Events, News and Updates

Optional Practical Training Workshop

Date: Tuesday September 22, 2015

Time: 2:00 pm – 3:00pm

Location: Harrington Science Building, Room 105

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment related to the student’s field of study.  OPT enables the student to gain valuable training and experience in his/her degree area. 

Focus of the Workshop:

  • Benefits of OPT
  • Student Eligibility
  • Immigration Regulations
  • Application Process
  • Reporting Requirements
  • Future Options

Who Should Attend:

  • Undergraduate and graduate students who are completing their studies this semester
  • Graduate level students who have met all degree requirements with the exception of the thesis or dissertation
  • Any student who wants to know more about OPT

NEW! Form I-20 Redesign

Homeland Security has redesigned the Form I-20 – Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.  Please note the following:

  • As of June 29, 2015 – All I-20s will be issued  on the new format.
  • Most continuing students will continue to use the I-20 that has already been issued to them – until a new I-20 is issued.
  • Students starting the Fall 2015 semester – Some will have the old format and some will have the new format.  Both are acceptable.
  • By July 1, 2016  – All F-1 students must be issued the new I-20.
  • As of June 29, 2015 – Students who need a social security account number or driver license – must present the new I-20.
  • As students come in for office visits – they will be issued the new I-20.


All international students issued an I-20 after September 1, 2004 are required to pay a SEVIS fee.

Recently – The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) mailed out letters to students who do not have the paid SEVIS fee of $200.00 recorded on their I-20 SEVIS record.

Please check your records (immigration paperwork) to verify that you have paid the SEVIS fee.


  • The student’s SEVIS I-20 record  will be terminated within 30 days if a student fails to pay.  SEVP has given a due date of June 10, 2015.  If you have no record of paying the SEVIS fee – please do so immediately to avoid the termination of your I-20.  Please follow the instructions as stated in your letter.
  • If you have paid the fee on your current I-20 or on another I-20 – follow the instructions as stated in your letter.
  •  Do not solely rely on your knowledge of having paid  the SEVIS fee as a means of resolving the matter.  SEVP must have a record of the payment.
  • The termination of I-20 SEVIS records will be handled by SEVP.

If you have received a letter from SEVP – Please visit the international student advisor’s office with your letter  should you have questions or should you feel you need help.  If you have not received a letter from SEVP – you may visit the advisor’s office to check your SEVIS record for payment.


To pay the $200.00 I-901 SEVIS Fee:  Go to website:

  • Have your I-20 in hand when you are ready to pay the SEVIS fee (you will need your SEVIS ID Number and the School Code from the I-20).
  • You may pay by credit card, money order or Western Union.

After submitting the payment:

  • Print your receipt.
  • Email the receipt to the I-901 Case Resolution Team:
    • Subject: I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment – (SEVIS ID Number)
    • Include in the email your Full Name as it appears on your I-20 and your SEVIS ID Number.

Keep a copy of the SEVIS payment receipt for your records and attach a copy to your I-20.

If you have a record that shows that you paid the I-901 SEVIS fee that’s in question – please do the following:

  • Email the receipt of payment to the I-901 Case Resolution Team:
  • Please include your SEVIS ID number and your full name.  Make sure the SEVIS ID number on the receipt matches the SEVIS ID number on your I-20.

USCIS Tools and Resources

USCIS Tools and Resources offer time saving and useful online customer service tools located at

  • Check Case Status
  • Sign-in to My Account
  • Sign-up for Updates
  • Check Processing Times
  • Change of Address Online
  • Request Office Locations
  • E-Request – You can submit questions about your pending case such as:
    • Case pending beyond stated processing times;
    • Did not receive notice from USCIS;
    • Error on EAD Card;
    • Did not receive EAD Card.

Medical Insurance(new rates)
All international students attending Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) are required to have medical insurance. The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) has mandated that all system schools use the same health care policy in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act. The mandatory insurance provider for international students is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas. Prairie View A&M University international students will be required to apply for coverage through the University. Proof of medical insurance coverage will be required prior to registration. Please visit PVAMU’s insurance website, Academic Health Plans for more information: Academic Health Plans

Insurance premiums are as follow:

Annual Rate – September 1, 2015 – August 31, 2016

Student     $1,692.00

Spouse      $3,372.00

Children    $2,700.00

Spouse & Children $4,212.00

Fall Semester  – September 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

Student        $846.00

Spouse      $1,686.00

Children    $1,350.00

Spouse & Children $2,106.00

Spring and Summer – January 1, 2016 – August 31, 2016

Student        $846.00

Spouse      $1,686.00

Children    $1,350.00

Spouse & Children $2,106.00

Medical Insurance Waiver

All international students who wish to be waived from the mandatory student health insurance plan must submit a waiver application online.  This does not apply to students who are covered under the graduate assistantship plan.

How to Apply for a Waiver

  1. Review the waiver guidelines below to determine if you meet one of the waiver requirements.
  2.  Should you meet one of the waiver requirements – follow the instructions listed below – How to Apply for a Waiver. Please allow 5 to 7 days for a decision on your application.
  3. You will be notified by email that your application has been approved or denied.  If your application is approved – you will be waived from paying the insurance premium.  If your application is denied – you will be required to be covered under the mandatory plan

Waiver Guidelines:  Who is eligible to waive?

Student is sponsored by the United States government;

  • Student is sponsored by a foreign government recognized by the United States or certain international, government-sponsored or non-governmental organizations, and covered under a health plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  • Student is enrolled in an employer-provided group health plan that is compliant with the ACA. If the health plan does not include medical evacuation and repatriation, a rider must be purchased providing coverage at equal limits to the SSHIP;
  • Student is enrolled in only distance learning programs; or
  • Student is involved in intercollegiate athletics and coverage for all medical insurance is provided through a policy as part of the current sports accident medical policy approved by System Risk Management.

Waiver Requirements:

  • Must be an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan
  • Must include medical evacuation and repatriation coverage

How to Apply for a Waiver: For students who are able to provide evidence of their own insurance that meets the ACA:

  1. Have a scanned copy of your insurance card and policy benefit pages including exclusions as well as your school ID ready.
  2. Go
  3. If your plan meets the A&M System waiver criteria, click the button on the bottom of waiver criteria page.
  4. On the Student Registration page you will be asked to enter your demographic information and to select a password.  Select the ‘Register’ button when done.
  5. Then on the next page, click the link under the heading Submit Waivers (on the right hand side of the page).
  6. Complete the waiver form and attach copies of your scanned insurance documents.
  7. Select the ‘Submit Waiver’ button.

YOU MUST follow the process indicated above.  If you have questions about the insurance waiver process, please contact Academic Health Plans Customer Service at 877-624-7911.

Insurance Card

Didn’t receive an insurance card or need a replacement insurance card – you can easily request an insurance card by following these instructions:

  1. Go to the BlueCross Blue Shield of Texas website:
  2. Understanding Your Benefits – Click: Take a Look
  3. Register for Blue Access for Members – Click: Register Now
  4. Sign Up for Blue Access for Members (BAM) – You will need the following information
    • Group Number: 117564
    • Member ID – If you do not have this number please contact your international advisor.
    • Birthdate

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