Student visas

Types of student visas

 As an international student at Arizona State University, you will need to obtain an F-1 or J-1 student visa.

F-1 student visa

The F-1 visa is the most common student visa and is issued to full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program at a U.S. institution. Any student who is funded either by personal or outside funds, or a combination of the two, is eligible for F-1 status. If you are a student applying for an F-1 visa, you must request the SEVIS Form I-20 from the appropriate ASU admission office once admitted to ASU.

F-2 student visa (undergraduate)

The F-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows dependent spouses and children of F-1 student visa holders to enter the U.S. and enroll in an educational institution. As a student with F-2 visa status, you can attend ASU only as a part-time student. For the undergraduate level, this means you may register for up to 11 credit hours for the spring and fall terms.

F-2 student visa (graduate)

The F-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows dependent spouses and children of F-1 student visa holders to enter the U.S. and enroll in an educational institution. As a student with F-2 visa status, you can attend ASU only as a part-time student. For the graduate level, this means you may register for up to eight credit hours for the spring and fall terms. Some graduate programs do not allow students to attend part time. For additional information, please contact your program of interest.

J-1 student visa

The J-1 visa is an exchange visitor visa issued to students at all academic levels. Students must have a substantial portion of their funding coming from a source other than their personal finances (e.g., their home institution or government). If you are a student applying for a J-1 visa, you must request Form DS-2019 from the appropriate ASU admission office once admitted to ASU.

 

SEVIS Form I-20

An initial I-20 is issued for students with a new SEVIS record. A transfer I-20 is issued for students who have an active SEVIS record at a U.S. high school or higher education institution, and are transferring their records to ASU.

Initial I-20

If you have not been issued an I-20 in the past, or if you have but the SEVIS record affiliated with that I-20 was terminated or completed, you should request an initial I-20.

Once you have uploaded all required documents in My ASU for the I-20, ASU Admission Services will begin the process of creating your initial I-20.

Transfer I-20

If you have an active SEVIS record at another U.S. school (high school or higher education institution) and are requesting an I-20 through ASU, you should follow the Request Transfer SEVIS Form I-20 section below. Once you have uploaded all required documents in My ASU for the I-20, ASU Admission Services will begin the process of creating your transfer I-20.

Go to the Transfer Sevis section

Requesting your I-20

An I-20 is an important immigration document that F-1 students need in order to obtain their student visa and enter the U.S. ASU guides each student through the process of obtaining their I-20. Priority Tasks on My ASU alerts students to the steps they need to take. The process of obtaining an I-20 can take some time, so it is important not to wait until the last minute to begin gathering the necessary documents and uploading them.

For sponsored students, the steps to obtaining an I-20 are slightly different than for nonsponsored students. Students should use the descriptions below to determine whether or not they are a sponsored student.

Sponsored student

A sponsored student’s school and living expenses are paid by a sponsoring agency recognized by ASU.

Some examples of sponsoring agencies are ADNOC, ARAMCO, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, Kuwait Cultural Office, Oman Cultural Division, Qatar Airways, Qatar Defense Attaché, Qatar Higher Education Institute, Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, Sidra, UAE Cultural Division and the UAE Scholarship Coordination Office.

Most of ASU’s sponsored students come from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar and Oman.

Note: Students receiving an ASU scholarship or TA/RA position are not considered sponsored students.

Nonsponsored student

A non-sponsored student’s school and living expenses are paid for through personal or family funds, loans or through other means not associated with an ASU-recognized sponsoring agency.

Students who are unsure if they are a sponsored student should contact ASU Admission Services at ASUinternational@asu.edu or +1 480-965-2437.

Steps to request an I-20

Step 01

Fill out the Financial Guarantee form

In compliance with the Department of Homeland Security and SEVIS regulations, all international applicants on the F-1 student visa must provide evidence of sufficient funds available for their studies in the U.S. For this purpose, a Financial Guarantee form  must be completed and submitted along with bank statements dated within the past six months and signed or wet stamped by an authorized bank or representative, or by a recognized sponsoring agency in the U.S. Please submit your Financial Guarantee form along with your bank statements or sponsor letter from an authorized sponsoring agency. ASU will not be able to process your SEVIS Form I -20 without receipt of your Financial Guarantee.

