As an International student, you are required to apply for a student visa to study in the U.S. (Canadian citizens do not need a visa. They need a passport, and a I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the U.S. as a student). An I-20 will be issued to degree seeking student to apply for an F-1 Visa. A DS-2019 will be issued to exchange students and visitor to apply for a J-1 visa.
After receiving your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to do the following:
- Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. (All F-1 or J-1 visa applicants are required to pay the SEVIS Fee. Please visit https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp for more information.
- Schedule a visa appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate that issues visas. Please visit http://www.usembassy.gov/ to find the location nearest to you.
- Upon receipt of the F-1 or J-1 visa, you may enter the U.S. not more than 30 days prior to your I-20 or DS 2019 start date.
Please note that receipt of a I-20 or DS-2019 does not guarantee issuance of a visa. Also, receipt of an F-1 or J-1 visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. Customs and Border Control officers will determine your admissibility into the U.S. after reviewing your immigration documents. Please visit the following links for more information travel.state.gov and http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html
Change of Status
If you are currently in the U.S. on a different visa status other than F-1, visit the Change to F-1 page to view eligibility requirements to changing status from within the U.S.