F-1 Student Visa

If you would like to study as a full-time student in the United States, you will need a student visa. The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.

You may enter in the F-1 visa category provided you meet the following criteria:

  • You must be enrolled in an “academic” educational program, a language-training program, or a vocational program
  • Your school must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement
  • You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution
  • You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency
  • You must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study
  • You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up.


Prerequisite: If you are interested in applying for an F-1 student visa, you need to contact the Information Desk to submit the required documentation to the evaluation committee. If approved, an Acceptance Letter will be issued and you can continue with the admissions process. For a list of required documents please contact


Applicants who are approved by the evaluation committee to study at UNAM – San Antonio with an F-1 student visa must complete an application and pay the non-refundable $80.00 application fee. Other required documents are the affidavit of financial support accompanied by a bank statement or other evidence of funds, and a copy of the photo page of the passport. Once these documents have been received, UNAM – San Antonio will send to the applicant’s address an acceptance letter, the form I-20, and a list of the next steps to follow. If the applicant successfully gains an F-1 visa, they should contact UNAM – San Antonio to make arrangements for registration, tuition payment, placement testing, and arrival in San Antonio. The application and other documents can be downloaded from our website, Applicants can send application materials online or via email. For more information, please visit our website.


Students on F-1 visas must register for the Intensive English Program and a Conversation course, which amounts to 18.5 hours of study per week. Students are required to study full-time while on a student visa. Student visa holders are not allowed to register for Quarter courses or Private courses. Students who do not study at least 18 hours per week, risk forfeiting their student visas. Please keep in mind that the purpose for the proof of income which you must provide the US government for your visa, is to confirm that you have the resources to follow through on any financial responsibilities involved in accomplishing your purpose for being here.  If you hold an F1 Visa, your purpose for being allowed to stay in the country is being a student. This means that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services expects you to already have a budget set aside for taking care of all financial obligations to the school before you even arrive.  It is expected that you would consider this your first financial priority.


Students who already have a student visa and wish to transfer to UNAM – San Antonio must contact the Information Desk to start the transfer process. Transfer students who have F-1 student visas are subject to the same rules and policies as other F-1 students at UNAM – San Antonio. The student will be asked to complete a Transfer-In Form in addition to the other required admission materials. Please see admission policies, attendance policies, etc. for more information. Once accepted, UNAM-San Antonio will issue an Acceptance Letter.


  • You do not have to pay the $350 SEVIS fee again
  • You maintain the same SEVIS ID number

Transfer-in registration procedure:

  1. The student will received a welcome email with the dates the student is expected to register for the new course of study (academic year).
  2. Once the student has registered and payed for the courses, a two-part placement exam will be given.
  3. The DSO will print a new I-20 after the student finishes the registration procedure.


If you are an F-1 student currently enrolled full time (18 hours per week), and intend to register at a University or other academic institution, you must request to the Student Affairs and Registrar office that you wish to transfer your SEVIS record. The student must apply to and be accepted in order to transfer out. UNAM- San Antonio requires a copy of the acceptance letter from the transfer-in university in order to start the transfer process.

SEVIS transfer-out eligibility:

a) Currently be maintaining your F-1 student visa status b) No record of F-1 immigration violations c) Have an admission offer from an Accredited language school or University d) Have paid all your tuition fees e) A ‘Completed’ SEVIS record still within the 60 day grace period

Instructions and transfer out procedure to another academic institution:

  1. Work with the Office of Student Affairs to choose a transfer release date, which is the date your SEVIS record will be transferred to the new institution.
  2. Submit the transfer form along with the Acceptance Letter of the new institution 2 weeks before your proposed transfer date.
  3. The DSO will set up your SEVIS record automatically to transfer on the release date you selected.
  4. An email will be sent when the transfer release date has been scheduled.
  5. After the scheduled release date the new institution will have full access to your SEVIS record and will issue a new I-20.

Once your SEVIS record is transferred UNAM-San Antonio no longer has access to your SEVIS record.Important information:

If an F-1 student accumulates one (1) failure in any level, the student must gain permission from the English Department Chair in order to have another attempt at any level. If you do not pass any level after accumulating two (2) failures in the program, you are no longer eligible to register for the next session and you will be dismissed from UNAM-San Antonio due to unsatisfactory progress. You will only have 15 days from the start of the new session to transfer your SEVIS record. After that your record will be terminated on the grounds of failing to maintain status.


