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Other Visas and Immigration Statuses

LEGAL DISCLAIMER:  U.S. immigration regulations are complex and change frequently. While we strive to maintain a website that is both current and helpful, Pepperdine University is not responsible for students maintaining lawful immigration status; this is the responsibility of the student and may necessitate consultation with appropriate legal counsel. Links provided do not constitute endorsement by Pepperdine University.  Please consult Immigration and Custom Enforcement's "Who Can Study?" document for more information that may affect this process. 

 The following information is intended to be a summary of important information but is by no means conclusive or exhaustive.  Please consult the other resources linked in this document.  As noted below, visa requirements vary, depending on the program and other considerations.  Most information about visa requirements found here are geared toward prospective or admitted students seeking to obtain lawful immigration status, but please note that it is the ultimate responsibility of the student, not only to achieve lawful status, but also to maintain it. 

International Students are non-citizens of the United States.  International students at Pepperdine should use the appropriate visa related to their current activities at Pepperdine (a student visa or other non-immigrant visa that allows part time or full time study). Most commonly, international students maintain an F-1 student visa. 

Other visa types may allow study incidental to the purpose of the visa but are subject to the same deadlines and must be approved by the Office of International Student Services (OISS). Students must already have obtained and must upload documentary evidence of a valid and eligible visa in their application prior to the OISS deadlines. Pepperdine is not authorized to issue J1 exchange visas, but students who hold valid J1 visas through organizations such as Fulbright are eligible to study at Pepperdine. While certain visa types or statuses may appear to be permitted by the Department of Homeland Security, students who have entered the U.S. in B1/B2, ESTA, or Visa Waiver (WB/WT) status (visitor or tourist visa) are prohibited and will not be allowed to study at Pepperdine. 

Students under the age of 21 years who are studying as dependents on a parent's primary visa, will be required to apply for an F-1 visa and be in F-1 status by the time they turn 21 years old. Students who are already age 21 and above are required to apply for an F-1 visa and be in good standing in F-1 status to enroll. 

Using any non-immigrant visa category will enable you to enter and stay in the United States for a specified amount of time. The dates on the visa in your passport do not always indicate how long you may remain in the United States. Regulations regarding employment, permitted length of stay, and spouse's eligibility to work vary according to the visa category. It is therefore important to understand the regulations pertaining to each visa type. Students managing approved visa types and statuses are responsible to manage the rights and responsibilities of their visas directly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Once the proper visa expires it will be necessary to apply for a new visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate when traveling outside the United States.

Review Immigration and Custom Enforcement's "Who Can Study?" document for more information.


Intended Visa Selection for Students Already in the United States in Undocumented Status: 
On Pepperdine applications, NVH is a fictitious visa type intended for students who are already residing in the US undocumented. The University will follow up and advise students further.


Students Already in the United States that have lost or terminated status: 
For international students who have lost legal immigration status or have had it terminated, reinstatement of legal immigration status (through SEVP) is required before students are eligible to (re)apply for programs.  Please note, for example, that spouses and children who derive their status from that of the principal may not remain in the United States beyond the period approved for the principal in order to continue schooling. In most cases, children lose their derivative status at the age of 21 and must apply for a change of status to F-1 or M-1 if they wish to remain in the United States to continue their course of study.  Therefore, if this situation applies, the dependent must be reinstated to legal immigration status before (re)applying or continuing in our programs. 


Intended Visa selection for Fully Online Programs:
Students who intend to study from outside of the United States in a fully online program with no required US residency may select “NVH” as their intended visa for study and must complete the Alternative ISD form upon submission of their deposit to their intended program of study. 

Some Pepperdine programs coded as “online” have U.S. residency requirements and therefore require an eligible US visa. Students should select F-1 (or another eligible visa) as their intended visa and complete the International Student Data (ISD) form upon their deposit for their intended program of study. 


Changing to an F-1 Student Visa After Enrolling at Pepperdine: 
Students on other approved US visas may reach out to the OISS at any time, should they seek to change to an F-1 student visa. 

Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card)
Although Permanent Resident Visa holders have foreign passports, Pepperdine considers them "domestic" for admissions and immigration purposes. Permanent Residents qualify to apply for U.S. federal financial aid. For more information about maintaining lawful permanent residence, please visit https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-green-card-granted/maintaining-permanent-residence