Please refer to the Financial Guarantee form to determine the amount of funds required for your specific program and campus. You can access the form here .

Students with dependents (a spouse and/or child) who will be joining them in the U.S. during their time on an F-1 or J-1 visa will need to provide proof of the following additional funds:

Additional financial support needed for dependents
Spouse – $7,000
Each child – $5,000

Financial Guarantee form 

Step 02

Provide bank statments

The Financial Guarantee form is separate from the financial documentation that you will need to provide. Examples of financial documents valid for I-20 processing are listed below.

Bank statements that show liquid funds (funds that can be immediately accessed and used). These can be one statement covering the entire amount displayed on the financial guarantee form for one year of attendance at the university, or a collection of bank statements from the people listed on the financial guarantee as sponsors. Note that the summary of available balances on these statements will still need to total the amount listed on the financial guarantee form for one year of attendance at the university. These statements need to be dated within the last 12 months. Please note that an Affidavit of Support cannot be used in lieu of a bank statement.

For sponsored students, a sponsor letter produced by a sponsoring agency recognized by ASU stating the applicant’s full name, academic program in ASU, term of the sponsorship and amounts covered by it. Some of the agencies are: ADNOC, ARAMCO, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, Kuwait Cultural Office, Oman Cultural Division, Qatar Airways, Qatar Defense Attaché, Qatar Higher Education Institute, Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission, Sidra, UAE Cultural Division and the UAE Scholarship Coordination Office. You can read more about this in the sponsored student section.

Step 03

Upload a copy of your passport

You may take a clear photo or scan of the biographic page of your passport and upload it to the link on My ASU. The bio page is the page that shows your picture and personal details. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S. If it is not valid, the I-20 will not be processed.

Step 04

Request initial SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

Undergraduate students

Once you are admitted to ASU and submit your financial guarantee, you will need to complete two steps for us to create and send your SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.  The tasks will appear in your Priority Tasks list on My ASU. Upload the following items through My ASU, then request Form 1-20 or Form DS-2019:

Click on Priority Tasks to notify us if you are in the U.S. and to request the delivery option for your SEVIS Form I-20.

If you are already studying in the U.S. on a SEVIS Form I-20, you will need to have your records transferred to ASU by following the Transfer SEVIS Form I-20 steps (see Step 03 below).

Graduate students

Once you are admitted to a graduate program at ASU, you will see new items on your My ASU Priority Tasks list. The items include:

  • Financial Guarantee form
  • Proof of finances
  • Passport
  • “Request I-20” or “Request DS-2019”

When you click on the items in your Priority Tasks, a pop-up box will provide you with additional information and directions for what you need to do.

You will also see two Graduate Admission Services holds, which will be removed only when your SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 is issued.

When you submit your Financial Guarantee form and proof of finances, allow three business days for the items to be processed and removed from your Priority Tasks list. When the documentation has been added to your electronic file, you will be assigned to a student services assistant who will process your SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019, and who will contact you if there is a problem. Processing a SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 usually takes three to seven business days.

OR

Request Transfer SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

Undergraduate students

Print the ASU Undergraduate SEVIS Transfer Request form and submit it to your current school informing your intent to enroll at ASU.

Pick up the new ASU SEVIS Form I-20 in ASU's Office of Undergraduate Admission Services when you arrive at ASU, then report to the International Students and Scholars Office.

If you are going to travel outside the U.S. before your studies at ASU, you will need to re-enter the U.S. with the ASU SEVIS Form I-20. Contact ASU International Admission Services to make arrangements to receive the ASU SEVIS Form I-20 before leaving the U.S. ASU will not mail the SEVIS Form I-20 unless you request it. If you need your SEVIS Form I-20 sent to your home country, ASU can send it through FedEx if you provide a credit card number and expiration date to charge the FedEx fee. Present the ASU SEVIS Form I-20 at the U.S. Port of Entry.

