F-1 Prospective Students
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One of the forms you will need to apply for an F-1 visa is an I-20 form, which is issued by the school. Before we can issue the I-20 form, you must provide us with information to show that you have enough financial support to cover the estimated cost of attendance. We will need to see proof of financial ability from you or your sponsor, which is usually in the form of an official bank statement. If you will be receiving a scholarship, you may reduce the amount that you need to prove by the amount of the scholarship. Every dollar not provided by you or a scholarship must be promised in an affidavit by a sponsor.
In order to receive an I-20 you will need to complete and return the F-1 packet to us after you are admitted into an OHSU degree program. Once we receive this information we will be able to process your I-20 and mail it to you.
For a complete list of all Degree Programs, please visit the Find a Degree Program site.
- Complete the F-1 packet and return it to the Department of Immigration Services.
- Enroll at OHSU in the first term after leaving your previous school. You must be eligible to begin classes within 5 months of transferring out of your current school or within 5 months of the program completion date on your I-20, whichever is earlier. If you are currently on OPT you must be able to begin study within 5 months of transferring out of the school that recommended OPT or the date the OPT authorization ends, whichever is later. Students on OPT following completion of studies are eligible for transfer through the end of the 60-day grace period after completion of OPT.
- Check in with the Department of Immigration Services when you first arrive on campus to complete the transfer process.
You must include the following documents with your application for an F-1 visa:
- Form I-20
- Evidence of financial ability to meet expenses: You must provide proof that you have enough funding to cover tuition, health insurance, and living expenses. If you have received a scholarship you must provide evidence of that scholarship through a scholarship award letter or something similar. If you are planning to use personal funds you must show that you have adequate funding for the entire course of study and that the money can be taken out of your home country. If a sponsor will be supporting your course of study you must provide proof that he/she has funds adequate to support you throughout your course of study, along with a letter or affidavit of support from your sponsor pledging his/her support.
- Evidence of English proficiency and intention and ability to study: You must provide proof that you have been unconditionally accepted into an academic program. You will need to take your I-20 form and your acceptance letter with you to the visa interview. You will also want to provide evidence that demonstrates that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete the course of study to which you have been admitted. The following types of documents can be used in demonstrating your skills: diplomas, transcripts showing the course you have taken, TOEFL score report and other score reports such as GRE and GMAT, etc.
- Evidence of intent to depart the United States after completion of studies: The main reason that prospective students are denied visas is because they fail to prove to the consulate officer that they will return to their home country once they have completed their courses of study. An F-1 visa is a temporary visa, so you must prove that you intend to return to your home country when you have finished your course of study. This can be proved by showing ties to your home country. The following types of evidence can be used in showing your ties: evidence that shows you or your family own a business and/or property in your home country; evidence that a company in your home country will give you a job when you return; evidence that you have the skills necessary to succeed in the fields that are in demand in your home country.
- A valid passport
- Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application)
- Photograph: Must follow the Department of State's requirements
- Machine Readable Visa (MRV) surcharge fee
- Visa Reciprocity Fee (if applicable)
- SEVIS fee: A $200 SEVIS fee must be paid prior to applying for a F-1 visa. This can be done online. You must take the receipt with you to the visa interview.
The U.S. Embassy website will provide you with information on applying for a visa at U.S. consulates located around the world. You will want to be familiar with the rules and procedures of issuing visas before you apply for yours. Since visa procedures vary depending on what consulate you go to it is recommended that you check the site for the procedures at the U.S. consulate you plan on going to.
When you arrive at the U.S. port of entry you must present the documents listed below to the immigration official:
- A valid passport (unless you are exempt from the passport requirement)
- A valid F-1 visa (unless you are exempt from the visa requirement, i.e. Canadian citizens)
- Evidence of Financial Support
- Form I-20
- Form I-94: The immigration official will stamp your passport with your date of entry and status. You will then be able to go to the I-94 website to print your arrival/departure record with your status information and expiration date. If you come via a land port-of-entry crossing you will still receive a paper-based I-94 which will have your status and expiration date. The Form I-94/entry stamp should be marked F-1 and have a period of validity of D/S. If you notice that the I-94 or entry stamp is incorrect, ask the immigration officer at the border to correct it. If you notice the mistake after you have gone through immigration, contact the Department of immigration Services at OHSU so we can help you get it corrected.
Most nonimmigrants in the United States may apply for a change of status to F-1 if he/she has maintained lawful nonimmigrant status. However, certain immigration categories prevent you from applying for a change of status in the United States (i.e. persons in J status subject to the two-year residency requirement, persons who entered on the visa waiver program, etc.). Please contact the Department of Immigration Services to determine if you are eligible to apply for a change of status.
Nonimmigrants in B-1 or B-2 status
A nonimmigrant in B status may not attend school until the Department of Homeland Security has approved his or her application for a change of status to an F or M nonimmigrant student. Enrolling in school before the change of status is approved is a violation of nonimmigrant status.
Nonimmigrants in F-2 status
A nonimmigrant spouse in F-2 status may not engage in full time study and an F-2 child may only engage in full time study if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through 12th grade). The F-2 spouse and child may only engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature. An F-2 desiring to engage in full time study, other than study in an elementary or secondary school must apply for and obtain a change of nonimmigrant classification to F-1, J-1 or M-1 status. Enrolling in school before the change of status is approved is a violation of nonimmigrant status.
In order to apply for a change of status you must submit a completed application packet to the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. The following documents are required for a change of status application:
- Form I-539
- Filing fee of in the form of a check or money order made out to the Department of Homeland Security
- Financial documentation (the same documentation you submitted in order to receive the I-20)
- A copy of your I-94 admission record
- A copy of the biography page and extension pages of your passport
- A copy of your U.S. visa (if applicable — Canadians are not required to have a visa to enter the U.S.)
- Copies of documentation verifying the validity of your current immigration status. Please contact the Department of Immigration Services for a list of documents required for your particular status.
- SEVIS fee: A $200 SEVIS fee must be paid prior to applying for change of status to F-1. This can be done online. Include a copy of the receipt with the application.
If you have dependents that will be applying for a change of status with you they must also submit a copy of their I-20s, I-94s, passport, visa and documentation verifying the validity of their current status.
If you would like help with your change of status application please contact the Department of Immigration Services.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not legal advice. It is your responsibility to know and abide by the immigration regulations that apply to you.