University of Mississippi
Office of International Programs
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Visas, Traveling and Transportation

Traveling is essential for all international students and employees. Whether you are a newly admitted international student who is traveling to the U.S. for the first time, or a current international student or employee who would like to travel abroad for a short visit, we're here to help you become familiar with important immigration regulations that pertain to your particular case.

Parking lot

This page covers the following sections:

  • Explanation of Visa Categories Sponsored by UM
  • Obtaining a Visa Stamp for Entry to the United States
  • Arriving in the United States
  • Traveling as a Current Student/Scholar
  • Tranportation options to/from the Oxford area
  • Obtaining a Mississippi Driver's License
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    Explanation of Visa Categories Sponsored by UM

    Student Visa Categories

      F-1 or J-1 statuses are the most common visa categories for students. OIP will determine the proper category based on your admission status and intent, any current or previous U.S. visa status (if applicable), funding sources, and other requirements, restrictions or preferences. Once the proper category is determined and the required documents are submitted, OIP will issue the proper document in order for you to apply for a visa and obtain admission to the U.S. in the appropriate category. Note that I-20s are issued for F-1 visas, and DS-2019s are issued for J-1 visas.

      Once you have been fully admitted to the University of Mississippi and have provided your proof of finances with the Affidavit of Financial Support Form, the Office of International Programs will prepare the necessary F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 forms to send to you. You will also be sent a welcome packet with information on arriving to the university, applying for housing, international student orientation, and about necessary immunizations.

      The Office of International Programs cannot prepare the I-20 or DS-2019 unless you have been admitted to the university, submitted the proof of finances and the Affidavit of Financial Support Form, sent all necessary official test scores, and sent official mark sheets/transcripts from previously attended high schools and colleges.

      Students in F-1 or J-1 Status who are currently attending another institution in the U.S. must also have their SEVIS record transferred to the University of Mississippi. The University of Mississippi cannot print a new F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019 unless your current institution has transferred the form to our institution. To transfer the records, the student must complete Section I of the School Transfer Eligibility Form (STEF Form) and then have their current International Advisor complete Section II of the School Transfer Eligibility Form. The International Advisor must then send the complete form to the Office of International Programs by mail or by fax to 662 915-7486.

      The Office of International Programs cannot prepare the I-20 or DS-2019 for international transfer students unless you have been admitted to the university, submitted the proof of finances and the Affidavit of Financial Support Form, completed the of the School Transfer Eligibility Form, sent all necessary official test scores, and sent official mark sheets/transcripts from previously attended high schools and colleges.

    Scholars, Faculty and Employment-Based Visa Categories

      J-1 and H-1B statuses are the most common visa categories for international scholars, faculty, and employees. UM can also sponsor employees for TN, O-1, or U.S. permanent residency status when applicable. OIP will determine the proper category based on employment status, position, immigration intent, any current or previous U.S. visa status (if applicable), funding sources, and other requirements, restrictions or preferences. Once the proper category is determined and the required documents are submitted by the hosting department and beneficiary, OIP will issue the proper document or file the proper petition in order to obtain admission to the U.S. or change of status in the appropriate category.

      Once you have received an official offer of employment or agreement with an academic or administrative unit, your hosting department will need to notify OIP so that we can properly advise how to gain or maintain the proper employment/visa status and consider various timing factors. Once the proper status is determined, a pertinent application will need to be completed and submitted to OIP.

      More information about the various visa types and application/petition processes can be found under the Faculty & Scholar, Basic Overview of Sponsorship tab.

     

    Obtaining a Visa Stamp for Entry to the United States

    F-1 Visa

      First, verify that your name, date of birth, country of birth and citizenship as listed on your I-20 form match what is written in your passport . Contact The Office of International Programs if changes are needed on your I-20.

      SEVIS Fee Requirement

      To be eligible for an F-1 student visa, incoming students must pay a SEVIS fee. This US government required fee is for support of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a computerized system that maintains and manages data about foreign students during their stay in the United States.

      The fee can be paid to the Department of Homeland Security by mail, online or through Western Union Quick Pay.

