Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains answers to commonly-asked questions about OISS, the services we offer and the procedures to be followed by international students at St. Thomas.

There are many events throughout the year that are campus wide events, or events hosted by departments. All events hosted by OISS will be posted on our Web site and in our weekly newsletter. Click HERE to access upcoming events.

We counsel and advise international students on many issues including the following:

  • Immigration
  • Jobs/career questions
  • Academics
  • Personal life
  • Financial issues (Note: we are not able to advise on tax issues)
  • Social/cultural adjustment issues
  • Accompanying family
  • Housing and practical life

All F-1 and J-1 students are required to have a health insurance policy while enrolled at St Thomas.
Visit the Health Services website for more information on the policy and enrolling.

St. Thomas has very limited funds for general scholarships for international students. The university awards only a few partial tuition grants each year to incoming students, and at this time there are no scholarships for currently enrolled international students. Students must apply before their initial enrollment at St. Thomas. The deadline for scholarship applications is January 15 for Fall Semester and September 15 for Spring Semester. Newly admitted students should contact the Admissions office for details and an application. Please note that this applies only for Undergraduate students.

We are working with leaders of the university to seek more financial aid funds for future international students. But at this time, the only source of extra income would be to work on campus if you are an F-1 or J-1 visa holder. The university does not offer research or teaching assistant positions. However, some departments offer small scholarships for current students toward the cost of tuition that are available to all students, international and domestic. Watch for information from your department.

If your financial sponsorship has changed due to some unforeseen events, you can complete a Special Circumstance Application form. 

Yes, Permanent Residents (PR) can get services from OISS.

Advisors are available for regularly scheduled appointments. Our office is located in the Anderson Student Center, Room # 218. See hours on the home page, and appointment reference grid below. 

Appointment type

Length in Time

Immigration Check-In 1 hour
Optional Practical Training (OPT) 30 minutes
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 30 minutes
Change of Status (COS) 1 hour
Pre-travel or Post-travel endorsement 15 minutes

 Contact the front desk at (651) 962-6650 to schedule an appointment.

Walk-In Policy

To make an appointment to meet with an OISS advisor, please call our main office at 651-962-6650. Walk-in appointments are available but they are limited due to advisor availability.

You will need to complete the following steps in order to get a SSN:

Step 1: Obtain an on-campus job. Please note the two separate processes:

Student who has an On-Campus Job

Student who has CPT/OPT

Step 1: Obtain and secure your on campus job Step 1: Obtain and secure your job
Step 2: Request a Social Security verification letter

Step 2: Ensure you have work authorization from ISS/Immigration to begin work

Step 3: Have your Social Security verification letter signed by your Supervisor Step 3: Apply for Social Security Number once the date of employment is effective. Apply at the local Social Security Administration Office

Step 2: Make sure you have all the required immigration documents:

Click HERE to view the required immigration documents you need to bring to Social Security Card Office.

All international students who are interested in being admitted to St. Thomas as an undergraduate should contact International Admissions. Click HERE to go to their website.

If you are interested in being admitted as a graduate student, you need to first get admitted through your prospective department. After being admitted by the department, you will work with International Admissions for your immigration documents.

On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters. During school vacations, students may work 40 hours a week. School vacations include Thanksgiving break, winter break, J-term, spring break and summer.


Off-campus employment NEEDS to be authorized through OISS prior to your first day of work. For more information about off-campus employment, please visit the CPT page

  1. Pick up your official transcript from the Registrars’ Office.
    • This can be done online here,
    • or at Murray-Herrick (MHC) Room 126 from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
  2. Bring the sealed official transcript to our Office at 218 ASC. OISS Advisor will write your date of birth and sign the document.
  3. Take the official transcript and your passport to any DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) office. They will assist you and advise you in the application process once you’re there.

Remember to wear your seatbelt and drive safe!

The staff in the Office of International Students & Scholars are available to international students to answer questions and provide information about St. Thomas and US culture, to explain government rules and regulations, and to process government documents and applications.

You can apply for OPT as early as 90 days prior to your I-20 end date or as late as 60 days after your end date. For more information regarding this view the OPT information page.

To learn more about Academic, Financial and Library Guide resources check out the OISS St. Thomas Resources page for links.