New Students & Visas
Congratulations on gaining admission to Lamar University! We look forward to
you joining our 11,000 current students and more than 71,000 alumni. We know that
along with your future classmates, our 1,200 faculty and staff will profoundly change
your capacity of knowledge, ability to achieve your goals, and ultimately your life’s
path. And we can’t wait to see what kind of impact your unique experiences will have
on all of us.
Planning Your Departure
Perhaps the most important part of planning your departure is obtaining your visa;
therefore, much of this page is dedicated to helping you understand the process
and to guiding you through the necessary steps. Besides obtaining your visa, you
should notify the international student services office when you plan to arrive or
if you would like to defer to the following semester. You should also plan to book
your travel well in advance, organize your personal affairs (such as banking, bills,
health records and prescriptions), and make a detailed packing list to ensure you
bring all necessary documents and important personal items. Click on the items below
to aid in planning your departure.
Most students enter the United States in F-1 student status to be enrolled in a
full-time degree program. A Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for an F-1 student
visa) will be issued to students by Lamar University after they have been granted admission.
Dependents of an F-1 visa holder are classified as F-2, and are not permitted employment
in the U.S. Please note that in order for us to include dependent(s) information on the
I-20 form, the student must inform the International Student Services (ISS) office at
the time of application.
Some students enter the U.S. in J-1 student status. The J-1 visa is administered
by the Department of State and is used for a variety of educational purposes.
The Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for a J-1 visa) may be issued to a
student with a scholarship, either from a sponsoring organization or from Lamar
University. Dependents of a J-1 visa holder are classified as J-2 and may apply
for permission to work in the U.S.
The certificate of eligibility must be
presented at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy when applying for your F-1 or J-1 student
visa, along with your unexpired passport, evidence of financial support and SEVIS fee
After you have completed your application and been accepted, Lamar University
will mail you the appropriate certificate of eligibility (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019).
At this time you must pay the SEVIS fee:
If you do not receive the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, do not enter the U.S. on a
B-1/B-2 tourist visa or the visa waiver program. Doing so may prevent you from
beginning your academic program on time, or make it necessary for you to leave the
U.S. to change to student status.
Preparing for your Visa Interview
Once you have been accepted to Lamar University and have received your form I-20
in the mail, you must apply for a student visa from the U.S. Government. Make an
appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and be prepared to bring your
valid passport (issued by your home country’s government), form I-20 or DS-2019, and
evidence of adequate financial resources. You may also need to provide the consular
officer with proof of ties to your home country such as job offers, evidence of
ownership of residence or property, or copies of bank statements from a bank in your
home country. Since visa application requirements vary from country to country please
use the links below to obtain exact instructions.
I-20 Mailing Options
Immigration documents may be sent through one of the three options below. If you do not request Pick-up or Express Mail Service,
your documents will be sent by U.S. Postal Service Air Mail. Please provide your full name and LUID on all correspondence with
International Students Services.
You may pick-up your document in person or you may authorize a friend or relative to pick up your documents.
If you wish to do this please send an email to email@example.com with the following information:
Your name, LUID, and contact information
Your friend's name, LUID (if they are a student at Lamar University) and contact information
A statement authorizing them to pick up your documents from the International Student Services office.
U.S. Postal Service Air Mail
We will send your immigration document to you by regular airmail at no additional cost. Immigration documents
will be sent to your foreign home address unless an alternate address is provided. An alternate mailing address
can be sent to the following: firstname.lastname@example.org
Express Mail Service
International Student Services uses an express mail service that will allow you to receive your I-20 or DS-2019 through DHL
or FedEx. Requesting your immigration documents through express mail is at YOUR expense. Your credit card (Visa, MasterCard
or Discover cards only) will be charged upon requesting the service. To request express mailing of your documents, go to the
following website (works best with Internet Explorer & Mozilla Firefox browsers).
You must use the website provided above – do not go through the DHL or FedEx website directly, all communication will go
through the eshipglobal service, who will notify us that you are requesting your I-20 to be sent by express mail.