      To pay Online:
      1. Complete the Form I-901 at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/students/formSelection.htm Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form and your date of birth in month/day/year format.
      2. Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Debit cards with the visa or MasterCard logo are also accepted.
      3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
      To pay the SEVIS fee by mail or using Western Union Quick Pay, see instructions at:
      https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/students/formSelection.htm

      Applying for the F-1 visa
      1. Follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for a student visa application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at http://www.usembassy.gov/ Be sure that it is known that you are applying for a student visa as student visa applications are given priority for scheduling. The consulate can issue an F-1 visa up to 120 days before the start date on the I-20.
      2. Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html
      3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate's site
      4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview :
        • Passport valid for at least six months into the future
        • Form I-20
        • Completed visa application
        • 2x2 photograph in the prescribed format http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
        • Receipts for payment of the SEVIS and Visa Application fees
        • Financial evidence to show there are sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
        • Be prepared to explain the program you will be a part of at The University of Mississippi, your reasons for wanting to participate and any information that helps to establish your nonimmigrant intent since the F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant status.
        • Any additional information listed on the consulate's website

      Additional Helpful Sites:
      http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html
      http://educationusa.state.gov/

    J-1 Visa

      Obtaining a J-1 Visa

      First, verify that your name, date of birth, city/country of birth and citizenship as listed on your DS-2019 form match what is written in your passport. Contact The Office of International Programs if changes are needed on your DS-2019.

      SEVIS Fee Requirement

      To be eligible for an J-1 student visa, incoming students must pay a SEVIS fee. This US government required fee is for support of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a computerized system that maintains and manages data about foreign students during their stay in the United States.

      The fee can be paid to the Department of Homeland Security by mail, online or through Western Union Quick Pay.

      To pay Online:
      1. Complete the Form I-901 at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/students/formSelection.htm Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your DS-2019 form and your date of birth in month/day/year format.
      2. Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Debit cards with the visa or MasterCard logo are also accepted.
      3. Print a copy of the online receipt.

      To pay the SEVIS fee by mail or using Western Union Quick Pay, see instructions at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/

      Applying for the J-1 visa

      1. Follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for a student visa application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at http://www.usembassy.gov/ Be sure that it is known that you are applying for a student visa as student visa applications are given priority for scheduling.
      2. Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html
      3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate's site.
      4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview :
        • Passport valid for at least six months into the future
        • Form DS-2019
        • Completed visa application
        • 2x2 photograph in the prescribed format http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
        • Receipts for payment of the SEVIS and Visa Application fees
        • Financial evidence to show there are sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
        • Be prepared to explain the program in which you will participate at The University of Mississippi, your reasons for wanting to participate and any information that helps to establish your nonimmigrant intent since the J-1 visa is for nonimmigrant status.
        • Any additional information listed on the consulate's website

      Additional Helpful Sites:
      http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html
      http://educationusa.state.gov/

    H-1B Visa

      If your H-1B is sponsored while you are living outside of the U.S., the Embassy of your choice will be notified of the approval and OIP will send you the documents necessary to apply for a visa stamp. Please note that you may not enter the U.S. in H-1B status more than 10 days prior to the effective date of that status.

      As with all non-immigrant visas, the consular official has sole discretion to grant the visa.

      The U.S. Department of State website provides extensive information regarding visa stamp processing. For information about the U.S. Embassy/Consulate at which you will apply, click here. For estimated wait times for visa processing and interviews, click here.

      Security Checks

      Security checks during application for a visa stamp are very common for all people studying or working in scientific fields.  They are even more common in specific countries such as China, India, Korea and Middle Eastern countries.  While these checks are usually completed within a couple of weeks, a few have taken as long as 9 months and there is nothing UM can do to shorten the period of time it will take.  Please plan accordingly and let your supervisor know about this possibility.

      Entering the U.S. in H-1B Status

      When entering the U.S. in H-1B status you must present both your I-797 approval notice and the H-1B visa stamp in your passport. Please be sure that the I-94 (small, white card) that you are given at the port-of-entry) has an expiration date that matches ytour I-797 and not your visa stamp as those two dates are sometimes different.

    O-1 Visa

      For information about applying for an O-1 visa for entry into the United States, please visit the Department of State's website at the O-1 visa section.

      Entering the U.S. in O-1 Status

      When entering the U.S. in O-1 status you must present both your I-797 approval notice and the O-1 visa stamp in your passport. Please be sure that the I-94 (small, white card) that you are given at the port-of-entry) has an expiration date that matches your I-797 and not your visa stamp as those two dates are sometimes different.

