepared to tell the consular officer who will conduct your F-1 Student Visa interview about your plans while in the United States and what you will do when you have completed your studies. You should also be prepared to show the following:
- You have received acceptance to EU/AGTS. Bring a copy of your acceptance letter.
- You have the financial ability to pay for school costs plus living expenses (the amount shown on Form I-20). You should bring copies of financial documents you provided to EU. These documents are evidence of the preparations you have made to finance your stay (e.g., bank statements).
- You are prepared for the academic program in which you plan to enroll. You may want to bring copies of any standardized test scores, academic transcripts, diplomas or certificates from previous study you provided as part of your application to EU.
- Your stay in the United States is temporary (i.e., you are not permanently immigrating).
- The interviewing official may be interested in how you intend to use the education you receive in the United States when you return home.
WORDS OF CAUTION (AS LISTED ON DHS WEBSITE)
- Proofread all of your travel-related documents (i.e., Form I-20, Form I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt and F-1 Student Visa) to ensure they are correct. Especially make sure your name and birth date are written exactly the same way on all your documents. If you find an error in a document, have it corrected by the people who completed the document before you apply for the next document in the process.
- Proofread your visa when the consular official returns your passport to you – mistakes in the visa information cannot be corrected once you travel. If you find a mistake in your biographical data or your visa type, contact the embassy or consulate to ask officials to correct the error.
- Be skeptical of anyone who claims the ability to either provide a document that you need or to get you a visa other than as this guidance suggests. If you are deliberate and prepare carefully for each of these steps in obtaining travel authorization and F-1Student Visa status, you can succeed by yourself!
Preparing for Travel to the United States
Before you leave for the United States, you need to ensure you pack the following documents:
- I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status
- I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt
- Copy of the Financial Guarantee Form
- Contact information for the EU International Student Office (see footer below)
- Address where you are living while in the United States
When you arrive, you will receive an I-94 and enter the US. The following are instructions from the Study in the States website:
The Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record” is a critical record. It shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct.
If you arrive by a land port, you will receive a paper Form I-94. If you arrive at the port of entry by air or sea, an automated Form I-94 record will automatically be generated for you by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP will provide you with an admission stamp on your passport that is annotated with date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date. The electronic arrival/departure record can be obtained at www.cbp.gov/I94.
You have 30 days to enter the country before your official program start date, which is recorded in SEVIS. You must report to your school by the program start date listed on the Form I-20 you received. This is one of the rules you agree to when you received your student or exchange visitor status. If you do not follow this rule, you are not maintaining your status.
It is best to contact the PDSO immediately after entering the country so that there is no question of your arrival. If you cannot enter the United States for the term listed on your Form I-20 or if you will be late by a few days, immediately contact your designated school officials so that they can accurately enter this information in your SEVIS record [see contact information below]. The PDSOs number is 417-268-1041.
- Set-up and access your EU email. This is extremely important.
- Immunization Records – Prior to your enrollment, you will need to visit your doctor and together complete the Medical Assessment Form. You will also need your immunization records to submit to Student Health. You must have all the required immunizations listed on the provided health information sheet. See Health Requirements tab.
- Healthcare expenses are costly and EU recommends that international students obtain health insurance. See Health Insurance tab.
- Ask your admissions counselor about housing options. Housing options differ depending on your program, budget, and family situation. There are also requirements for undergraduate freshmen to live on campus.
- Download the free Canvas Student App located in the App Store or Google Play. Sign- in with your student log-in credentials and access several campus resources, your class schedule, student clubs, and more.
- Make sure to arrange a ride from the airport to EU. Contact Dane Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are not able to make arrangements.
When you are ON CAMPUS…
- When you are at EU/AGTS, stop by the International Student Office in the Veteran’s Center of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary Building (rear entrance).
- Bring your passport and I-20.
- Fill out the Maintaining F-1 Student Status form.
- Attend the International Student Orientation (IMPORTANT!)
- Review the Academic Calendar for registration and payment deadlines. .
- Check CANVAS often to ensure you know which books you need for your classes, class start times, messages from your professors, and much more.
Visit the International Student Office for questions and information, but most importantly for fellowship. Please check your email regularly. We can’t wait to meet you!
Evangel University Health Requirements (Traditional Undergraduate Only)
Please complete the following health steps ahead of time to ensure there are no delays in the registration process (the health requirements do not apply to graduate or AGTS students). Your health information must be complete in order for you to finish registration and be officially enrolled.
- Health History and Immunization Form: New students who are enrolled in 6 credit hours or more must complete this form. This form cannot be completed on-line. It must be completed with your handwritten signature (or your parent’s signature if you are under age 18).
- Official documentation of your current Tetanus and MMR vaccines: This could be copies of medical records, school records, official signed immunization cards and insurance receipts. We require:
- Up-to-date Tetanus Vaccine—Within the past 10 years.
- Two doses of MMR Vaccine—Two doses given after age 1, at least 30 days apart.
- On-Line TB Screening Survey: This survey is easy to complete. Although your specific answers will not affect the registration process, you do need to answer these questions in order for your health information to be complete.
