In order to maintain valid F-1 nonimmigrant status, all F-1 students must complete Check-In with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) immediately upon arrival. Students will need to complete this process primarily through the OISS Portal and updating MyUNLV.

All initial attendance, change of level, or transfer pending students must submit scanned copies of the following documents:

  • Most recent passport
  • Most recent F-1 visa or I-797A Change of Status Approval Notice
  • Signed copy of the UNLV I-20 (Initial Attendance, Change of Educational Level, Change of Status or Transfer-Pending I-20)
  • Most recent I-94 (available on the CBP website after entering the U.S. by selecting “get most recent I-94”)
    • If you have changed your immigration status while inside the U.S., then your I-94 can be found on the bottom of your I-797A Approval Notice
    • Please note that during high travel times, it may take a few days for the I-94 to appear on the CBP website
  • Update their local U.S. physical address and phone number on MyUNLV

All students must also attend the mandatory New International Student Orientation in order to complete check-in.


All international students who are starting a new program at UNLV are required to attend the New International Student Orientation. This includes:

  • Transfer students to UNLV
  • Returning students who have been on a leave of absence for more than three semesters
  • Recent UNLV graduates who are starting a new program at UNLV

Transferring to UNLV

New or returning students who have recently been admitted to UNLV and already have an active SEVIS/I-20 record must transfer their record to UNLV and receive their new I-20 before classes begin.

In order to complete the transfer-in process to UNLV, your Designated School Official (DSO) at your current U.S. institution will need to fill out the Transfer-In form located in the OISS Portal. You will need to list your current DSO’s (International Student Advisor) name and email address in the “Approver Section” of the form.

If you are planning to transfer to UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine, the DSO at your current institution will need to transfer your SEVIS record to UNLV’s Shadow Lane Campus, SEVIS Code PHO214F10643001.

All other students (ESL, undergraduate, and graduate students) will need to have their SEVIS records transferred to UNLV’s Main Campus, SEVIS Code PHO214F10643000.

If you have any questions regarding the transfer-in process, please contact UNLV Admissions. Graduate and Dental students can contact Undergraduate and English as a Second Language (ESL) students can contact

Deferring Your UNLV Admission

Students who are not able to arrive for the start of their UNLV academic program must request a deferral of their admission or re-apply to a later term.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students who are not able to attend their original UNLV admission term must re-apply for admission for a new UNLV academic term. Most documents from the original application can be used in the new application, but students must contact Undergraduate Admissions at to begin the process of deferring both their academic program admission and their I-20 program start date (if necessary).

Graduate Students

Graduate students who are not able to attend their original UNLV admission term can defer their admission up to one academic year from the time of their original admission with department permission. If the student is deferring to a new academic term that is more than one year from the original application, then the student must submit a new admission application. Students who wish to defer their admission and their I-20 program start date (if necessary) or have questions about this process should contact Graduate Admissions at

English as a Second Language Students

If you have any questions about deferring your admission to the Intensive English Program, please contact the English Language Center at

Change of Status to F-1

Students who wish to study at UNLV as an F-1 international student have two ways to obtain F-1 status:

  1. Enter the U.S. with an “initial attendance” I-20 and a valid F-1 student visa obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad (Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement)
  2. Apply for a change of status to USCIS using a “Change of Status” I-20. This option is best for students who are already in the U.S. and cannot travel to another country to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Anyone who is inside the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, except for those on C, D, K, or M visas or the ESTA visa waiver program, are eligible to apply for a change of status to F-1 while inside the U.S. J visa holders who are subject to the 212(e) Home Residence Requirement are also not eligible to apply for a change of status unless they have received a waiver.

Students who have been recently admitted to UNLV will need to work with the international admissions team in order to receive their I-20 for the change of status application. Recently admitted undergraduate students (bachelor’s or IEP) will contact, while recently admitted graduate students (master’s, doctoral, or professional) will contact

Students who are currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program at UNLV, will need to contact ISSS by emailing Students interested in a changing status to F-1 will need to work with an ISSS international student advisor to receive their “Change of Status” I-20.

After your OISS Portal profile has been created, you will need to upload copies of the following documents so the international admissions team or ISSS advisor can issue your “Change of Status” I-20:

  • Most recent passport with at least 6 months of validity
  • Proof of financial support. This can be done either by submitting copies of bank statements/letters, scholarship letters, graduate assistantships, etc.
  • Confidential Financial Certificate. This document can be found inside the OISS Portal and must be completed by both the student and their financial guarantors, if applicable.

  • Cover letter explaining the reason for requesting the change of status to F-1 and a checklist of all the documents that will be submitted to USCIS.
  • Copy of your “Change of Status” I-20. This I-20 must be signed by both you and the issuing DSO on page 1.
  • Copy of your most recent passport.
  • Evidence of Financial Support. This is usually recommended to be the same documents that you used to request the “Change of Status” I-20. It can include documents such as, but is not limited to, bank letters/statements, graduate assistantships, scholarship awards, etc. If you are using a bank statement/letter for an account that is not your own, both you and your sponsor must fill out the Confidential Financial Certificate that can be downloaded from the OISS Portal.
  • Admission letter and/or transcripts showing your current program and enrollment. New students will only be able to submit a copy of their admission letter for their desired program. Current students should submit copies of their most recent transcripts showing their enrollment and can include a copy of their original admission letter.
  • Receipt showing payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee. This is a separate fee that is paid to the federal government by all international students.
  • Copies of any documents that demonstrate your current immigration status, including but not limited to most recent I-94, most recent visa, DS-2019, F-2 I-20s, I-797, EAD cards, etc.
  • USCIS Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. This can either be completed using an online application through the MyUSCIS portal or by downloading the PDF version of the application. If downloading the PDF version, please make sure to use a computer to fill out the application. Do not handwrite this application.
  • I-539 application fee. Students can use the USCIS Fee Calculator to calculate the cost of their I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and, if desired, the I-907 Premium Processing Fee, which will guarantee an answer from USCIS within 30 calendar days as of April 1, 2024.

You need to stay in communication with your UNLV DSO (either your international admissions counselor or your international student advisor) regarding your change of status application as depending on the processing times at USCIS, you may need to defer the start date listed on your I-20.

If you gain F-1 status after applying for change of status through USCIS, you will not receive a new visa sticker in your passport showing your F-1 status. Instead USCIS will send you a document called an I-797A Approval Notice that will include your new I-94 showing your F-1 status. Therefore, if you travel outside the U.S., you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa sticker at a U.S. embassy or consulate. You can find more information about applying for a new F-1 visa on the U.S. Department of State website. You can also contact your UNLV DSO, either in Admissions or ISSS, if you have any additional questions.

UNLV ISSS encourages students to work with a qualified immigration attorney if you have specific questions regarding the change of status application or process. ISSS may be able to give general information about the application process, but students must work with a qualified attorney if they need detailed legal advice.