    TN Visa

      For applicants who are outside of the United States

      For Canadians

      All Canadian citizens who plan to apply for the TN outside of the United States should still complete the TN Packet, Enclosure B section (found on the OIP Forms page) and submit the form and requested documents to the Office of International Programs.

      Canadian citizens can apply for admission to the United States directly with the Department of Homeland Security at a port of entry. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement in general, meaning that they do not have to get a TN (or TD-dependent) Visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Non-Canadian dependent spouses or children of Canadian citizens are not exempt from the Visa requirement; so, non-Canadian dependents must obtain the TD-visa from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

      Canadian citizens should provide the following information at a U.S. Port of Entry to be allowed into the United States in TN-status:

      1. Provide Proof of Citizenship
        • Canadian citizens are generally exempt from any passport requirement; while they may establish Canadian citizenship by showing a Canadian passport, they may also establish their Canadian citizenship through other documentation, such as a short- or long-form Canadian birth certificate, or a certificate of Canadian naturalization
      2. Provide detailed letter of employment from the U.S. employer. The letter should:
        • affirm the Appendix 1603.D.1 profession of the applicant
        • describe the duties the applicant will perform in the U.S.
        • reference the anticipated length of stay
        • review the educational qualifications or credentials which demonstrate the applicant has professional-level status
        • describe the arrangements for payment for the services to be rendered
        • The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html
      3. Provide evidence that the job is in one of the occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1
        • This can be in the form of a copy of the Appendix, with a statement in the employer letter or cover letter specifically placing the employment within one of the occupations listed
        • The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html
      4. Provide evidence that the individual has the required credentials for the job as stated in Appendix 1603.D.1
        • The TN visa applicant must present his or her credentials, including diplomas, transcripts, licenses, certificates or other documentation. The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have the right to request to see these documents in original form or certified copies, so the applicant should be prepared with originals or certified copies.
        • Any credentials obtained outside the U.S., Canada or Mexico should be accompanied by a credentials evaluation.
        • If the applicant is seeking to prove work experience that is necessary to meet the TN requirements, the applicant should submit letters from previous employers or business records for proof of self-employment.
        • In general, there must be a reasonable connection between the academic or professional credentials of the individual and the duties that will be performed. If the connection is not obvious, a reasonable argument should be provided to support the application.
      5. Provide statement that the purpose of the entry to the U.S. is temporary.
        • Although this may be set forth in the employer’s letter, the applicant should articulate it at the time of admission
      6. $50 Application Fee

      For Mexicans

      All Mexican citizens who plan to apply for the TN outside of the United States should still complete the TN Application Packet, Enclosure B Section (found on the OIP Forms page) and submit the form and requested documents to the Office of International Programs.

      A Mexican citizen must obtain a TN visa, and his or her dependents must obtain a TD visa, prior to being admitted to the United States under NAFTA. This means that Mexican citizens must make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain the TN or TD Visa.

      Basic Visa Application Steps for TN Status

      1. Schedule an interview for a visa application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov/. It is important to apply for your visa as far in advance as possible to allow enough time for any required security clearances.
      2. Complete the following forms:
        • DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
        • DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application for male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45.
        Forms available from the Department of State web site: http://www.state.gov/m/a/dir/forms/visa/index.htm DS-156 can be filed electronically at: http://evisaforms.state.gov/
      3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s web site.
        • MRV Fee
        • TN Visa reciprocity fee ($100)
      4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
        • Proof of Mexican Citizenship
          • Mexican citizens must present a Mexican passport, which should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay being requested.
        • Detailed letter of employment from the U.S. employer. Letter should:
          • affirm the Appendix 1603.D.1 profession of the applicant
          • describe the duties the applicant will perform in the U.S.
          • reference the anticipated length of stay
          • review the educational qualifications or credentials which demonstrate the applicant has professional-level status
          • describe the arrangements for payment for the services to be rendered
          • The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html
        • Evidence that the job is in one of the occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1
          • This can be in the form of a copy of the Appendix, with a statement in the employer letter or cover letter specifically placing the employment within one of the occupations listed
          • The appendix list and occupation requirements can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html
        • Evidence that the individual has the required credentials for the job as stated in Appendix 1603.D.1
          • The TN visa applicant must present his or her credentials, including diplomas, transcripts, licenses, certificates or other documentation. The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have the right to request to see these documents in original form or certified copies, so the applicant should be prepared with originals or certified copies.
          • Any credentials obtained outside the U.S., Canada or Mexico should be accompanied by a credentials evaluation.
          • If the applicant is seeking to prove work experience that is necessary to meet the TN requirements, the applicant should submit letters from previous employers or business records for proof of self-employment.
          • In general, there must be a reasonable connection between the academic or professional credentials of the individual and the duties that will be performed. If the connection is not obvious, a reasonable argument should be provided to support the application.
        • Statement that the purpose of the entry to the U.S. is temporary.
          • Although this may be set forth in the employer’s letter, the applicant should articulate it at the time of admission
        • Completed visa applications (DS-156 and DS-157, if applicable)
        • One 2”x 2” photograph in the prescribed format: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
        • Receipts showing payment for the visa application fees
        • Any additional information listed on the consulate’s web site.

