The I-20 form is a 3-page, computer-generated document that is used by F-1
students. The I-20 will usually be enclosed with your acceptance letter. The
DS-2019 form is a 2-page, computer-generated document for J-1 students that is
issued by the ISSS office or your “sponsoring agency.” Please check the
information on your I-20 or DS-2019 to ensure that it is accurate. If there is
an error on your I-20 or DS-2010 form (e.g., name misspelled, wrong date of birth,
etc.) please contact the IEP office as soon as possible.
If you are transferring from another U.S. school/college/university, your
I-20 should be marked as “transfer pending from: (the name of your previous
school).” The SEVIS ID number should be the same as your previous I-20. If you
previously graduated from USF and have started a new degree program, your I-20
will be marked “initial” and the SEVIS ID number should be the same as your
If you have been accepted to more than one U.S. college or university and
have received more than one I-20 or DS-2019, do not apply for the student visa
until you have decided which school you will attend. If you decide to attend
USF, use the USF I-20/DS-2019 to apply for your student visa and enter the
United States using the same I-20/DS-2019!
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F-1 and J-1
visa applicants to pay a one-time fee to supplement the administration and
maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The
fee for F-1 visa applicants is $200; the fee for J-1 visa applicants is $180. The SEVIS fee should be processed by DHS at
least three (3) business days prior to the consular interview. The SEVIS
fee is not payable at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You or another person
(e.g., friend or family) may pay the SEVIS fee either by mail or online.
To Pay By Mail:
Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants” from www.FMJfee.com.
Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your
- Prepare a
check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks
only) in the amount of $200 USD for F-1 visa application or $180 USD for
J-1 visa application, made payable to “I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor
- Mail the
completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
To Pay Online:
Form I-901 “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants” from
the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American
Express information. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on
your I-20/DS-2019 form.
- Print a
copy of the online receipt.
DHS will issue and mail an official paper receipt (I-797) within three days
of processing the fee regardless of payment method. Express delivery service
for the I-797 receipt may be requested at an additional cost. Anyone who
submits an individual fee electronically will be able to print out an
electronic receipt immediately at the time of payment for use in advance of the
mail delivery of the official paper receipt. Although SEVIS fee payments will
be recorded by DHS in the SEVIS system and will eventually be used by government
officials to document the SEVIS fee payment, it is recommended that the
official paper receipt be used to apply for the visa. Please note, DHS will not
refund the SEVIS fee if F-1 students are not granted a visa or choose not to
come to the United States after their visas are granted. However, if your visa
application is denied and you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of
the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.
What is a Visa and do I need One? A visa is a physical stamp in your
passport that is used at a port of entry (typically an airport) to enter the
United States. It is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The type of
visa you use to enter the United States determines the type of status you will
have during your stay. You will need a
student (F-1 or J-1) visa to study in the United States, unless you are
entering the United States with a Canadian passport.
If you are transferring from another U.S. school/college/university or pursuing
another degree at USF, you do not need to apply for a new student visa unless
your visa has expired and you are leaving the United States before starting
your program at USF. Please note that it is impossible to obtain a visa once in
the United States.
How do I apply for a Visa? To apply for a visa, you will need to
schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home
country. Visa processing times, application procedures, and requested
supporting documents vary from one U.S. Embassy/Consulate to another, so please
check with the Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply for your visa. For
a complete list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates, please visit
http://usembassy.state.gov/. Several standard items are required for the
student visa application:
Non-immigrant visa application form (DS-160) and other supplementary forms
- A current
passport, valid for at least six months • I-20 form (for F-1 students) or
DS-2019 form (for J-1 students)
of financial support for the period of time and amount indicated on the
I-20 or DS-2019, such as bank statements or scholarship/grant/sponsorship
- Proof that
you will return to your home country after finishing your studies (for
example, proof of permanent residence outside the United States,
preferably in your home country, proof of property, presence of immediate
family, future employment offers, etc.)
application fee (preferably in cash in the currency accepted by the U.S.
Embassy or Consulate)
- One or
more passport-style photographs
- Proof of
payment of the SEVIS (I-901) fee
The consular officer may request additional documents, such as evidence of
English language proficiency, school records to verify academic preparation,
additional evidence of strong ties to your home country and/or your ability to
support yourself while in the United States. Read all visa application
documents carefully so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to when you
enter the United States on a student visa.
A brief interview with a consular officer may be required as well. Be
prepared to answer questions regarding the reasons for which you have decide to
attend a U.S. university, your ties to your home county, and your future plans
after completing your academic program.
