Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources

Helpful Resources
Applying for a Visa
Applying for a F-1 Student Visa at a U.S. Consulate
What do I do when I arrive?
Employment Available to F-1 Students at Doane
Travel for F-1 Students

Applying for a Visa:

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
Students applying for their initial F-1 visa must provide proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee before applying for their student visa. Spouses and Dependent children are not required to pay the fee for the F-2 visa.

You can pay the I-901 SEVIS fee by credit card or Western Union online at Keep in mind that delivery of receipts for payments by Western Union may take several weeks.

Important information for completing the I-901 requirement:

  • You need the information on your I-20. First, verify all information on your I-20 is correct; name as it appears on your passport, birth date, etc. If not, STOP and contact your admissions counselor to request a corrected form.
  • Carefully read the instructions before completing the form.
  • Carefully read the FAQ before completing the form.
  • Locate Doane’s school code and your SEVIS number (top, right corner /begins with N).
  • Print four copies of your receipt. One for your application, one for travel, one for Doane, one for to keep in your records at home.

Applying for a F-1 Student Visa at a U.S. Consulate

Once you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee, you can make an appointment with a US Consulate to apply for an F-1 student visa. Visit for information about the application process and required documentation. You can apply up to 120 days before the report date on your I-20.

Take the time to prepare for your interview. The consular officers are required to assume you intend to immigrate to the U.S., and will not look to determine the validity of your application. You must be prepared to answer questions about your study plans and provide evidence that you are sincerely seeking to complete your educational program and return home as you indicate with your signature on your I-20. You must provide proof of your intention. Ties to your country – financial documents, family ties, employment, property, and other assets – will help demonstrate your plans to return home after you finish school.

You will need:

  • I-20 and letter of admission
  • Receipt of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Receipt of payment of Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee
  • Visa reciprocity fee, if required
  • Completed visa application
  • Proof of financial responsibility
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Passport-sized photos
  • School records, mark sheets, transcripts, test scores (TOEFL, ACT, SAT, GMAT, etc)
  • Supporting documentation of your intention to depart the U. S. upon completion of your program of studies
  • To be prepared to answer questions about your program of study, your educational goals, Doane University, and why you chose to study your major at Doane.

What do I do when I arrive?

International Student Arrival Checklist

  1. First, if you’re arriving by air, plan to arrive at the Lincoln, Nebraska airport. The airport code is LNK.
  2. Make sure you have contacted OMALINK at or 1-402- 475-5465 to arrange your transportation from the airport to campus.
  3. Contact the Admissions office with your arrival information at least 5 days in advance of your arrival. Email Admissions at
  4. Follow the directions in your admission packet for check-in and orientation. Check-in with Student Leadership for your orientation schedule and keys (dormitory/mailbox).
  5. Visit the Business Office. You must provide proof of health insurance coverage and settle your student account with Cindy, the Student Account Manager. If you cannot provide proof of health insurance coverage Cindy in business office will arrange for coverage and include the cost on your student account. Once you have settled your student account, the business office will remove the business office hold on your student account.
  6. Visit the Student Health Office. You must provide proof of your Health Insurance Coverage to the Student Health Office. Once you have provided proof of coverage, The Student Health Office will remove the Insurance hold on your student account.
  7. Check in at Office of International Programs (OIP). Once you have completed your SEVIS and Doane enrollment the OIP hold will be removed from your student account. Visit the OIP as early as possible after your arrival. You must bring your immigration documents and supplementary information including:
    • Any academic records that have been requested
    • Your Passport
    • Electronic I-94 Card (or your airline arrival details so we can help you print one)
    • I-20
    • Proof of Health Insurance
    • Your Class Schedule
    • Your Current Physical Address (Dormitory and Room #, Street Address)
    • Your Contact Information
    • Emergency Contact Information
  8. Contact your advisor. Once you have cleared the holds on your registration, your advisor will help you to register for classes.
  9. Get your ID card at the Doane Safety Office on the first floor of Padour Walker.
  10. If you have a car, get a parking permit at the Safety Office while you’re there.
  11. If you must obtain a social security or Tax ID card, remember timing is everything. Ask the OIP for detailed information about whether you need one, and when and how to apply.
  12. The same is true for a Nebraska Driver’s License.
  13. Plan to attend all the welcome and orientation activities to begin your new life at Doane. Get out and explore the campus and community.
  14. Explore the resources available to you- writing center, Doane Learning Center, computer help desk, library, Hansen Leadership, SAC, Clubs and Organizations, Counseling Center, Student Health Office, Haddix Center, athletics and more.
  15. Review the student handbook carefully to become familiar with Doane’s policies and attend orientation meetings on attendance, alcohol, gatherings, interactions between students, and academic integrity.
  16. Ask questions! Your advising, the Doane Learning Center, The Office of International Programs, your adviser, professors, residence directors/assistants, admissions counselor, Student Leadership Office, orientation leaders, and members of the Doane community care about your success.
  17. Attend student events so you can make friends among your fellow students.