       

    Arriving in the United States

    Arrival Dates

      For students, you must arrive at the University of Mississippi no later than the Tuesday before classes begin in order to attend the mandatory orientation program on the following day (Wednesday). If you arrive late and do not register for classes by the first week in September/February this will cause many problems with registration, and may result in serious immigration problems. You may receive two or three letters from UM indicating different arrival dates. Try to arrive by the earliest date indicated. Several departments require meetings or placement exams before classes begin. Your department should have forwarded pertinent information to you after you were admitted.

      Visiting scholars or faculty should plan on arriving in Oxford in time to meet with Human Resources, set up payroll, apply for Social Security if applicable, and meet with the Office of International Programs. H-1B and TN employees may enter the U.S. up to 10 days before the start date listed on their I-797A Approval Notice, and J-1 visiting scholars may arrive up to 30 days before the start date listed on their DS-2019.

      The Office of International Programs is located on the 3rd floor of the Martindale Student Services Building. The office is open on Monday through Friday from 8a.m. until 5p.m. If you arrive on campus when we are open, please come to our office to receive registration materials. If you arrive in Oxford during a time when the university is closed, please go to one of the inns or hotels in Oxford for temporary housing. If you have already been assigned a dorm room by the Department of Housing please contact our office. We may be able to pick up your dorm room key and leave it at the front desk of the dormitory where you will be staying.

    Local Airport Information

      Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee is the closest International Airport to the University of Mississippi. Incoming students, researchers, faculty, and staff should make plans to arrive at the Memphis International Airport (Airport Code MEM).

    Arriving at a United States Port of Entry

      What You Can Expect

      (From the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website found here for J's and here for F's).

      U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is committed to facilitating your stay in the United States while you take advantage of our nation’s academic, educational, and cultural offerings. To enhance security without slowing legitimate travel, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has instituted some changes in U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and preparation by international students and scholars can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is minimal.


      Plan Your Arrival

      F-1 Students on SEVIS I-20s may be refused entry into the United States if attempting to arrive more than 30 days before the program start date listed on the SEVIS I-20 form. Also, J-1 Students and Scholars are prohibited from entering the United States more than 30 days in advance of the program start date identified in Item 3 of the DS 2019.


      Always Hand Carry Your Documents

      Do not store your passport or I-20 or DS-2019 or other immigration documents in your baggage or luggage. If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States.

      You should hand carry the following documentation in a folder or envelope:

      1. Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay;
      2. SEVIS Form I-20 (F-1 Students), the DS-2019 (J-1 Students/Scholars) or I-797 approval (H-1B, TN, or O-1);
      3. Evidence of financial resources;
      4. Evidence of student status with the University of Mississippi, letter of acceptance as a participant in the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program or job offer letter from department ;
      5. Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797; and
      6. Name and contact information for your sponsoring organization, including a 24-hour emergency contact number.

      For greater detail on procedures for traveling and arriving as a student in the United States, visit: SEVIS for Students website.


      Complete Your Entry Paperwork

      If Arriving By Air: Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival- Departure Record Forms (I-94). These must be completed prior to landing.

      If Arriving By Land or Sea: The CBP Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be filled out upon your arrival.

