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Getting Started FAQs

General I-20 Request Questions

Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status is an official immigration form that SCU issues to international students who do not hold U.S. passports, and who wish to reside in the U.S. in F-1 student immigration status.

International students who do not hold U.S. passports, green cards, or an alternate immigration status that allows them to study in the U.S. will require an I-20. Most of SCU’s international students are in F-1 status and require I-20s.

You need to submit a completed I-20 Request and supporting documents.

From the time that the Global Engagement Office receives your I-20 Request and supporting documents, it will take about 15 business days for the ISS Advisors to review your request and issue your I-20.

You can review the detailed process and timeline on our I-20 Request page.

Congratulations on your admission! You should submit your deposit, confirming your spot at SCU.

Congratulations! If you are an international student, and you need an I-20, you should submit your I-20 Request and supporting documents. Then ISS reviews your request and creates your I-20 and sends it to you. Once you get your I-20 you can apply for your visa stamp, enter the U.S., complete immigration check-in and attend ISW.

Yes, I-20s are specific to the school you are attending. You will need an SCU issued I-20 before you can start classes at SCU, but you should always keep all of your prior I-20s for your immigration records.

The U.S. government has indicated that it is not a best practice for schools to submit I-20s to all admitted students. For immigration compliance, SCU only creates I-20s for students who have committed to attend SCU and who have specifically requested the I-20 from the Global Engagement Office.

SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitor Information System) is an electronic system maintained by the U.S government to monitor the immigration status of international people in F-1 and J-1 status. Only specific designated people have access to this secure system and the system allows SCU to create immigration status documents, such as the I-20 and DS-2019.

The SEVIS ID Number is a unique, personal identification number given to international people issued F-1 I-20s and J-1 DS-2019s. This number is required to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, book a visa application appointment and come to SCU as an international student.

You will get your SEVIS ID Number once your I-20 has been issued. You can also see your SEVIS ID Number on your actual I-20 once you receive it.

I-20 Request Deadlines

Please review the I-20 Request Deadline page for your specific deadline.

The I-20 Request deadlines are established to make sure that you we can create your I-20 in time for you to apply for and receive your visa stamp, enter the U.S., complete your mandatory immigration check-in, attend your academic program’s orientation, attend ISW and begin classes.

These deadlines are determined in consultation with admissions offices, academic programs and with respect to the immigration process that international students need to follow before they can begin classes at SCU.

Your I-20 Request needs to be submitted to SCU by the F-1 SEVIS immigration transfer deadline. However, it is possible for your F-1 SEVIS immigration record to be officially transferred to SCU after the I-20 Request deadline. An ISS Advisor will work in consultation with you and your current school to determine the best date for your immigration record to be released from your current school to SCU.

I-20 Request Submission

Once you've completed your I-20 Request Packet make sure that you submit it to the correct place.

Newly admitted graduate students

Newly admitted graduate students (Masters, PhD and JD programs) should submit completed I-20 Request Packets to their graduate program's admissions office.

Graduate School of Business
Education & Counseling Psychology
Graduate School of Engineering
School of Law
Jesuit School of Theology

Newly admitted undergraduate (bachelors) students

Newly admitted undergraduate students (bachelors program) should submit their completed I-20 Request Packet directly to the Global Engagement Office.

All current SCU students

Current SCU student requesting I-20s for Change of Status, extension of academic program, change in education level or reinstatement should submit their completed I-20 Request Packet directly to the Global Engagement Office.

 

Graduate students are required to submit their I-20 Requests and supporting documents to their graduate admission offices. This is because the graduate admission offices verify your requests and add additional supporting documents prior to delivering the I-20 Requests to the Global Engagement Office for review and I-20 creation. Additionally, to manage the very high volume of I-20 Requests we receive, documents must be submitted through this process in order to ensure that they are received, classified and processed within the normal timeframe.

Grad students should do not include our office in any emails submitting your I-20 Requests or supporting documents. These emails will not be reviewed or responded to.

Once an admitted grad student has submitted the I-20 Request and supporting documents to their admission office, the admission office will review the documents, add additional supporting documents and submit the package to our office.

Once Global Engagement Office has received the complete package, we will send the student an email confirming that the package has been received and is in process.

If your I-20 Request and supporting documents are still with your admission office, you should contact them directly with the change.

If you have received an email from ISS@scu.edu confirming that we have received the I-20 Request and supporting documents, you can respond to that email with the updated information or document. In your email, please include your legal name and SCU ID number.

Required Supporting Documents

A complete I-20 Request will include the I-20 Request, copies of your passport biographical page and U.S. visa pages, and documents that proof of funding for the estimated expenses of your academic program.

The name listed on your I-20 will be based on the machine readable line of your passport. If this is not correct, you should have it corrected on your passport before you submit your I-20 Request.

If your passport has any other biographical pages (including other names, passport extensions etc), or any U.S. visa stamps, please include copies of these pages in your I-20 Request.

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months in order to for you to enter the U.S. You may need to extend your passport.

Yes, please include a copy of all U.S. visa stamps with your I-20 Request.

Yes, please include a copy of all U.S. visa stamps with your I-20 Request.

 

Yes, please include copies of the biographical page and all U.S. visa stamps from your family’s passports with you submit your I-20 Request.

No. We only need copies of your biographical page(s) and your U.S. visa stamps.

The name listed on your I-20 will be based on the machine readable line of your passport. Additionally, seeing the prior visa stamps helps the ISS Advisors understand your immigration history.

We only need copies of your biographical page(s) and your U.S. visa stamps.

 

Yes. If you are planning on transferring your F-1 SEVIS immigration record from your current school to SCU, you should complete part A of the Transfer In Request and submit it to your current school so they can complete it and submit it to our office.

