New and Returning F1 Students

An F-1 visa allows foreign students to study in the U.S. Select the type of student that most describes your situation and begin the process of becoming an international student at UNLV.

New F-1 Student

You are a new F-1 student if you currently live in a foreign country and have never entered the U.S. with an F-1 visa.

  • Undergraduate: You will be enrolled into a bachelor’s program.
  • Graduate: You have graduated from an accredited, four-year school with a bachelor’s degree. You will be enrolled into a master’s or doctorate program.

If you are currently in the U.S. in other non-immigrant status and plan to study as a full-time F-1 student at UNLV, you need to apply for Change of Status in the U.S. The first step is to apply to UNLV. If you are admitted, you will be issued a UNLV I-20. After that, an admission counselor or an international student advisor will help you apply for change of status to F-1.

Transfer Student

You are currently studying at a U.S. SEVP-certified school as an F-1 student (for example, studying at a U.S. high school/community college/university for an ESL program, certificate program, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate program, etc.), and would like to transfer to UNLV as an F-1 student. For immigration purposes, you are NOT considered a transfer student if you plan to transfer to UNLV from a college/university in your home country; instead, you would be considered a new F-1 student.

Follow these steps to transfer to UNLV:

  1. Apply to UNLV (for example, for ESL, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, etc.).
  2. If admitted, tell your current U.S. school that you intend to transfer to UNLV at a specific academic term.
  3. There is no UNLV F-1 student transfer-in form. See UNLV F-1 Transfer-In Information.
  4. Tell your current school to release your SEVIS I-20 to UNLV on a certain day.
  5. If you do not travel outside the U.S. before you attend UNLV, you can get your UNLV I-20 when you arrive at UNLV.
  6. If you plan to travel outside the U.S. before attending UNLV, you must use the UNLV I-20 to seek re-entry to the U.S.
  7. You must report to ISS within 15 days of attendance at UNLV, or your SEVIS record will be terminated for failure to follow proper transfer procedure.
  8. If you decide not to attend UNLV for whatever reason (staying in home country, or transfer to another U.S. school), you MUST notify ISS immediately so that we can either cancel your I-20 or coordinate your transfer to another U.S. F-1 SEVP-certified school. Failure to do so may result as a NO SHOW and being terminated in SEVIS.

Non-Degree Seeking Student

It is UNLV’s policy NOT to issue I-20 to non-degree seeking international students. If you are already at UNLV as an F-1 degree-seeking student and want to change to a non-degree program, you must report this change to a DSO immediately so that your I-20 can be terminated because UNLV does not issue I-20 to non-degree seeking international students and there are no non-degree seeking F-1 students at UNLV.

If you are currently in the U.S. but don’t want to be enrolled into a degree program — you just want to take classes for your personal leisure — see below how to enroll at UNLV as a non-degree student.

Returning Student

  • If you have enrolled in one of the last two semesters and have been out of the U.S. for LESS than 5 months, you are eligible to return on your current I-20. However, you must have a valid travel endorsement on your current I-20 by the time you seek re-entry to the U.S. After you re-enter the U.S., you need to report to a DSO in person with your passport, F-1 visa and I-94. Contact a DSO if you have any questions.
  • If you have enrolled in one of the last two semesters and have been out of the U.S. for MORE than 5 months, you will need to turn in a new Confidential Financial Certification form (CFC) and bank letter. After you re-enter the U.S., you will need to report to ISS in person.
  • If you have not been enrolled for two consecutive semesters, you will need to reapply to UNLV. See the New F-1 Student section above.

Student Process Steps

Reporting to OISS

In order to maintain valid F-1 nonimmigrant status, you must complete a mandatory check-in with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) upon your arrival to the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.  Within 1 week of your arrival at UNLV, you must submit copies of the following immigration documents, along with an updated local (Las Vegas) address and contact information:

  • Passport
  • F-1 visa
  • signed copy of your initial I-20 (you must sign page 1)
  • I-94 (available on the CBP website after entering the U.S: ; select “get most recent I-94”)
  • These documents should be emailed to:, OR copies may be submitted in-person at OISS (located in building SSC-A, suite 201)
  • You must also attend the mandatory NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORIENTATION. Contact for more details.
  • 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 OISS so that we can accurately reflect this information in your SEVIS record.
  • If you decide not to attend UNLV after you have been issued a UNLV I-20 (such as deferring your attendance to a later semester at UNLV or attending another U.S. SEVIS-certified school), please email