      As You Arrive at the Port of Entry

      Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents available for presentation:
      1. Your passport;
      2. Your I-20, DS-2019, or I-797;
      3. Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94); and
      4. Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).

      The Form I-94 should reflect the address where you will reside, not the address of the program.

      All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important for J-1 Visa holders to tell the CBP Officer that they will be an exchange visitor. F-1 Students must tell the CBP Officer that they will be a student. H-1B, TN, and O-1 holders should be prepared to tell the CBP Officer where they will work. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school program where you will enroll/participate.

      Once your inspection is successfully completed:

      • The inspecting officer will stamp your SEVIS Form for duration of status (“D/S”) for J visa holders and F visa holders with date and port of entry
      • H-1B, TN, and O-1 will have passport stamped and marked with a specific end-date
      • The inspecting officer will stamp the Arrival-Departure Record Form (I-94) and staple it in the passport

      • Before Leaving the Inspections Area

        Make sure you have all of your documentation, including the following:

        1. Passport
        2. Departure Record (I-94 Card)
        3. I-20 (F-1 Students) or
        4. DS-2019 (J-1 Students or Scholars) or
        5. I-797 (for H-1B, TN, O-1)
        6. All supporting documents (letters, proof of finances, etc.)

    Following Admission Into the United States

      F-1 students should report to their school within 30 days of the date that appears on the SEVIS I-20 form to register for courses or to validate their intended participation. Failure to do so may result in serious consequences.

      J-1 Students and Scholars must report to their Exchange Visitor Program sponsor within 30 days of the program begin date identified in line 3 of the DS 2019 to have their participation in the program activity validated. Exchange Visitors in programs beginning with “G” listed in item 2 of the DS 2019, and who are being sponsored for less than 30 days, must have their sponsor validate their participation prior to the end date listed in Item 3 of the DS 2019. Failure to have participation validated will result in an automatic invalidated SEVIS record.

      Those in H-1B, TN, or O-1 status should report to the university immediately.

    Additional Information

      Secondary Inspections Requirements

      If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

      It is important to answer all questions the CBP officer asks. Remember to remain calm. Secondary inspection is a normal process and is nothing of which to be afraid.

      The CBP officer will first attempt to verify the status of F-1 or J-1 visa holders by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify your admission/participation with your sponsoring school or program, it is strongly recommended that you have the name and telephone number of your foreign student advisor or J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsor international faculty advisor available. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), you should also have the emergency phone number.

      Daytime Contact:
      Office of International Programs
      (662) 915-7404
      After hours, emergency contact:
      University Police Department
      (662) 915-7234

      Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. If you are admitted with the Form I-515A, you must work with your program sponsor or international advisor to submit proper documentation without delay.


      US-VISIT

      All nonimmigrant visitors holding visas-regardless of race, national origin, or religion -participate in the US-VISIT, a comprehensive registration tracking system for entries to and exits from the United States. The program involves obtaining a scan of two index fingerprints and a digital photograph. For more information click here

      Before Leaving the Inspections Area

      Make sure you have all of your documentation, including the following:

      1. Passport
      2. Departure Record (I-94 Card)
      3. I-20 (F-1 Students) or
      4. DS-2019 (J-1 Students or Scholars) or
      5. I-797 (for H-1B, TN, O-1)
      6. All supporting documents (letters, proof of finances, etc.)

    Traveling as a Current Student/Scholar

    Travel Within the United States

      Travel within the United States for any international student or scholar on a non-immigrant visa does not require any special documentation, letters, or any signatures from the Office of International Programs. Still, anyone on a non-immigrant visa should be able to present proof of their legal status within the United States at any time. It is recommended that for travel outside of Oxford you take your passport and at least a photocopy of your accompanying documentation (i.e. I-20, DS-2019, H-1B Approval Notice). Also, it is recommended that you keep photocopies of your main passport page, visa page, I-94 Card, and any other visa documentation with you at all times even when not traveling.

    Travel Outside the United States

      Visa Requirements for Other Countries

      Traveling to another country may involve obtaining an entry visa to that country. It is best to check the consulate website of the country you wish to visit to get the current visa procedures.

      To find visa requirements for another country, you should visit that country's consulate or embassy website..