- Log into your student portal.
- Click on Registration Checklist on the left side of the page.
- Select the semester for which you are registering. For example, FA-21 (Undergraduate or JRLC)
- That will open your Registration Checklist. If your Health and Immunization status is not complete, click on the word Update. This will open another page that will take you to the TB Screening Survey.
- After you submit the survey, you may need to refresh the Registration Checklist page to update your status. NOTE: If you are unable to open the survey link, you may need to temporarily turn off the pop-up blocker on your computer.
How to check your status: If you have already submitted your health information, you can check your status by looking at the Registration Checklist page on your student portal. If your health information is not complete, click on the word Update to see which items you still need to complete.
For federal Covid-19 restrictions and requirements, please visit the following link:
Please feel free to contact Health Services if you have any questions.
Susie Bryan, MSN, RN, FNPC
Family Nurse Practitioner
Director of Health Services
Phone: 417-865-2815, ext. 7280
International Student Health Insurance
Evangel University recommends all international students obtain medical insurance. Medical costs can become extremely expensive in the United States and medical insurance covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses. Evangel University has partnered with “Relation Education Solutions” to provide reasonable insurance premiums and deductibles (see links below).
International Student Athletes
International student athletes are required to obtain insurance as a prerequisite in participating in collegiate sports at Evangel University. Please follow the links below for more information.
International Student Protection –
Trailblazer Plan – https://coverage2u.com/school/evangel-university/
Pioneer Elite Plan (Athletes) – https://coverage2u.com/school/evangel-university-athletes-2-2-2-2/
International Student Employment Rules
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have strict rules on employment for international students in F-1 status. These rules are fairly simple but must be followed to prevent the student from being deported due to a violation of these rules. Please keep the following guidelines:
- Upon initial entry to begin a new course of study, an F-1 student may not begin on-campus employment more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes.
- F-1 students are generally permitted to work part-time on the premises of the school that issued their currently valid I-20, with the school as the employer, while they are attending that school and maintaining their F-1 status, subject to the restrictions discussed in this section. This type of employment does not require P/DSO authorization or updates to the SEVIS record.
- On-campus employment must either be performed on the school’s premises, (including on-location commercial firms which provide services for students on campus, such as the school bookstore or cafeteria), or at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school. Employment with on-site commercial firms, such as a construction company building a school building, which do not provide direct student services is not deemed on-campus employment for the purposes of this paragraph. In the case of off-campus locations, the educational affiliation must be associated with the school’s established curriculum or related to contractually funded research projects at the post-graduate level. In any event, the employment must be an integral part of the student’s educational program.
- Employment authorized under this paragraph must not exceed 20 hours a week while school is in session. An F-1 student may, however, work on campus full-time when school is not in session or during the annual vacation.
- Off campus employment is usually not authorized except under extreme economic circumstances.
- Although on-campus work authorization does not require specific DSO approval under DHS regulations, the Social Security Administration requires a letter from the DSO when a student applies for a social security number on the basis of on-campus employment (See Obtaining a Social Security Card page). [Link to Social Security Page]
- An F-1 or M-1 student may work while the Social Security number application is being processed. Employers may wish to reference Social Security’s fact sheet, Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers. This fact sheet contains information on how to report wages for an employee who has not yet received an SSN and is available online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm . There is no provision in the Social Security Act (the Act) that employers must have their employees’ SSNs before hiring them. Neither is there any provision in the Act that prohibits an employee from beginning work if he or she has not yet obtained an SSN.
If you have questions concerning on campus employment, please see the International Student Coordinator.
Obtaining a Social Security Card
The Social Security Administration issues a nine-digit number that allows employers to report wages to the United States government. This number is recorded on a card that allows the user to supply this information to their employer or other agency as another form of identification. Once obtained, this card is vitally important and the user must secure this number to protect against identity theft. Before going to the Social Security office, please obtain the following documents
- An on-campus employment authorization letter from the DSO (International Student Coordinator)
- Employment verification letter from the on-campus employer
For the instructions on how to obtain a Social Security Card, please visit the following link:
Obtaining a Driver’s License
A driver’s license is required to operate a motor vehicle in all states and territories of the United States of America. In the state of Missouri, there are several documents that are needed to obtain a driver’s license. One of the main concerns in obtaining a driver’s license in Missouri is US citizenship. Although this is not listed on the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website, you will show residency by supplying them with your passport, visa, and I-20 to show residency. You will also need to show them your Social Security card (see the Obtaining a Social Security Card page). Follow the link below to get instructions on obtaining a Missouri Driver’s License:
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a type of training designed to give the F-1 student hands on experience while they are still completing their studies. Although the student will work off-campus (in most cases), CPT is not an off-campus work authorization. The CPT authorization allows the student to work off-campus for credit towards the student’s major of study. To qualify for CPT, the following criteria must be met:
- Student has been enrolled on a full-time basis for at least a full academic year.
- The internship or work training must relate directly to the student’s major area of study.
- The internship or work training must be an integral part of the school’s established curriculum. In other words, your degree plan must include an internship component.