While studying in the United States, it is important to maintain your F-1 student visa status. Your status relates to the purpose, or reason why you want to come to the United States. The U.S. Department of State issues you your visa based on your intended purpose; this means that you are coming to the United States to study. If you fail to maintain status, you no longer have legal immigration status in the U.S. which could compromise your ability to get any U.S. visa, or apply for a change of status. You will have to depart immediately and can be denied future re-entry to the U.S.

How to maintain legal status:

  1. Register for a full course load (Full-time enrollment): This means that you must register for an Intensive English Program and a Conversation Course, which amounts to 18.5 hours of study per week. Books are required for all classes (no electronic books, and no photocopies will be allowed because of copyright).
  2. Attend 90% of all classes: If a student has missed more than the allowed number of classes, the English Department will be notified. The student will be contacted by the Student Affairs Office with a warning. If the student continues to miss classes the I-20 will be terminated.
  3. Maintain a valid I-20: Please check your program end date on your F-1, do not let it expire. Please keep in mind that if you let your I-20 expire UNAM-San Antonio will not submit a correction to your record in SEVIS. Maintaining legal status is the responsibility of the student.
  4. U.S. address updated in SEVIS: the U.S. Department of State requires all student visas to have a valid U.S. address. You must inform the DSO of any changes in your address within 10 days (even if temporary).
  5. Respect the grace periods: After program completion student visa holders have only 60 days to transfer or depart the United States.
A violation of your F-1 student visa immigration status will result in the termination of your SEVIS record. If this happens you will not be in legal status and could have negative consequences. UNAM- San Antonio may determine to terminate a student’s visa status in the event that a student becomes out of compliance according to their F-1 visa academic requirements.


F-1 visa holders can only miss 10% of any of their classes. If a student misses more than 10% of any class, the student will be expelled from UNAM-San Antonio and their F-1 student visa will be terminated.


UNAM-San Antonio will terminate F-1 students and/or F-2 dependents that do not maintain their legal status. A terminated record in SEVIS means the F-1 student visa is out of compliance. Reasons for a student visa termination:
  1. Failure to enroll
  2. Violation of the Attendance Policy
  3. Failure to pay tuition fees
  4. Otherwise failing to maintain status
  5. Violation of immigration status
  6. Expulsion
  7. Transfer-no show
  8. New registration no show
  9. Unauthorized employment
  10.  Unauthorized withdrawal from classes
  11. Violation of Change of Status Requirements
The termination of your SEVIS record means that you cannot return to UNAM- San Antonio. It also means that you do not have legal status in the U.S. and you need to depart the U.S. immediately. Should you choose to remain and fail to take action to obtain legal status, the immigration authorities will find that you have violated your U.S. immigration status. If your student visa is terminated, you no longer have legal immigration status in the U.S. and could compromise your ability to get any future U.S. visa, or apply for a change of status. You will have to depart immediately and can be denied future re-entry to the U.S.


Students on an F-1 student visa are admitted for the duration of status. Once you have finished your course of study at UNAM-San Antonio, your visa will be completed. You have 60 (sixty) days of grace period to:
  • Depart the United States
  • Transfer your I-20 to another school
Note: SEVIS auto-completes the student’s record after the appropriate grace period has passed. However, the student may not depart and return to the United States during the grace period. If the student departs the United States before the end of this grace period, the rest of the grace period is lost.


Student visa holders need to be enrolled full-time and can only take vacation during the summer 2 session.


During breaks between sessions, students are allowed to travel domestically and internationally. Please inform the Student Affairs Office of your travel plans. International travel will require a signature on the form I-20 to be able to return to the United States. Traveling while classes are in session is only permitted in emergency cases. Please notify Student Affairs in case of emergency situations that require travel out of San Antonio.


If you wish to extend your visa to continue your studies at UNAM-San Antonio, you can be eligible.
  • The length of the extension will depend on the level that you are currently studying.
  • The maximum extension is one year depending on what level you are currently studying.

