Current Students

Maintaining Status
Travel Program Extension
Change in Visa Status
Internship OPT

Maintaining Status

In order to maintain you status as a student, you need to follow all the requirements for F-1 students at BYUH. Some of these requirements include:

  • Complete 12 credit hours during Fall and Winter (IWES students must follow the requirements of their contract)
  • Maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA each term/semester
  • Keep a current I-20
  • Apply for an extension before the expiration date
  • Work only the 19 authorized hours (see the ISS office for any exceptions)
  • Report any change in status regarding your address, major, or personal information
  • Keep a valid passport (except for Canadians) and renew it 6 months before the expiration date

NOTE: A “UW”grade stands for Unofficial Withdrawal and communicates to the ISS office that the student failed to attend a registered class without authorization or documented reason. Students who fail to attend class are technically out of status. Students are required to enroll and attend at least 12 credit hours of class each semester. If a UW on a student’s transcript prevents them from completing 12 credit hours in the Fall or Winter semesters, that student will be deemed out of status. In addition to the option of being sent home, this may also jeopardize any future privileges.

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If you leave the United States at anytime for a period less than 5 months, and plan to return for school again, come to the ISS at least one week before your departure for a Designated School Official (DSO) to endorse the back of your I-20. This authorization is required for you to re-enter the United States .

IWES students must submit an orange Travel Request/Agreement Form. This form requires students to submit a copy of their travel itinerary before leaving. Here are some guidelines:

  • Travel cannot occur within the first 12 months of arriving on campus
  • All loans, fees or payment balances must be paid in full before traveling
  • Students on academic probation are not eligible to apply
  • A 4-year graduation MAP (plan) must be completed, signed by the academic     advisor, and submitted with the application for travel
  • All travel must be taken during periods of non-enrollment
  • Students are responsible to check the expiration dates of their passport, VISA and I-20


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Program Extension

A student is eligible for a program extension if he/she has maintained status, and in good faith, intends to continue to maintain status for the period in which the extension will be granted. Valid reasons for an extension include delays caused by academic program changes, personal emergencies, or medical conditions. Applications for extensions must be submitted at least 30 days before the completion date on your I-20. Students who do not request a program extension BEFORE the end date on their I-20 will be required to submit an I-538 application to the USCIS for re- instatement of their F-1 student status. This form also requires a $195 filing fee.

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The ISS office supports students to participate in internships in their home country. We believe this helps students not only find hands on experience in the work field, but strengthens the ties and connections to find employment after graduation. Our policy regarding internships is that students are eligible to participate in such privileges if they have maintained status, and received proper authorizations from the Internship Coordinator and academic departments. Students are also allowed to do multiple internships, as long as they do not prolong a student’s graduation plan.

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Visa Status Change

All F-visa status holders are eligible to change their visa status if, at the time of their application, they have a valid F-visa status and have maintained status throughout the duration of their being in the U.S. Students filing for a change in visa status must complete and submit an I-539 application to the USCIS (applications are available on-line at or at the ISS office). The following documents must also accompany this application:

  1. I-539 application;
  2. I-94 Arrival-Departure Record;
  3. Proof of financial support (if required on the application);
  4. Money order written to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services I the amount of $195;
  5. I-20 indicating new status applying for (ie: F-1 for students, F-2 for student dependents).

Applications generally take 60-120 days to receive a replay. The I-94 is also returned to the ISS office. Students will be notified by the ISS office when their I-94 card returns for pick up.

Changing Status: R-1 to F-1

International students who are returning to school after their mission should pay attention to the following instructions and procedures:

* All returning students coming from the mission field

1. Re-apply for admissions to BYU-Hawaii again 6 to 8 months before your release date. (Check the application deadlines for the particular semester or term you are applying for by going to under the Admissions section.) Most of these parts can be done by going on-line to, or completing the paper application. Since you are a returning student, you do not need to pay the application fee again. However, you must complete and resubmit parts 1, 2, 3, and 8 of the application packet. If you completed the Deferment form before you left, you do not need to complete parts 1 and 2.

Students who were previously on the IWES program must also resubmit another application for IWES.

You may contact the Admissions office for more information about your admissions:
Admissions Office
BYU-Hawaii #1973
55-220 Kulanui St.
Laie, HI 96762
Email: or
Tel #: 808-675-3738 or 808-675-3742


2. If you are returning home country after your mission or if you served outside the United Sates, you will need to apply for a new visa from the U.S. Consul in your area after you receive your acceptance letter and new I-20. (Note: If your old F-1 visa did not expire you can still use it to re-enter the United States.)


3. If you are not returning to your home country after your mission, and you are serving your mission in the United States, you can change your visa status from R-1 to F-1 by mailing the following documents to the address listed below (in #4):

* Documents

  • Signed new I-20 form from BYU-Hawaii Admissions office
  • Letter of Acceptance from BYU-Hawaii
  • I-539 form signed by the missionary/student (form can be downloaded from
  • Original I-94 Departure Record and original/current I-94 Departure Record (R-1)
  • Affidavit of Support – (this is in addition to the one submitted to the BYU-Hawaii Admissions office)

* Information

  • Full name and your BYU-Hawaii ID number
  • Mission office contact person, address, phone number, fax number and your missionary apartment
  • Your address is your home country (*This is very important.)

* Photocopies (Be sure that all the information on the original is clearly readable on the copy)

  • Passport ID page, showing the issue date and expiry date
  • US visa page
  • Copy of your missionary call
  • Copy of your letter from your Mission President regarding your release date


4. Mail the documents and information listed above to Janet Carrigan at the following address:

    Missionary Travel Office
    50 E. North Temple Street Room, 1442
    Salt Lake City, UT 84150-5261
    Tel #: 1-800-453-3860 (ext. 25154)


5. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office again directly at 1-808- 293-3516, or email any one of the advisors as listed on the staff page.

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Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Policy Statement

Brigham Young University0Hawaii will endorse students in F-1 visa status for Optional Practical Training (OPT) provided the students meet the designated requirements mandated by the U.S. government and BYU-Hawaii policy.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete a Curricular Practical Training (CPT): i.e, internship or practicum, in their home country or region before graduation rather than OPT after graduation.


1. Student has accepted a job offer that:

  • is in a field directly related to the student’s major field of study
  • requires a college degree as a minimum qualification
  • provides experience not readily available in the student’s home country.

2. Student provides documented evidence (i.e., offer letter on company letterhead)_ of the job offer.

3. Student must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (certified by the Academic Advisor) and be a student in good standing at BYU-Hawaii.

4. Student has:

  • met with either a career center or faculty advisor to discuss the candidate’s career plan registered on the university’s YCareers electronic job network
  • submitted an approved resume and cover letter to student’s file in the Career Center
  • Student has been enrolled in the U.S. for full time studies for one full academic year.
  • Student must be valid F-1 status.
  • Student may not have regained legal status through reentry or been reinstated by immigration within one full academic year of OPT application.

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