If approved, the consular officer will stamp a student visa in your
passport. Please read it carefully and confirm it is a student visa (F-1 or
J-1) and the information printed on the visa is accurate. If you receive a
multiple entry visa, you may use it to enter the United States as many times as
you wish up to the date of its expiration as long as you have a valid I-20 or
DS-2019 form. If you receive a numbered-entry visa, you will be allowed to
enter the United States only for the number of times specified on the visa
stamp up to the date of its expiration.
The SEVIS fee is not required when transferring schools within the United
States, changing to another degree program or level, requesting a program
extension, renewing a student visa, or using F-1 program benefits such as
practical training. If you are in lawful status prior to travelling
internationally and have less than a 5 month break in your studies, you will
not be required to pay the SEVIS fee.
SEVIS Transfers: If you are transferring to USF, you must request your
previous institution to release your SEVIS record to USF. Once the SEVIS
transfer is complete, USF will issue a new I-20 that will be mailed to you. Be
sure to provide your previous institution with a copy of your USF acceptance
letter and inform them you would like to be transferred.
Change of Degree Level at USF: If you are changing from one USF degree to
another, you will get a new I-20 at the end of your current program. If you
plan to travel in-between the degrees, you should inform the respective
admissions office (graduate or undergraduate) of your plans and where you would
like your I-20 sent.
When you arrive at USF you will need to
show proof of immunizations in order to get cleared for being able to
attend classes. You should consult your medical
provider in your home country to get proof of your medical history and
immunizations you have already received. For a list of required
immunization and how to submit proof visit: http://www.usfca.edu/hps/_Immunization/Required_Immunizations/.
You will also want to obtain records about any medical conditions you
have, treatments you need, prescriptions for medication (including the
generic and brand names), and eye glasses. Dental and medical records
for you, and your dependents if applicable, are strongly recommended in
case you need further treatment while in the United States.
USF will require that you purchase student health insurance unless you
show proof of comparable health insurance for the United States. If you
believe that you have health insurance that can meet the requirements,
bring proof of this insurance and details about the plan to apply for a
health insurance waiver. You can read more about the health insurance
requirement online at: www.usfca.edu/hps.
It is important that you secure your housing arrangements early. San Francisco is a very popular city, so
finding off-campus housing takes time.
On-campus housing is available for those students who apply the
earliest. If you would like to live
off-campus this is your responsibility. The IEP Office does not have the staff
or resources to assist you in securing housing off-campus in San
On Campus Housing
for on-campus housing will open on April 1, 2013. On-campus housing is limited and will be
allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis. For complete information please visit Summer School Housing.
To apply for
on-campus housing on or after April 1st, log into USF connect, click on the Student tab, then stroll to the bottom
of the page. Click on the USFrooms link on the lower left.
Off Campus Housing
There are many real
estate brokers and apartment-finding services throughout the city that can aid
your search for a place to live in San Francisco. For information,
please visit Off-Campus Housing.
may take a minimum of two weeks to find and rent an apartment, so plan your arrival and living
arrangements in San Francisco accordingly.
In order to rent an apartment, most rental agencies and landlords will
verify your “credit history” in the United States, which would be evidenced by
prior rentals in the United States, U.S. bank accounts, or credit cards. However, if you are new to the United States,
international students are advised to prepare additional documentation of
financial resources (scholarships, bank account funds, etc.) as part of a
Supplemental Packet. Typically, landlords are understanding and welcome
A “lease” (or
rental agreement) is a binding legal contract between you and the property
owner that obligates you to pay the landlord monthly rent for the duration of
the lease. Most leases are for 12 months
and are very difficult to alter or break.
Living off-campus, while providing greater independence, may also result
in expenses that you would not have if living on campus. These extra expenses include furniture, house
appliances, transportation costs, and utilities such as water, electric, and
IEP students are expected to arrive by the program start date. In most
cases, the date of the IEP start date will also be the program start date
indicated on your Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019). If you cannot
arrive by the program start date specified on your Certificate of Eligibility,
notify the IEP office.
If you wish to travel within the United States before the start of classes,
you may do so on your student visa. You
may enter as early as 30 days before your program start date on your
Certificate of Eligibility. U.S. Embassies and Consulates usually issue the
F-1 or J-1 student visa as early as 120 days before the entry date on the
Certificate of Eligibility. Do not enter
the United States on a tourist visa (B-2) or under the Visa Waiver Program.