Extension Eligibility Criteria and Requirements:

  • Have properly maintained immigration status
  • Maintained good academic standing
  • Have sufficient funds to cover the tuition, fees and living expenses for the duration of your stay (and dependents if apply)
  • Submission of current financial statements and affidavit of support
Your extension request along with new financial statements and affidavit of support, must be submitted and approved by X date. Failure to file the needed documents by this date will result in an application denial. If you do not want to do an extension you have to inform the DSO so UNAM-San Antonio can complete your visa or transfer it.


As an F-1 student, your primary purpose for staying in the U.S. must be full-time study, so that you can achieve your academic and/or career goals. If you are found to be working without government approval, your employment will be considered “unauthorized”. This will result in immediate termination of your I-20 in SEVIS student tracking system. If this occurs, your F-1 Student Visa will be terminated and you will no longer be eligible to study with UNAM-San Antonio; you will not receive any refunds and you must leave the U.S. immediately.


Students who have an F-1 visa are NOT permitted to work and therefore are NOT eligible to have a Social Security number. CHANGE OF STATUS: UNAM-San Antonio does not do change of status. OUT OF STATUS: UNAM-San Antonio does not accept out of status students or student with a terminated visa.


Students who have been admitted to UNAM-San Antonio on an F-1 visa may request an F-2 dependent visa for children (under 21 years of age) and/or a spouse.

Restrictions of F-2 dependents:

  • Are NOT allowed to work.
  • F-2 dependents may NOT enroll full time (18 hrs. per week). An F-2 status that wishes to pursue a full time academic program, must change to an F-1 visa status.
  • F-2 visa holders lose their status once the F-1 student completes and/or finishes their course of study.
  • Children under the age of 21 with F-2 status may enroll in elementary, middle school or high school. Dependents loses their F-2 status once they turn 21.


Any issues relating to transferring to other schools, maintaining legal status, returning to home countries, etc. must be handled by the Student Affairs Office. Students are asked to speak to Student Affairs for any concerns related to visa status.

Steps in the Application Process for students seeking F-1 visa admission:

  1. Submit required documentation to the evaluation committee for approval to obtain the Acceptance Letter.
  2. Once approved, fill out the application: online or print version
  3. Pay the application fee: $80.00 USD
  4. Send your affidavit of financial support and required bank statement
  5. Send a copy of the photo page of your passport

UNAM-San Antonio will send you:

  • The Acceptance Letter
  • The form I-20
  • Instructions to pay the SEVIS fee
  • Housing options and general information
Make an appointment with the US embassy or consulate in your country. Take with you the acceptance letter, the form I-20, the affidavit of financial support, bank statements, SEVIS fee receipt, and all other information that the embassy/consulate asks for. If you have been approved for a student visa, please contact your DSO. We will send a welcome email with the dates the student is expected to register, pay for the course of study, and do a two-part placement exam to assign the level. If you have not been approved for a student visa, please contact us to let us know. You may wish to try again for a visa in order to start UNAM- San Antonio at a later date. For questions about the application process, please contact Laura Carreon .


Why do you need health insurance while studying in the United States? Now that you have being accepted to study in UNAM San Antonio take time to make sure that you are covered in case you confront medical issues. It is better to be prepared for an emergency even if you have no history of illness or accident.

These are few ideas on what you need to know:

  • In the United States individuals are responsible to either pay for their own treatment out of pocket or purchase private health insurance to help cover the cost of their medical bills.
  • There are companies that offer options on health insurance for international students.
  • This type of insurance is designed to cover the majority of medical costs and often work with a network of doctors who are contracted to charge a discounted rate for medical services.
  • Pay attention to what type of Visa you have because that will determined the health insurance you need.
  • F-1 Visa: Traditional international students on an F-1 visa do not have a set of government mandated requirements and instead must purchase insurance that meets their school requirements. Depending on the college or university, they may be required to purchase their group insurance plan or have the opportunity to shop around and choose their own.
  • You may also consider purchasing health insurance in your country of origin, if available. Remember, you are responsible for the cost of treatments related to things that are not covered by your health insurance.
  • If you have questions about student health insurance in the U.S. be sure to contact a licensed insurance agent and read any potential policies in full detail before making a decision.

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