Office of International Students and Scholars


Regarding the DHS Guidelines Issued on July 6, 2020:

DHS issued updated F-1 guidelines for Fall 2020 university operations on July 6, 2020. Our office has sent important information to our international students on how these guidelines will affect our F-1 student population via email on July 7, 2020. Please check your HPU student account to view this important newsletter or email us at if you did not receive it.

Per these new guidelines, continuing F-1 students must complete actions to update their immigration documents before returning to the U.S. Please find more information on this requirement in the July 2020 OISS newsletter.


Aloha and welcome to Hawaiʻi Pacific University and the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). The University is home to more than 500 international students and scholars representing diverse cultures and viewpoints from over 80 countries. We believe that international students and scholars at HPU are vital to cross-cultural understanding and our goal is to promote international educational exchange through all our programs and interactions. 

A student’s affiliation with OISS begins immediately after the admission process and continues well beyond graduation. OISS staff can advise international students, scholars and faculty on immigration, cultural, financial, academic and personal concerns, and make appropriate referrals when necessary.

Information on this page is susceptible to change, with or without notice. If you are unsure of whether or not you are maintaining your status properly, please contact OISS immediately. For additional information regarding enrollment requirements, students can also visit:

As a student or scholar, it is your responsibility to ensure you are adhering to the regulations associated with your visa status. As an F or J visa holder, you must:

  • Maintain a valid passport
  • Enroll as a full-time student according to your registration regulations and make normal progress toward your degree (students only)
  • Inform OISS of address, email, or phone number updates within 10 days of any change
  • Notify OISS of changes to your academic major or program (e.g. history to political science or bachelor's to master's degree)
  • Always be aware of the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Request any necessary extensions before the expiration date
  • Maintain health insurance for yourself and any dependents
  • Work only with proper authorization. Contact OISS before starting ANY employment
  • Request a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 before traveling out of the U.S. if you intend to return
  • Not participate in illegal activities

The purpose of OISS is to:

  • Represent the University to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of State, and other government agencies dealing with international visitors
  • Provide international students and scholars with advice and documentation necessary to maintain their legal status within the United States
  • Guide international students and scholars in their adaptation to American culture and campus life
  • Maintain University compliance regarding regulations concerning international students and scholars
  • Serve as a resource for University departments who work with an international population

Dear HPU International Students and Scholars,

I would like to take this opportunity to address what is currently happening in the United States that is affecting international students and scholars across our nation. 

Most of you are aware that a travel ban was placed on foreign nationals from the countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. We assure you that the Office of International Students and Scholars, along with university administration, will be monitoring the news and any changes in immigration law very closely. 

Although this may or may not affect you, we at OISS are encouraging all international students and scholars to be extra diligent when traveling outside the United States. If you plan to travel and return to the United States, please be sure you have a recent travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019, be sure your passport is valid for 6 months into the future, and be sure that you place your immigration documents in your carry-on bag when re-entering the U.S.. Following these procedures will help U.S.. Customs Officers facilitate your re-entry into the U.S..  

The staff at OISS is here to help if you have any questions or concerns about travel or about current immigration laws affecting your visa. Also, you can always find the most up to date information on our website. For those of you who may feel overwhelmed or anxious by any of this, HPU’s Office of Counseling and Behavioral Health offers FREE and CONFIDENTIAL counseling services. To make an appointment call (808) 687-7076 or stop in their office at WP 6-440.

In closing, I would like to remind everyone that HPU welcomes all international students and scholars, regardless of country of origin. As part of our community you become part of the HPU Ohana. Our Ohana embraces the values of Pono, Kuleana, and Aloha, meaning we treat everyone with respect and kindness and because of this we have an amazing, diverse student body.

Please feel free to reach out to me or the staff of OISS, should you have any questions or concerns.

Warm Mahalo,



Bernard Chong


Office of International Students and Scholars

Hawaiʻi Pacific University

OPT Workshop Dates for Fall 2020

If you plan to submit an OPT application, it is mandatory that you attend one of the workshops listed below in order to obtain OISS approval. Your OPT application will be rejected by USCIS without OISS approval. Students who plan to apply for post-completion OPT cannot begin the application process until their final semester. 







All workshops will be a discussion-based presentation regarding the timeline, process, and regulations affecting students on OPT. Space is limited, you must RSVP to attend. An email confirmation will be sent to you once a seat at your requested workshop has been reserved.

*Room locations will be announced by email once you RSVP.




International Students are not permitted to enroll in any class during the 8A/8B session

Exceptions for 8A/8B courses will be made for extraordinary circumstances with a clearly stated rationale. Please discuss your specific situation with your Academic or Faculty Advisor, who will reach out to our office for further discussion. OISS is the only department who can give final approval for these exceptions.

Immigration regulations limit the number of online courses a student can count towards full time status. Students are able to register for online classes if they follow the online vs. in-class combo chart below:


1 online + 3 in-person = 4 courses total

2 online + 3 in-person = 5 courses total

3 online + 3 in-person = 6 courses total


1 online + 2 in-person = 3 courses total

2 online + 2 in-person = 4 courses total

3 online + 2 in-person = 5 courses total

 International Students are not permitted to enroll in 8A/8B courses.

Exceptions for ONLINE courses will be made for extraordinary circumstances with a clearly stated rationale. Please discuss your specific situation with your Academic or Faculty Advisor, who will reach out to our office for further discussion. OISS is the only department who can give final approval for these exceptions.

Immigration regulations require international students in F-1 status to register as a full-time student for fall and spring semester.  Students are required to enroll in a full-time course load throughout the semester.

For immigration purposes, full-time enrollment is defined as (fall and spring semesters):





Twelve (12)

Three (3)


Nine (9)

Three (3)

*Note: International students are able to take classes during summer and winter semester as they choose, considering that they are in current legal status of their respective F-1 or J-1 status.


OPT Video Tutorial

Travel Signature

Working Off Campus