Obtaining Your F-1 Visa & Status
Read carefully all information on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Visa Eligibility”, especially page 2, where your legal responsibilities as an F-1 student in the US are explained. The US Government mandates that you understand and follow the rules and regulations pertaining to your student visa.
1. For students outside the US
Present your Form I-20 to the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain an F-1 Student Visa along with proof of adequate funds to cover your educational expenses at the University of St. Thomas, a valid passport, and any other documents that may be requested. In order to obtain the visa, you may be asked to provide evidence that you have strong ties to, and definitely will return to, your home country after completion of your studies. Be prepared to prove that you have family, money, property, or professional ties to your home country.
Attention: Do not enter the United States on a B-2 Tourist Visa! As of April 2002, the US government has made it very difficult to change to an F-1 Student Visa here in the US. In addition, you will not be able to begin studies until the change to F-1 is approved.
When you arrive in the US, an Immigration Inspector will review your papers and may interview you as described above. He/she will check that you have a valid F-1 student visa in your passport, will look at your Form I-20 Form and may ask to see financial documentation. He/she will place a red entry stamp on your Form I-20 and return it to you. You will also be issued an I-94 “Arrival/Departure” card. Do not lose these documents. They are legal documents, which prove your status in the US. Be sure to bring your passport, I-20, and I-94 to your Document Check so that ISS staff can make sure your legal papers are in order and copy them for our files.
2. Transfer Procedures for F-1 students already in the US
If you are an F-1 student transferring to St. Thomas from another college or university in the US, be sure to read the “F-1 Transfer Memo” and fill out the “Transfer Verification Form” and have it signed by the Foreign Student Advisor at your current school. The signed form can be mailed or faxed to us in advance, or you can bring it with you to your document check, so we can officially process your transfer to St. Thomas. Your St. Thomas I-20 will not be legal and official until you present it and a signed transfer verification form to an ISS advisor during your document check.
2. Change of visa status procedures
If you are currently in the US on a visa other than F-1 and want to change your status to F-1, please contact ISS directly about how and when to apply for a change of status.
Follow the same basic directions as F-1 students, section I (above), but substitute “DS-2019” for “I-20”.
Students With Other Non immigrant Visas or Status (F-2, J-2, H-1, H-4, etc…)
Students with a nonimmigrant status other than F-1 or J-1 should consult with the International Admissions regarding their eligibility for study.
We will arrange for Airport Greeters to meet you at the airport, please click here for more information.