Applying for an F-1 or J-1 Visa for Study in the United States

You must obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa in order to seek admission to the U.S. for full-time studies, unless you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda. Citizens of Canada or Bermuda do not require F-1 or J-1 visas but must present appropriate means of documentation at the U.S. port-of-entry to seek admission for full-time studies.Read page 3 of your Form I-20 or page 2 of your Form DS-2019, examine the information on page 1 for accuracy and sign the student certification block (for F-1 students) or exchange visitor certification block (for J-1 students) on the bottom of page 1 prior to presentation to a U.S. consular official or immigration official.

Click here for detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a US Visa.

The U.S. visa tells you until what date you may enter the United States. The expiration date of the visa has nothing to do with how long you may remain in the United States. That is determined by your I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94. You need to renew the visa only if you are traveling abroad after the visa expiration date, so that you may again enter the U.S.

Specific information on F-1 and J-1 visa application at U.S. Embassies and Consulates is available at the following address: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html.

The websites of U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions is available at the following address: http://www.usembassy.gov

Visa revocation following a DUI:

The U.S. Department of State is revoking visa foils ("stamps") of foreign nationals following a conviction or an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a related criminal charge. Individuals are notified of their visa cancellation by email (address used on the visa application). An individual in nonimmigrant status whose visa has been prudentially revoked will have to obtain a new visa in order to be readmitted to the United States after temporary travel abroad. In order for the visa to be issued, the foreign national will first need to be cleared by a panel physician following a medical screening, which may result in a visa denial or delay. A student who has their visa revoked should talk to an immigration attorney.


You cannot enter the U.S. on a B-2 (tourist) visa and expect to change to F-1 or J-1 visa status after you arrive. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will likely deny this request, and you will have to leave the U.S. to obtain a proper visa. Also, you cannot enter the U.S. on a visa waiver and change F-1 or J-1 status after your arrival. Persons who enter the U.S. on a visa waiver are not eligible for change of status in the U.S.
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SEVIS Fee Requirement
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). For information on who is subject to the SEVIS fee requirement and for SEVIS fee payment options, F-1 visa applicants should read SEVIS Fee Payment Options for F-1 Students, and J-1visa applicants should read SEVIS Fee Payment Options for J-1 Students.

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Enter the U.S.

Make Flight Arrangements
Once you have received your visa (not before), you can begin to make flight arrangements. While there are several airports located in South Florida, we strongly encourage students to fly to Miami International Airport (MIA) for convenience to campus and access to public transportation (more information available in the “Getting to Campus” section). Miami International Airport is located approximately 20 minutes by car from the Coral Gables campus.
Plan to enter the U.S. with your F-1 or J-1 Visa and UM I-20 or DS-2019 up to (but no earlier than) 30 days before the start date indicated on your UM I-20 or DS-2019.  You should plan to arrive in Miami no later than one week before the start of classes.

You will need to have the following documents to enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status.

F-1 Visa Holders
You may apply for admission to the U.S. if all of the following documents are in order at the time you plan to enter the U.S.:

  • Valid and unexpired Form I-20 (see section 5 of page 1).
  • Valid and unexpired F-1 Visa (Not required for citizens of Canada or Bermuda).
  • Valid and unexpired Passport.

J-1 Visa Holders
You may apply for admission to the U.S. if all of the following documents are in order at the time you plan to enter the U.S.:
  • Valid and unexpired Form DS-2019 (see section 3 of page 1).
  • Valid and unexpired J-1 Visa (Not required for citizens of Canada or Bermuda).
  • Valid and unexpired Passport.
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Travel Tips
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued important reminders to assist international students and exchange visitors expected to arrive in the United States. Please click on Getting to the United States for important information about preparing for your trip to the United States, and what to do after arrival.