If you have any questions, please contact the international student advisor at the school that you are now attending or contact:

Admission Services
1151 S Forest Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85287-0112
Phone: 480-965-2437
Email: gograd@asu.edu

Graduate students

Print the ASU SEVIS Transfer Request form. Fill out the top part of the form and submit it to your current school to inform them of your intent to transfer to ASU. They need to fill out the bottom portion indicating a specific transfer date.

Your SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 will be mailed to you or will be available for pick up according to the information you provided when you submitted the “Request I-20” or “Request DS-2019.”

If you will travel outside the U.S. before your studies at ASU, contact Admission Services at 480-965-6113 or gograd@asu.edu to provide details about your travel plans.

Step 05

Review SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019

It is important to understand your SEVIS document; each page contains important information that you must read. You must ensure that all information is correct (spelling, dates, etc.). If there are any mistakes, please contact the admission office as soon as possible to have the information corrected. You will need the SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, your ASU notification of admission, the Financial Guarantee form and your passport in order to obtain your student visa at the U.S. consulate nearest you.

Understanding the SEVIS Form I-20

The SEVIS Form I-20 is a three-page government document used for students to obtain an F-1 visa.

  • Page 1 contains program and biographical information.

    • Your SEVIS Identification Number is on the top right side of the form. You will need this number for your visa application and to pay the SEVIS fee.

    • F-1 students will be permitted to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to their report date, which is No. 5 on their SEVIS Form I-20. Please note that if you enter the U.S. after the report date, you may encounter difficulty with immigration officials at the Port of Entry. By signing the Student Certification No. 11 on the SEVIS Form I-20, you are acknowledging that you have read and understand the terms and conditions of F-1 status.

  • Page 2 contains instructions for the school and student. It is important that you read Page 2 of your SEVIS Form I-20, which has important immigration information for maintaining your F-1 status while pursuing your studies as ASU.

  • Page 3 contains spaces for future travel authorization. You will not need a signature on this page when you travel to the U.S. using your SEVIS Form I-20 for the first time.

Note: Dependents accompanying the F-1 student in F-2 status must have their own SEVIS Form I-20, issued in the name of the dependent.

Understanding the SEVIS Form DS-2019

The SEVIS Form DS-2019 is a two-page government document used for students and scholars to obtain a J-1 visa.

  • Page 1 contains program and biographical information.

    • Your SEVIS Identification Number is on the top right side of the form. You will need this number for your visa application and to pay for the SEVIS fee.

    • This page also contains spaces for future travel authorization. You will not need a signature on this page when you travel to the U.S. using your SEVIS Form DS-2019 for the first time.

  • Page 2 contains instructions for the school and student. It is important that you read Page 2 of your SEVIS Form DS-2019, which has important immigration information for maintaining your J-1 status while pursuing your studies at ASU.

Note: Dependents accompanying the J-1 student in J-2 status must have their own SEVIS Form DS-2019, issued in the name of the dependent.

Step 06

Process SEVIS Form I-901 and payment

Upon receipt of SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, you will have the information needed to pay the SEVIS fee and the SEVIS Form I-901 fee. You must pay the SEVIS fee and have a receipt prior to applying for a student visa.

The SEVIS Form I-901 fee is mandated by the U.S. Congress to support the program office and the automated system that keeps track of students and exchange visitors, and ensures that they maintain their status while in the U.S.

 

I-20 and DS-2019 issuance timeline

The U.S. government has strict regulations on the issuance of I-20 and DS-2019 documents to international students who wish to attend an educational institution in the U.S. The dates below are for issuance of an I-20 or DS-2019, the latest date to report to the appropriate international student office, and the final day to be enrolled full time. Any noncompliance with these dates may preclude you from registering for classes. International students not enrolled full time will have their SEVIS record terminated and become subject to detainment and deportation.

