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Center for English as Second Language

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ISS information for CESL students

The Center for English as a Second Language (CESL) offers an intensive English language program for all levels of English learners. With 20 hours per week of expertly taught language instruction, our program is designed for highly motivated students who wish to acquire command of the English language quickly. Courses are held in spring and fall 7-week sessions, with 6-week sessions in the summer.

If you are a prospective CESL student, you can find more information—such as costs, schedule, and admissions information—on the CESL website.

Center for English as a Second Language


CESL New Student Orientation

CESL students must attend CESL new international student orientation at the start of each session. The orientation covers many important topics.

OU ISS provides important immigration information on the first day of orientation. Please bring your passport to orientation so that we can take copies of your documents. If there is a problem with your documents, OU ISS can help you.

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SEVIS transfer-in process for CESL

If you are transferring your SEVIS record (I-20) to OU CESL from another US school or program, please follow these steps:

1. Apply for admission to OU CESL. With your application, please provide clear copies of these documents:

  • Current I-20
  • Passport
  • F-1 visa
  • I-94 card or visa entry stamp showing that you entered the US in F-1 status
  • Financial documentation – you must show that you have enough money to live and study in the US. This can be a financial guarantee, a bank statement in your name, or a bank statement in your sponsor’s name (with a letter of support stating that s/he is your financial sponsor). All bank statements must show:
    • Account number
    • Account owner name
    • Date within the past 90 days
    • Be in English or be accompanied by a certified English translation

2. After you are admitted to OU CESL, request that your current school release your SEVIS record to the University of Oklahoma – Norman, Oklahoma (DAL214F10664000). You will need to give a copy of your CESL admission letter to your current school. You must also be in good immigration status with your current US school or program before you transfer your SEVIS record to OU CESL

3. After we receive your documents and SEVIS record, we can make your new OU CESL I-20.

If you have questions about the transfer process, you may email ISS ( or CESL ( We look forward to welcoming you to OU CESL soon!

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Extending your I-20

If your I-20 will expire before you will be finished studying at CESL, you must extend it before the end date on your I-20. Please complete the Extension of Stay form on the ISS website at least 2 weeks before your I-20 ends.

If you have questions about extending your I-20, please contact ISS (

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Taking a session break from CESL

After you complete 4 or more consecutive sessions at CESL, you may take one session break while maintaining your F-1 status.

  1. Notify ISS ( or CESL ( of your plans to take a session break

  2. If you qualify for a session break, ISS will send you a session break form that you must complete online.

  3. After you complete this form, you will receive an email with additional information and instructions.

While you are on your session break, please check your email frequently for important messages from OU ISS.

You can take only one session break every four sessions. If you do not return to CESL for the next CESL session, you must notify OU ISS by emailing If you do not contact OU ISS, your F-1 status will be terminated and you must depart the US immediately.

If you have not completed 4 CESL sessions and do not qualify for a session break, please visit the ISS office so that we can discuss your options.

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Transferring from CESL to another US school

If you plan to transfer to a new school or program in the US, please complete these steps:

  1. Apply to your new school.

  2. After you have been fully admitted to your new school, please complete the OU ISS Transfer Release form. You will need to upload a copy of your admission letter.

  3. After your SEVIS record is transferred, you can contact your new school to ask for a new I-20.

You must complete this transfer process before the 2nd week of the next CESL session—if you have not completed the process to transfer by this deadline, our office must terminate your SEVIS record.

Please let us know if you have questions about the SEVIS transfer process.

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Moving from CESL to an OU degree program

You can find information on applying to an OU degree program here.

If you have not yet fully met the English proficiency requirements to be admitted to OU, you may be able to count 2 sessions of CESL toward these requirements. This is called OU Track. Guidelines for this are posted on the CESL website.

After you have been fully admitted to an OU degree program, you must update your I-20 to show your new program information. The Admissions office will provide ISS with the documents necessary to update your I-20, and you will receive an email when your new I-20 is ready.

At that time, you will need to complete these steps:

  1. ISS Arrival appointment– When you pick up your I-20, we will ask you to complete your Arrival appointment. If you do not complete your Arrival appointment, you may not be able to enroll.

  2. Enroll and attend class – You must first meet with your new academic adviser in order to enroll in classes. You must enroll and attend full-time for the semester for which you were admitted; otherwise you may lose your F-1 visa status.

  3. Mandatory Internet Orientation –This is a SEVIS requirement that you must fulfill to maintain your F-1 status in the US. If you do not complete this orientation, a hold will be placed on your enrollment. You will receive instructions on how to enroll in this orientation from ISS.
  1. Crimson Connection – Information and registration form can be found on the ISS website.

You need not obtain a new visa at a US consulate in order to move into your degree program. You may remain in the US and continue in your new program, as long as you are constantly maintaining your F-1 immigration status.

If you were admitted to your degree program through the OU Track, you must begin your program on the next available semester start date, including summer semester. Oklahoma State Regents’ policy prohibits OU Track students from leaving CESL prior to beginning a degree program.

If you have questions about moving from CESL to an OU degree program, please contact ISS ( (, or OU Admissions (

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