Employment Available to F-1 Students at Doane

On Campus Employment

On-campus employment provides a paycheck from Doane. On-campus employment may include admissions, residence life, student leadership, maintenance, teaching assistantships, landscape services, food service, , or library, etc. Paperwork for on-campus employment is processed by the Payroll Office, the Financial Aid Office and the employing supervisor.

F-1 students are restricted to the amount of hours per week they may work:

  • 20 hours per week maximum during Fall and Spring academic semesters
  • Full-time (21 hours or more) if on-campus during semester breaks, official school holidays or summer vacation

F-1 students may not work on-campus after completing a program unless they have obtained a new I-20 and plan to enroll the following term in a new degree program (such as starting a GPS MAM degree after graduating with an A&S BA on the Crete Campus). Visit the OIP for more information.

Off-Campus Employment

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

You cannot begin employment until approved AND the employment start date listed on the 3rd page of the new CPT I-20 obtained from the OIP.

CPT employment must be an integral part of an established curriculum and must be directly related to a student's major area of study. CPT is authorized employment and may be defined as work/study, internship, cooperative education, internship practicum, or other type of required or optional practicum. Students must be registered for a specific course in their department that fulfills a program requirement, such as BUS421.
CPT can be full-time (more than 20 hours per week) or part-time (less than 20 hours or less per week). Students registered for CPT during a fall/spring semester also must be registered for a full course of study which must include the course required for the CPT. Students engaged in part-time CPT during summer vacation do not need to be registered full-time for classes.

Students must be in legal status which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Possessing a valid passport
  • Registered as a full-time student each fall/spring semester
  • Have been in F-1 student status for at least one full academic year.

To apply for CPT you must be able to respond, "Yes," to ALL of the following:

  1. Is your I-20 valid and unexpired?
  2. Does your I-20 list your current field of study and educational level?
  3. Do you have a valid, unexpired passport?
  4. Have you been a full-time student for one full academic year?
  5. Have you been registered full-time every semester you attended Doane University?

Undergraduate students: Minimum of 12 credit hours

Graduate students: Minimum of 9 credit hours per semester

Doctoral students: If you are a doctoral or thesis-masters student, do you still have required coursework left to complete not including portfolio, thesis, or dissertation hours required by your program?

If you answered "No" to any of the above questions: Contact the OIP.

If you answered "Yes" to the questions: Download the CPT packet, meet with the Career
Development Center, your academic adviser, and the appropriate people to have the CPT forms completed and enroll in the required courses.

  • When the packet is complete, make an appointment with the OIP and bring the following documents with you:
  • CPT Packet
  • Curricular Practical Training Academic Advisor Form completed by your academic adviser
  • Course Description for CPT course in which you will be enrolled
  • Internship Learning Contract
  • Memorandum of Understanding filled out and signed by you and your employer which includes the following information:
    • Job offer including the required information:
      • Position is full or part-time
      • Job Title
      • Job description
      • Specify the number of hours employed per week
      • Specific physical street address with zipcode where you will be working. An actual worksite address is needed, not a post office box. The address must be the location where you are actually working.
      • Specific start date of your employment (you cannot begin work until that date)
      • Specific end date of your employment (you cannot work after that date)
      • If GPS student, bring your expected degree completion plan officially listing the course as a required part of your program
      • Proof of enrollment in the required course
      • Unofficial Transcript from webadvisor
      • Valid, unexpired passport
      • I-20
      • I-94

Allow 5 working days for OIP to process your CPT paperwork, and then pick up at OIP.
You cannot begin employment until approved AND the employment start date listed on the 3rd page of the new CPT I-20 obtained from the OIP.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit of F-1 status to grant authorization to F-1 students to gain work experience in their academic major (not minor).

Qualified students may apply for a total of 12 months of OPT for each successive degree level as an F-1 student. Note: Students in English Language training programs are not eligible for OPT. Students usually apply for OPT after the completion of their program of study, and it is important to submit your application early in your final semester.

To Apply for OPT

You must apply for the OPT benefit. You must submit an application, fee, and supplemental materials, your application will be adjudicated, and you will receive notice of denial or approval. If approved, you will receive an employment authorization document (EAD) before you can begin work. Processing times takes 90 days or longer.