      For Canadian Visas, click HERE
      For Mexican Visas, click HERE

      F-1 Students and F-2 Dependents

      To be able to travel outside of and return to the United States in F status, you will need to have a valid signature from either the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO) or the Designated School Official (DSO) on the last page of your F-1 or F-2 I-20 Document. In the Office of International Programs both International Programs Advisors are DSOs.

      Anyone in F-1 or F-2 Status must visit the Office of International Programs at least one week before any travel out of the United States. One week is necessary to allow the International Programs Advisor to sign your documents and to be able to process any changes to your I-20 before your travel.

      Travel signatures are valid for six months and must be valid on the date which you wish to return. Also, your I-20 must still be valid, meaning your program end-date must not have passed in order to be able to reenter the United States.

      Additionally, F-1 students seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States. If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.

      With the exception of visits to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], you will also need to have a valid US F-1 or F-2 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States. The F-1 and F-2 Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Visa appointments must be made with a consulate or embassy outside of the United States for the renewal or initial F-Visa.

      It is recommended that students obtain a “Letter of Good Standing” from the Office of the Registrar before departing the country. This letter will confirm your enrollment with the University of Mississippi and confirm your expected graduation date.

      J-1 Students, J-1 Scholars, and J-2 Dependents

      To be able to travel outside of and return to the United States in J status, you will need to have a valid signature from either the Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) on the front page of your J-1 or J-2 DS-2019 Document in the Travel Validation Section.

      Anyone in J-1 or J-2 Status must visit the Office of International Programs at least one week before any travel out of the United States. One week is necessary to allow the International Programs Advisor to sign your documents or to make any changes to your DS-2019 before your travel.

      Travel signatures are valid for six months and must be valid on the date which you wish to return. Also, your DS-2019 must still be valid, meaning your program end-date must not have passed in order to be able to reenter the United States.

      Additionally, J-1 students and scholars seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States. If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.

      With the exception of visits to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], you will also need to have a valid US J-1 or J-2 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States. The J-1 and J-2 Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Visa appointments must be made with a consulate or embassy outside of the United States for the renewal or initial J-Visa.

      It is recommended that J-1 Students obtain a “Letter of Good Standing” from the Office of the Registrar before departing the country. This letter will confirm your enrollment with the University of Mississippi and confirm your expected graduation date. J-1 Scholar Researchers/Professors can obtain a letter for travel from the International Programs Advisor for faculty and scholars. The letter for Researchers/Professors will confirm affiliation with the University of Mississippi.

      J-1 Students and Scholars on a DS-2019 and F-1 Students on OPT/CPT I-20s NOT issued by the University of Mississippi.

      You must obtain a signature for travel from the institution that issued your DS-2019 or I-20 in order to comply with Department of Homeland Security regulations. You should plan obtain signatures from your DSO/PDSO or RO/ARO well in advance of your intended travel, to allow enough time send your documents to your institution and for your DSO/PDSO or RO/ARO to mail your documents back to you. You should also inform the University of Mississippi, Office of International Programs of any plans to travel.

      H-1Bs and O-1s

      To be able to travel outside of and return to the United States in H-1B or O-1 status, you will need to visit the Office of International Programs at least one week before your intended travel out of the United States. One week is necessary to allow the International Programs Advisor to prepare a travel letter and the accompanying documentation of your H-1B/O-1 status with the institution. The documentation of your status with the University of Mississippi includes the original approval notice for your H-1B/O-1 as well as copies of all H-1B/O-1 application materials.

      Additionally, H-1Bs and O-1s seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States. If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.

      With the exception of visits to Canada and Mexico that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], you will also need to have a valid US H-1B or O-1 visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States. The H-1B and O-1 Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Visa appointments must be made with a consulate or embassy outside of the United States for the obtaining the initial or renewing the H-1B or O-1 Visa.

      It is recommended that faculty and staff in H-1B or O-1 status obtain a letter from their department which verifies their employment and expected return date.

      Individuals in all other immigration classifications (including dependents)

      For any international student, faculty member, staff member, or researcher in any status other than J-1, F-1, H-1B, or O-1, you will need to visit the Office of International Programs at least one week before your intended travel out of the United States. One week is necessary to allow the International Programs Advisor to advise you of any special requirements for your travel and to prepare any necessary documentation prior to your travel.

