In light of terrorist activity in Europe—and the U.S. State Department's update to the October 2014 Worldwide Travel Caution—Notre Dame International reminds Notre Dame travelers, especially students in Study Abroad programs, of the following resources and preventative safety measures:
Obtaining a New Visa
The visa is a permit that allows a foreign national to apply for entry into the United States. The U.S. embassy or consulate will put the F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport after you present your I-20/DS-2019, financial documentation, and other required documents at the visa interview. Visa issuance is always at the discretion of the visa officer, and so cannot be guaranteed.
It is not necessary to maintain a valid F-1/J-1 visa once you have entered the U.S. However, you must have a valid F-1/J-1 visa for reentry if you plan to leave the U.S. and return for the continuation of your program. If your visa will expire before you plan to reenter the U.S., or if the number of entries permitted will all be used, you will need to apply for a new visa before reentering the United States.
SEVIS I-901 Fee
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a one-time Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee for students and scholars beginning a new F-1 or J-1 program. You must pay this fee prior to applying for your F-1 or J-1 visa. Most F-1 nonimmigrants must pay a fee of $200. Most J-1 exchange visitors must pay a fee of $180.
Apply for a New F-1 or J-1 Visa:
A new F-1/J-1 visa cannot be obtained within the U.S. and generally should be obtained within the applicant’s country of citizenship or nationality. Individuals who apply for a visa as a “third country national” in a country that is not their own may experience additional problems or delays which they might not experience if applying from their home country.
Due to heightened U.S. security, a visa application may now take several weeks, or even months to process, so you should make an appointment as soon as possible. In addition, you are advised to contact the U.S. consulate or embassy where you intend to apply for a visa, in advance, to ask about the specific procedures and requirements at that location.
To apply for a new visa:
Visit usembassy.state.gov to locate the nearest American embassy or consulate and for specific instructions about applying for a nonimmigrant student visa (F-1 or J-1 visa) or scholar visa (J-1 visa) in that country. At the visa interview, you will need to present:
- DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application receipt. You should complete and submit the application at ceac.state.gov/genniv/ prior to your appointment;
- Your passport;
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 issued by the University of Notre Dame;
- One passport-sized photo;
- SEVIS fee payment receipt;
- Visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt number (visit your embassy’s or consulate’s website for more information);
- STUDENTS: Verification of Enrollment, which shows enrollment for past and present full-time or part-time attendance at the University of Notre Dame; a Verification of Advanced Registration, which shows the total credit hours after the student has “advance” registered for the upcoming semester; and an Official Transcript, which will show that the student is making progress toward the completion of his/her degree and a record of his/her historical and present classes. The request forms for these documents can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office in 300 Grace Hall.
- STUDENTS: Proof of English language proficiency;
- STUDENTS: Proof of financial support for your studies at Notre Dame;
- SCHOLARS: Offer letter from university department. For continuing scholars, obtain new letter confirming continued employment;
- SCHOLARS: Proof of funding for remainder of program, if not paid directly by Notre Dame;
- Proof of your intention to depart the United States after the completion of your program; and
- Other documents detailed on the U.S. embassy’s or consulate’s website (including an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and employment letter for F-1 graduates who are currently engaged in Optional Practical Training, or an employment authorization letter from ISSA for J-1 visa holders who have graduated and are currently engaged in Academic Training).