To apply for optional practical training, you must meet ALL of the following requirements:

  1. Check with the Registrar’s office to verify your major/minor are listed correctly
  2. Have a current I-20 form which accurately lists your current field of study and educational level
  3. Have a valid, unexpired passport
  4. Have had less than 12 months of full-time curricular practical training (CPT)
  5. Have been a full-time student for at least one full academic year
  6. Have been registered full-time as an F-1 student every semester you attended Doane, OR have been full-time certified by OIP for the semesters you were not enrolled full-time
  7. If you are completing your program in the summer, be enrolled in at least one credit hour required to complete your program
  8. Attend a OPT Information
  9. Obtain an OPT Packet

If you're not sure if you meet all of the requirements, speak with the OIP.

Unlike CPT, you do not need an offer of employment to apply for OPT. Timing is everything. OPT rules limit the amount of time you can be unemployed during OPT, so do not wait until the last minute to apply. You can apply up to 120 days before your requested start date. Adjudication of your application can take 90 to 120 days, so apply early in your final semester. You must apply for OPT no later than 60 days from the date of program completion.

I’m approved for OPT now what? Maintaining OPT

Once you are approved for OPT:

  • Secure employment that relates directly to your major field of study
  • Submit the OPT update form to the OIP now, and every time you change or add employers
  • Report any change of address to USCIS and OIP
  • Verify your employment and address information with OIP every 6 months
  • Keep a calendar of your employment activity

OPT-eligible employment must:

  • Be full-time -more than 20 hours per week
  • Be directly related to your major field of study
  • Have no more than 90 cumulative days of unemployment

Am I eligible for the OPT-STEM Extension?

If you received your degree in a STEM field, you may be eligible to apply for an OPT extension. Review the list of eligible STEM fields at and complete the OPT-STEM packet.

Severe Economic Hardship

Severe economic hardship must be documented. Application, evidence and fee must be submitted to USCIS, adjudicated and approved /denied by USCIS.
Off campus employment on a very limited basis in the case of extreme unforeseen economic circumstances.


To request a signature for travel on page 3 of your I-20.

In order to receive a signature on page 3 of your I-20 you must submit the Travel Signature
Request. Request a new I-20 if you:

  • Officially change your major or minor with the Registrar’s Office and your academic advisor
  • Change or add dependents.
  • Experience a significant change in financial support
  • Change degree programs at Doane
  • If you will not complete your program before the date on your I-20 you must request an extension of stay at least 10 business days prior to the expiration date listed on your I-20


It is your responsibility to maintain a current passport. For entry to the U.S. your passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to your date of entry.
If you have concerns or questions regarding anything about your F-1 status, visit the OIP Office.

Travel for F-1 Students

Initial Entry Visa

Visit for information on entry requirements, visas, and applying for your initial entry visa. EducationUSA is a helpful resource for students sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Visit

Travel within the U.S.

Whenever you travel, even in the U.S., you should carry your passport, I-20, I-94 and supporting documents with you.

Arriving in the U.S.

You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after your date of entry, a valid F-1 student visa, I-20, proof of payment of your SEVIS I-901 fee, and supporting documents to enter the U.S. You may subject to secondary inspection upon arrival. Canadian Citizens do not need an F-1 student visa, but do need their I-20, proof of payment of SEVIs I-901 fee, and supporting documentation. To verify your SEVIS status, you will be sent to a secondary inspection where immigration officials can confirm your SEVIS record is in active status. Expect 1–3 hours to pass through Customs and Border Patrol.

When leaving then re-entering the U.S.

To re-enter the U.S. after a temporary departure, you must have a a passport valid for at least 6 months after your date of entry, visa, I-20 supporting documentation, and you will be subject to secondary inspection . Details can be found at If your visa is expired plan ahead as security checks for visa renewals may take several months.

If your F-1 visa in your passport IS EXPIRED, you will need to renew your visa while abroad. Details can be found at In addition to your passport and required application elements bring to the consulate:

  • Valid Form I-20 with travel signature on Page 3 within the last 6 months
  • Previous I-20’s (if applicable)
  • Transcript including registration for upcoming semester (if applicable)
  • Current proof of financial support

If your F-1 visa has NOT EXPIRED, bring these to return to the U.S.:

  • Passport valid for at least six months after your date of entry
  • Valid F-1 student Visa
  • Valid I-20 with OIP travel signature within the last 6 months
  • Current proof of financial support
  • Your transcript from WebAdviser

Travel to Canada or Mexico

Please talk with the OIP before you plan travel to Canada or Mexico.

Travel regarding OPT

Please talk with the OIP before you travel if you have applied to Optional Practical Training or if you are currently participating in OPT.

If you depart the US and return, check in with the OIP and bring your passport, visa and provide your arrival/entry information so we can assist you with your electronic I-94 card.