- The student must be able to complete CPT before the program end date on the I-20.
- Student must secure the internship or training opportunity before CPT is authorized by the DSO (Note: please let the International Student Office know that you are considering CPT to ensure you are eligible before doing the work of finding an internship).
- CPT must be authorized BEFORE the student can begin work.
- One full year of full-time CPT disqualifies a student from Optional Practical Training (OPT).
The student will look for off-campus internships or practical training opportunities (jobs) that are full-time or part-time opportunities. Part-time opportunities do not effect OPT and it is recommended that the F-1 student seek part-time work (limited to 20 hours a week). Full-time work will effect OPT and the number of months that a student remains on CPT will be removed from their OPT eligibility time. The work can be a paid or unpaid internship. Even if the internship is unpaid, a CPT request must be submitted. Below are the steps to apply for CPT at Evangel University:
- Before seeking CTP opportunities, contact the International Student Office to ensure you qualify for CPT.
- Contact your academic advisor to ensure that your program of study (major) has an internship component and you will receive credit for your internship or practical training (this is required for CPT).
- Seek internship or practical training opportunities and apply for work. The work can be a paid or unpaid internship. Even if the internship is unpaid, a CPT request must be submitted.
- Complete the top portion of the CPT Authorization Form.
- Send the completed form to your academic advisor to complete the bottom portion of the form for authorization.
- After your academic advisor completes the bottom portion of the form, he or she will submit the form to the International Student Services Office to complete your authorization in SEVIS and print a new I-20.
If you have further questions, please contact International Student Services at (417)268-1041.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a type of training where F-1 students can receive up to one year of hands on training in the field of their study during or after they have completed their degree program (graduated). Here are the guidelines for OPT:
- The student has been a full-time student for one academic year
- The student has not used all optional practical training available at the current level of study.
- The student has not been authorized for 12 months or more of full-time Curricular Practical Training (CPT). Note: Full-time CPT at a previous school at the same program level counts toward the CPT 12-month total affecting OPT. CPT at another program level does not affect OPT.
- Student must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at an SEVP-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT.
- Available both before and after completion of the educational objective, but different rules apply to pre- and post- completion OPT.
- Students in English language training programs are not eligible for OPT.
- Part-time F-1 “border commuter students” are eligible only for CPT and post-completion OPT. OPT must be “directly related to the student’s major area of study.”
- Students may engage in OPT for any employer for the duration of OPT authorization, as long as the employment qualifies under OPT standards.
- Standard OPT is available for a cumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level;
- Use of pre-completion OPT impacts availability of post-completion OPT – Full-time OPT is deducted from the 12 month cumulative limit at the full-time rate; Part-time pre-completion OPT is deducted from the 12 month cumulative limit at a 50% rate.
- A 24-month extension of post-completion is available to certain STEM degree recipients.
Hours per week
- 20 hours/week limit for pre-completion OPT done while school is in session and student still has coursework to complete.
- Full-time employment can be requested for pre-completion OPT done during official school breaks, and for students who have completed all requirements for their degree except for thesis or dissertation.
- For standard post-completion OPT and STEM OPT, a student must be adequately employed to avoid limits on unemployment. Once approved, the student may not use more than 90 days of unemployment.
Field/level of work
- Must be directly related to the student’s major field of study.
Offer of employment
- No offer of employment is required to apply for standard OPT, but the student is expected to work during the OPT EAD validity period, and must report employment. Students on post-completion OPT are limited to an aggregate maximum of 90 days of unemployment.
- To apply for a STEM OPT extension, student must have an offer of employment from an employer registered with E-Verify. Students on a STEM OPT extension are permitted additional days of unemployment, depending on the STEM OPT rule that governs their extension:
Effect on other work
- Prior use of full-time Curricular Practical Training for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
- Contact Evangel University International Student Services. A DSO will determine the student’s eligibility to apply for OPT and will advise the student on terms and conditions of maintaining status while on OPT
- The DSO will recommend OPT in SEVIS
- Print and follow the OPT checklist. [Link to OPT Checklist PDF] Be advised, there are time limits to complete the OPT process. Start completing the checklist as soon as the DSO has approved your OPT in SEVIS.
- Student files I-765 application with USCIS for EAD card.
- Work can begin only after receiving EAD issued by USCIS, and on or after the start date on the EAD
- Special rules govern applications for the STEM OPT extension
- If doing pre-completion OPT, student must maintain a full course of study during the period of employment (unless done during school breaks).
- Degree candidates that have completed all coursework must continue to make normal progress towards completing their thesis or dissertation required for their degree.
- Students must report to their DSO any change in the student’s name and address and employer name and address; DSOs must update SEVIS with this information within 21 days of being notified by the student. Students approved for STEM OPT extensions are subject to additional reporting requirements.
- Pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT must be filed for on separate applications. A student cannot apply for combined pre-completion OPT and post-completion OPT on the same application.
Reference – https://am.nafsa.org/manual/55-f-1-students/68-optional-practical-training-opt/116-opt-background