If you use this service, you will be required to create a user name and password to set up an account. To request shipment, you
will need your LUID (the letter “L” followed by an 8 digit number at top of your admissions letter), mailing address, e-mail address, phone
number and credit card information. Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or
submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay in the mailing of your I-20. If you experience any difficulty
in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for step by step instructions. If you have additional
questions about how to use this service, please e-mail email@example.com.
Maintaining Your Visa Status
After arrival in the U.S. it is very important to maintain status, the Immigration
and Naturalization Service can impose strict penalties for those who violate visa
regulations, which may include deportation. Therefore, it is essential that students
adhere to the following:
- Keep I-20 ID with passport and update with any changes.
- The I-20 ID (student copy) is a
carbon copy of the Form I-20. It is a permanent record of F-1 status
and is used to record work authorization, practical training, and transfer
approval. Students should keep this important piece of paper with their
- The IAP-66 (copy 3, pink) must be kept with the passport
for travel and re-entry to the U.S., for permission to work and for waiver
- Ensure passport is valid for at least 6 months past
the completion of studies.
- Maintain full-time enrollment and normal progression
towards degree (12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates and 9 for graduate
- Do not work off-campus without authorization (see employment
- Obtain extensions of stay as needed. Note the expiration
date on the I-20 or DS-2019 and apply for an extension with International Student
Services 30-45 days prior to expiration.
- Form I-94 shows arrival date in the U.S. and should
remain stapled to the passport. Form I-94 also indicates status
(F-1, J-1, B-1, etc.) and expected departure date from the U.S. or
Duration of Status (D/S). Students may remain in the U.S. until this
date (item #5 on I-20 ID or item #3 on IAP-66) plus 30-60 days.
- Notify the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS) of a transfer to another school or a change in educational program.
Students should see an ISS advisor if they plan to transfer to another school.
- Do not travel outside of the U.S. without first visiting
the ISS to endorse the I-20 ID.
- F-1 Students need the following documents to re-enter the United States
after a temporary absence:
- Form I-20 ID endorsed by ISS
- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. visa
- J-1 students need the following documents to re-enter the United
States after a temporary absence:
- Valid IAP-66 (pink copy) endorsed by ISS
- Valid passport
- Valid U.S. visa
Lamar University offers a free airport pick-up service for new international
students arriving at Houston or Beaumont airports. Please fill out the the Airport Pickup Form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your pick-up.
- Pickup is authorized to Ground Shuttle Services ( not 24/7 service) in Beaumont,
- Visit groundshuttle.com for pickup schedules, and if possible book flight ticket within their schedule time frame,
- If your arrival is out of pickup schedule, please contact our office for further assistance.
Orientation for new international students takes place a few days prior to
registration and is mandatory – students should plan to arrive in time to attend.
The day entails important information about maintaining your immigration status,
achieving academic success and utilizing valuable on campus services. Orientation
begins at 9am and includes breakfast, lunch and door prizes. Students will have a
chance to meet other new internationals within their degree program, as well as their
future professors and the dean of their academic department.
For Orientation details please view our Events Calendar on the Current Students page.
Writing Test Scores. International students who do not score at
least a 500 on the Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL will be required
to take a placement exam upon arrival on campus before they will be allowed to register
for classes. Undergraduate and graduate students who score below a 6.0 (6.5 for
doctoral students) on the writing section of the IELTS will also be required to take
the placement exam. Individuals will have a chance to raise their writing score, if
they cannot meet the minimum score at the time of the on-campus exam they will be
required to take English writing courses until they can produce a passing writing score.
Students should see the Director of Lamar Language Institute at orientation to schedule
their placement exam.
Higher Education Assessment. Undergraduate students who have not
previously earned university credit must take the Texas Higher Education Assessment.
This academic based placement test is not part of the application and can be taken
upon arrival at Lamar University. For more information on scheduling this test please
go to THEA (Texas High Education
Assessment) web site.