Spring 2019 semester

Sept. 10, 2018
First day to issue I-20/DS-2019 for Spring 2019 admits
Dec. 7, 2018
Final day to issue I-20/DS-2019 (sent outside US by international express mail paid by students, accommodate visa processing time)
Dec.7 2018 — Jan. 7 2018
MANDATORY SEVIS check-in with ISSC
Dec.21 2018
Final day to issue I-20/DS-2019 (international transfer students in US, including AECP)

Jan. 7 2019
First day of classes and international student report deadline with ISSC

Summer 2019 semester

Jan. 22, 2019
First day to issue I-20/DS-2019 for Summer 2019 admits
Apr. 19, 2019
Final day to issue I-20/DS-2019 (sent outside US by international express mail paid by students, accommodate visa processing time)
Apr. 20 2019 — May 20 2019
MANDATORY SEVIS check-in with ISSC
May 6, 2019
Final day to issue I-20/DS-2019 (international transfer students in US, including Global Launch)

May 20, 2019
First day of classes and international student report deadline with ISSC

 

 

 

 

Student visa checklist

Step 01

Apply for nonimmigrant visa, DS-160

As a visa applicant, you must submit a completed DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application for all nonimmigrant visa categories. Read complete details about student visas.

Note: After you have completed the DS-160, you will need to print and keep the DS-160 barcode page.

Step 02

Schedule visa interview

To schedule your interview, locate your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Each consulate sets its own timeline for accepting and processing student visa applications. If the consulate says apply “at least” 60 days before your program departure, this means no fewer than 60 days. To avoid problems, submit your visa application at the earliest date the consulate will accept it.

Step 03

Pay visa application fee

Please read information about nonimmigrant visa application fees. Applicants must pay these fees as directed prior to their visa interview, and they must bring the receipt to their interview.

If the visa is issued, please note that a visa issuance reciprocity fee may be applicable based on your country of citizenship. Please refer to the Visa Reciprocity Table to see if this fee applies to you.

Step 04

Prepare for visa interview

Start gathering the required documents for your student visa application the moment you apply to your program. Read through all information provided online by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you will be visiting. At your interview, you will need to provide:

  • SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with your SEVIS record number issued by ASU
  • a receipt of your SEVIS Form I-901 fee
  • confirmation page for application form DS-160
  • passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S.
  • one 2x2 inch photograph of yourself
  • a receipt of your visa application fee(s) — pay before your appointment
  • financial evidence showing you, your parents, or your sponsor have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during your studies
  • transcripts or diplomas from previous schools attended
  • scores from standardized tests required by the college, such as the TOEFL

   Tips on preparing for your interview

Step 05

Prepare documents for travel

As you get ready to arrive in Arizona, be sure to prepare your documents for travel. Here are some items you should carry with you. It is advisable to keep a copy in your checked luggage and one with your family at home. Make sure you have these original documents available at all times while traveling to and within the U.S.:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • valid passport 
  • current visa
  • copy of immunization records
  • original supporting financial documents
  • dependents' I-20 or DS-2019 and passports if your spouse and children will be traveling with you
  • international travel coverage documents, if you purchased this coverage.

Frequently asked questions about student visa

How do I get a student visa?

To get a student visa, you must first apply and be admitted to ASU. Once admitted, you must apply for an I-20 through ASU by uploading the required documentation. Once you receive your SEVIS number from the I-20 created by ASU, you’ll apply for your student visa through your country’s embassy. The visa process includes some paperwork and an in-person interview with an immigration officer at your local embassy. The embassy then creates the student visa with your passport and will indicate the dates you can arrive in the U.S. for your studies.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. You must complete a SEVIS form I-20 to get an F-1 student visa or a SEVIS form DS-2019 to get a J-1 student visa.

Can I get a job while in the U.S. as a student?

Yes, you may work as a student, though ASU recommends you work no more than 20 hours per week. Many international students work for ASU, as the university employs more than 10,000 students. You may also work off campus, but if you do, it’s important that your employer understands that you are an ASU student and that your education is one of your top priorities.

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