      Additionally, anyone traveling and seeking to reenter the United States must have a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to return to the United States. If your passport is expiring, you should make plans to renew or extend your passport before your travel.

      With the exception of visits to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean islands that last less than 30-days [22 C.F.R. § 41.112(d); 8 C.F.R. § 214.1 (b) (1)], you will also need to have a valid US visa stamp in your passport to be able to return to the United States. Visa Stamps cannot be obtained within the United States. Visa appointments must be made with a consulate or embassy outside of the United States for the obtaining and initial or renewal visa.

      It is recommended that students obtain a “Letter of Good Standing” from the Office of the Registrar before departing the country. This letter will confirm your enrollment with the University of Mississippi and confirm your expected graduation date. Additionally, faculty and staff members should obtain a letter from their department which verifies their employment and expected return date.

    Transportation to/from the Oxford areaMississippi Map

    The University of Mississippi Shuttle Service

      The University of Mississippi Conference Services has shuttle service to and from the Memphis International Airport. Shuttle service runs from 5 am – 12 midnight only. To book a reservation, please give a 3-day notice.

      Cost: $85 per person one way
      Pre-pay by Visa/MasterCard/Cash

      Contact information: Phone 662–915–7015
      Email jcmurphr@olemiss.edu
      Website http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/conferencecenter/index.html

    Bus, Taxi, or Driving

      Bus:
      The Greyhound Bus line travels all over the United States. A Greyhound bus station is located near the Memphis International airport. You will need to take a taxi from the airport to the bus station.
      Costs: From Memphis to Tupelo, MS: $27 - $42 (fees are subject to change)
      From Memphis to Grenada, MS: $23.50 - $37.50 (fees are subject to change)
      *An International credit card can be used for Will Call online ticket purchases. International customers can also purchase their ticket at any Greyhound location upon arrival in the U.S. by check, cash, or
      For taxi information from Greyhound bus stations in MS, please see below.
      Contact information: Fare and schedule information inside the U.S. 1-800-231-2222
      Outside the U.S. 214-849-8100 between 5:00 a.m. - 1:00 a.m. CST
      Email ifsr@greyhound.com
      Website www.greyhound.com

      Taxi:
      Angel Taxi services many major cities in the tri-state area (Nashville, Little Rock, Memphis, etc.). All reservations must be made at least 2 days in advance.

      Rates from the Memphis International Airport are as follows:
      One person, one way - $120
      Two people, one way - $75 per person
      Three to fifteen people, one way - $50 per person

      *If available, Angel Taxi will try to make your reservation with others arriving at the same destination to cut costs. Please inform the representative if you would rather travel alone.*

      If taxi is needed from Greyhound bus station:
      Grenada to Oxford - $85 per person one way
      Tupelo to Oxford - $95 per person one way
      Pay by Visa/MasterCard/American Express/Discover

      Contact information:
      Phone 662-236-5557
      Text 662-832-8280
      Email Angeltaxi01@gmail.com

      Driving Directions:
      From Memphis, Tennessee via I-55
      From Memphis, TN take I-55 south for 63 miles. Take the Batesville/Oxford exit off I-55. Merge into MS-6 and proceed east toward Oxford, MS for 26 miles. Once in Oxford, take the second exit marked Coliseum Drive onto campus.

      From Memphis, Tennessee via Hwy 78
      From Memphis, TN take US-78 for 52 miles. Exit US-78 at the Holly Springs/Oxford exit. From Holly Springs, take MS-7 south for 31 miles. Once in Oxford, take the 4th exit onto MS-6 and proceed west. Take the 3rd exit marked Coliseum Drive onto campus.
      From Jackson, Mississippi
      From Jackson, MS take I-55 North for 150 miles. Take the Batesville/Oxford exit off I-55. Proceed east on MS-6 toward Oxford, MS for 26 miles. Once in Oxford, take the second exit marked Coliseum drive onto campus.
      From Tupelo, Mississippi
      From Tupelo, MS take MS-6 west for 52 miles. Once in Oxford, take the 6th exit marked Coliseum Drive onto campus.


    Complimentary Hotel/Motel Shuttle Services

      Many of the hotels offer complimentary transportation services from Memphis International Airport to their lodging sites in Memphis. Use the direct telephone call station board located in baggage claim A, B or C to call your desired hotel for pick-up. Wait for your shuttle outside the baggage claim area and across the first drive. Overhead signs will indicate the location for the shuttle stop.

