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Immigration

Obtaining a Student Visa

This page contains the following information on obtaining a student visa.
1) Types of Visas
2) Obtaining a Visa
3) U.S. Embassy/Consulate Requirements
4) Preparing for Entry to the U.S.

Type of Visa

Students are usually given an F-1 visa. Spouses and children of F-1 visa holders are assigned an F-2 visa. J-1 visas are given to researchers, scholars, and students who are sponsored by government agencies or universities. Spouses and children of these visitors are assigned J-2 visas. The visa is only important for entry or re-entry to the United States. You do not need to worry if it expires while you are here. If you need to leave the U.S. temporarily, the Office of International Student and Faculty Services will counsel you on how to obtain a new visa.

Obtaining a Visa

If you have been admitted to Ohio University (OU) and completed all the necessary requirements, the OU Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions office will issue you one of the following documents:

  • Form I-20
    [Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student (F-1)Status ]
     
  • DS-2019
    [Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status]. 



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U.S. Embassy / Consulate Requirements

When you appear for your interview, make sure that you have:

  • Ohio University's Form I-20 or DS-2019 signed by the Designated School Official (DSO) or sponsoring agency's DS-2019 specifying Ohio University
  • Valid passport for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Payment receipt for the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Evidence of your funding, which must be sufficient to defray all living and school expenses during the first academic year of anticipated study in the United States

When you receive your visa, you will also be given a sealed envelope containing your I-20 or DS-2019 form. This envelope must remain sealed until you give it to the U.S.C.I.S. office when you apply for entry to the United States.

Preparing for Entry

Prior to Disembarking
You should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry to the United States. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has authority to deny admission at the port-of-entry. You should be very careful to have all your documents in order upon arrival. Prior to disembarking from the airplane, the flight attendant will pass out a white-colored form called the I-94-Arrival/Departure Record. You will need to fill it out with all pertinent information regarding your arrival in the United States.

At the port-of-entry
At the port-of-entry, a CBP inspector will check the I-94 and your travel documents and stamp your passport and Form I-20 or DS-2019 to indicate the entry date, location and non-immigrant classification and length of authorized stay. They will return to you the Form I-20 or the DS-2019. The I-94 Departure Record will be attached to your passport. 

The officer at the port of entry will report your arrival to SEVIS.  Ohio University will receive that report.  You should plan to report to Ohio University by the arrival date on your Form I-20 and attend orientation to register for classes.  It is essential that you report to Ohio University following the above guidelines. We are required to report you if you do not.

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International Student & Faculty Services
Walter International Education Center/15 Park Place
Athens, OH 45701
Tel: 740.593.4330 | Fax: 740.593.4328 |Email: isfs@ohio.edu
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