Pre-Arrival Immigration Information
The University of Notre Dame issued you a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, which will allow you to apply for an F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant student visa. If you received Form I-20, you should read the “Instructions to Students” on page 2 very carefully and then complete section 11. If you received Form DS-2019, you should read page 2 carefully and then sign the bottom of page 1. If you will not enroll at the University during the semester stated on the form, notify ISSA immediately by emailing email@example.com or calling +1-574-631-3825.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges a Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee for students 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. For a list of people who must pay the SEVIS fee, visit SEVIS Fee for F-1 Students & J-1 Exchange Visitors.
If you are a citizen of Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, or a British subject in the Bahamian, Cayman, or Turks and Caicos Islands, you will not need a U.S. visa to enter the country; however, you will need to present the SEVIS fee payment receipt at the U.S. port of entry.
How do I pay the SEVIS fee?
- Complete Form I-901 online and submit payment using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card at https://www.fmjfee.com. Print the receipt.
- Pay via Western Union in your home country. For complete instructions, visit: www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu_instr.htm. After three business days, check your payment status at www.fmjfee.com/ and print your receipt.
- You must take the I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt to the U.S. consulate or embassy for your visa interview.
(Excluding Students from Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and British Subjects in the Bahamian, Cayman, and Turks and Caicos Islands)
Visit http://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) in that country. If you were issued a Form I-20, you should apply for an F-1 visa. If you were issued a Form DS-2019, you should apply for a J-1 visa. At the visa interview, you will need to present:
DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application receipt. You should complete and submit the application at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ prior to your appointment;
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);
Letter of admission from the University of Notre Dame;
Proof of English language proficiency;
Proof of financial support for your studies at Notre Dame;
Proof of your intention to depart the United States after the completion of your studies; and
Other documents detailed on the U.S. embassy’s or consulate’s website.
Please note that F-1 student visas cannot be issued more than 120 days prior to the program start date found in section 5, page 1 of Form I-20.
Students admitted to the University of Notre Dame should not enter the country on visitor visas (B-1/B-2 visas). In most cases, students who enter the country on visitor visas violate their immigration status by enrolling at the University.
You may arrive in the United States up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20 (see section 5) or Form DS-2019 (see section 3) and no later than this date. If you attempt to enter the U.S. after this start date, you may be denied entry. Please note that you are responsible for making your own housing arrangements.
Arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry
At the U.S. port of entry, you will need to present the following documents to the inspections officer (do not pack these items in your checked luggage):
- Passport with F-1 or J-1 Visa (unless you are exempt from the visa requirement);
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 issued by Notre Dame;
- Admission Letter; and
- Evidence of Financial Resources.
The inspections officer will use the US-VISIT system and take a digital photograph of you and scan your fingerprints.
Beginning in May 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discontinued the issuance of paper I-94 documents to nonimmigrants entering the United States at all air and sea ports. While traditional paper I-94 cards are still issued to those who enter the country through land borders, this change in documentation will affect the majority of international students at the University of Notre Dame.
Under the new system, a student may provide evidence of lawful entry and legal immigration status by providing one of the following documents:
Traditional I-94 Card: A student who entered the United States through a land port or who last entered the United States prior to April 20, 2013, will likely still have a paper I-94 card. A student who applies for and is granted a change of nonimmigrant status within the United States is also still issued a traditional paper United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Approval Notice, the bottom third of which serves as the individual’s I-94 document.
Paper Printout of Electronic I-94 Information: A student who entered the United States through an air or sea port after April 20, 2013, may access his or her I-94 record online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html using the entry date stamped in his or her passport. A paper printout of this record serves the same purpose as the traditional I-94 card and may be accepted in lieu of the traditional I-94 card. This record is intended to provide students with the ability to present evidence of immigration status and legal entry into the United States to employers and benefit-granting agencies such the Social Security Administration and Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
DHS advises that it may take up to three days from the date of an individual’s entry into the United States for I-94 information to become available through the web interface.
Additional information about the I-94 and new process may be found on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/.
If you will change your status to F-1 or J-1 within the U.S., you must file Form I-539, your original Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, and other required documentation with USCIS. Students are strongly advised to contact ISSA if they plan to change status as well as provide a copy of the entire application to ISSA prior to submitting it to USCIS. For more information and Form I-539, visit http://www.uscis.gov/i-539. Read more information about changing status to F-1.
If you are a new F-1 or J-1 transfer student, the University will issue you a “Transfer Pending” Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 after the transfer release date set by your previous institution. Once you have completed immigration document registration and updated your U.S. address with the ISSA, you will be issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 for “Continued Attendance” after which the transfer process will be complete.
If your dependent (spouse or child) plans to join you at Notre Dame, he or she will need a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to apply for an F-2 or J-2 visa. To request a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 for a dependent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you receive an F-2 dependent Form I-20, you should sign page 1.
- If you receive a J-2 dependent Form DS-2019, your dependent should sign page 1.
Make sure that you and your dependent read page 2 of the I-20 or DS-2019 carefully before signing. At the U.S. port of entry, the officer should stamp your dependent’s passport and mark the stamp with “F-2” or “J-2” status and "D/S" and return them to your dependent. Please note dependents in F-2 status are not permitted to engage in employment or study while in the United States.
All students are responsible for knowing the rules and regulations pertaining to their F-1 or J-1 student immigration status, and should read the rules carefully before signing their I-20 or DS-2019. Failure to comply with the rules can result in serious consequences. ISSA will provide additional information regarding your immigration status and responsibilities during International Student Orientation, which all new F-1 and J-1 visa holders are required to attend. Additional F-1 and J-1 immigration information can be obtained from the Current Students page.
Please contact International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA) at 574-631-3825 or email@example.com.