    Obtaining a Mississippi Driver’s License

      (These instructions apply to applicants who are at least 18 years of age)

      To drive in Mississippi, you will need either a Mississippi driver’s license or a valid license in your home country and a valid international driver’s license. Even if you do have the home country and international license, it may still be preferable to get a Mississippi license because of the policies of automobile insurance carriers. An unexpired license from another state can be used for 60 days after abandoning your residence in the issuing state.

      Types of Licenses

      Learner’s Permit

    • For learning to drive on MS public roads
    • Allows you to drive only when a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age occupies the adjacent seat in the vehicle
    • Must pass the written and vision exams
    • Valid up to 2 years
    • Fee is $4.00
    • Original Driver’s License

    • Vision, Written and Road Skills tests required, but Written and Road Skills tests may be waived if applicant is over 18 and has had an out of state license for at least 6 months.
    • Issued for maximum of 4 years but actual length may be shorter depending on immigration status end date
    • Cost for license issued for 2-4 year period is $21.00. Cost for less than 2 years is $11.00.
    • Motorcycle Endorsement

    • Written and Skills test required
    • Required for all license types:

    • Valid Immigration documents including
    • Passport
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • I-94 card
    • Proof of Physical Address such as
    • Lease or Rental agreement
    • Letter from the Department of Housing for students who live on-campus
    • Certified birth certificate with English translation (not needed if you have a driver’s license from another U.S. state)
    • Social Security card if you have a Social Security number
    • Cash for the application fee (credit cards and checks not accepted for initial applications)
    • Application and Testing

      Applications and required tests are administered by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety at the Oxford Testing Center located on Hwy 7 South at Veteran’s Drive. They are reachable by phone at 236-2066. Tests are administered on a walk-in basis from 8:30- 11:00 and 2:00- 4:00 on Monday – Friday. You may take all of the tests on the same day, but if a test is failed, it cannot be re-taken on the same day.

    • Vision test
    • Written examination
    • Multiple choice test given on computer
    • 80% is passing score
    • Manual to study available online at
    • Mississippi Drivers License Manual
    • Road Skills test
    • Be accompanied by a licensed driver
    • Be in a properly licensed and insured vehicle with an up to date inspection sticker
    • A trained examiner and you will be the only vehicle occupants during the test
    • Test will not be given when road conditions are wet or slippery
    • The Written and Road Skills tests may be waived if you are over 18 years of age and have held an out of state license for at least 6 months.

      When applying for your initial license and when renewing, be prepared to answer the question “ Do you want to be an organ donor”. If your answer is “yes”, a symbol will be placed on your license and your information will be entered into a registry. More information can be found in the online driver’s license manual and at Doner Registry

      Directions to Testing Center

      From the University, take Highway 6 east towards Tupelo. Turn onto Highway 7 south. The testing center is about 2 miles from here on the right hand side of Highway 7 where it meets Veteran’s Drive. The center shares a parking lot with the Lafayette County Health Department.

      Car Insurance Requirements

      Liability insurance coverage is required for all vehicles by Mississippi law. You can be asked to show proof of having at least the following minimum coverage:

    • $25,000 per person (single accident)
    • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
    • $25,000 per accident for property damage
    • Other types of insurance to consider include:

    • Uninsured Motorist
    • Underinsured Motorist
    • Collision
    • Personal Injury
    • Comprehensive
    • What to Do in Case of an Accident

      Automobile accidents are headaches. Here are some quick tips to help you:

    • Turn hazard lights on. In most cases for minor accidents, cars should be moved to the side of the road to avoid causing additional accidents. Take pictures and stay at the scene unless it is dangerous to do so.
    • Call the police even if you think an officer is not needed.
    • Request accident report from officer.
    • Be sure to get names, addresses, phone numbers, tag numbers and insurance information from any other parties involved in the accident. If possible, also take down the driver’s license numbers of the other drivers.
    • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after the accident.
    • To help you remember the details of the accident at a later date, write down everything you can about the accident as soon as you can, your version of what actually happened, position of the cars, information about the weather and road conditions, traveling speeds, and damage done to all vehicles.
    • Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
    •