Yes, you should submit copies of the biographical page(s) of their passports, as well as copies of any U.S. visa stamps they currently hold. You should also be sure to include proof of funding to cover the dependent estimated expenses.

Estimated Expenses, Proof of Funding and Acceptable Financial Documents

GEO is not responsible to determine the estimate expenses for your academic program. The estimate expenses are a total of the tuition, fees, estimated cost of living, and health insurance. These costs are determined by the academic program and approved by the SCU Board of Trustees, the SCU Financial Aid Office and the SCU Cowell Health Center.

GEO publishes the estimated expenses once the totals are made available by the responsible offices. This is usually in May of each year.

The estimate expenses are a total of the tuition, fees, estimated cost of living, and health insurance.

My cost of attendance will be less than the estimate you provided, because I have my own insurance, I plan to rent a very cheap apartment etc. Do I still need to submit proof of funding for the entire estimated expenses?

Regardless of the actual expenses that a student plans to incur, each student must provide documents that show proof of funding for at least the total estimated expenses for the first year of their academic program.

There are strict limitations on international student employment and students should not rely on the possibility of future employment when planning to cover the expenses of their academic program at SCU. Regardless of the actual expenses that a student expects, each student must provide documents that show proof of funding for at least the total estimated expenses for the first year of their academic program.

Documents submitted as proof of funding must have been issued within 3 months (90 days) of when we receive your I-20 Request.

If the documents you submit for proof of funding are in another person’s name, that person needs to submit the Certification of Sponsorship on the I-20 Request.

Since documents submitted as proof of funding must be current and liquid funds, documents showing future expected payment are not acceptable.

Since documents submitted as proof of funding must be official documents issued by a bank, these admission application documents are not acceptable for proof of funding.

Liquid assets are funds that are immediately spendable without any loss to their value.

 

  • Savings accounts without a maturity/expiry date.
  • Checking accounts
  • Fixed deposits
  • Certificates of deposit with a maturity/expiry date prior to the start date of your academic program.
  • Certificates of deposit with a maturity/expiry date that is after the start date of your academic program or a statement that the funds cannot be withdrawn on a date that is prior to the start date of your program.
  • Stock, equity, or mutual fund accounts.
  • Retirement accounts, such as PPF's, IRA's and 401K's.
  • Official letters stating salary.

You should submit proof of your TA / RA offer. If the total amount of funding listed on the letter does not meet or exceed the total estimated expenses of your program, you will need to submit further proof of funding to cover the difference between your scholarship amount and the estimated expenses.

You should submit proof of your scholarship offer. If the total amount of scholarship funding listed on the letter does not meet or exceed the total estimated expenses of your program, you will need to submit further proof of funding to cover the difference between your scholarship amount and the estimated expenses.

You should submit proof of your scholarship offer. If the total amount of scholarship funding listed on the letter does not meet or exceed the total estimated expenses of your program, you will need to submit further proof of funding to cover the difference between your scholarship amount and the estimated expenses.

All documents submitted as proof of funding need to meet the proof of funding document requirements. If the documents are listed in another person’s name, that person must submit sign the Certification of Sponsorship on the I-20 Request.

 

Financial Sponsorship

In order for our office to consider funds that do not belong directly to the international student as qualifying for proof of funding, we must have confirmation that those funds will be made available. Since the funds are in your name, we need your confirmation.

In order to make sure all of the required information is included, and to streamline the document collection process, we will only accept the Certification of Sponsorship embedded into the I-20 Request.

Any time a student is submitting proof of funding documents that are not in their own name, we require the person named on the document to submit the Certification of Sponsorship.

The Certification of Sponsorship should be submitted by the person named on the documents submitted for proof of funding purposes.

No. Immigration status is private to the student and it is the student’s responsibility to maintain their immigration status. ISS will not discuss immigration related matters with anyone other than the student.

I-20 Request Processing Times

It will take our office approximately 15 business days to review your I-20 Request and supporting documents. If your I-20 Request and supporting documents are sufficient, we will issue your I-20. If we need additional documents, we will contact you directly via email.

If you have received an email from ISS@scu.edu confirming that we have received the I-20 Request and supporting documents and you feel that there is a legitimate, legal reason why your I-20 request should be expedited, you may respond to the email and outline the reason that you think that your case should be expedited. In your email, please include your legal name and SCU ID number. We will evaluate your request and respond.

No. Due to the high volume of calls and emails, our office will not be able to respond to request for status updates on the I-20 Request process.

The ISS Advisors are required to verify the details of your I-20 Request before we can create your I-20. Analysing hundreds of unique sets of supporting documents takes a lot of work! We work hard to respond to I-20 Requests as fast and as accurately as possible.

I-20 Delivery or Pick-Up

Since the I-20 is an official U.S. immigration document, we cannot release the document to anyone by the person named on the document.

If you have asked that the I-20 be sent to you via mail, we will use either FedEx or DHL.

The delivery timeline varies depending on the country where we’re mailing the document. You will get a tracking number to monitor the package and prepare for delivery. The package will require signature and usually arrives within 5-7 business days.

Once the package has left SCU’s mailing services, you will get an email with the tracking number.

You can collect the document from SCU’s Global Engagement Office, which is on the 1st Floor of Varsi Hall. We are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm.

If your I-20 Request and supporting documents are still with your admission office, you should contact them directly with the change.

If you have received an email from ISS@scu.edu confirming that we have received the I-20 Request and supporting documents, you can respond to that email with the updated information or document. In your email, please include your legal name and SCU ID number.

In order to collect your immigration documents, you will need to have a valid photo ID.

 

Please contact our office via email to confirm the error. In your email, please outline the error and include your legal name and SCU ID number.

I-901 SEVIS Fee and Visa Application Fee

The I-901 SEVIS Fee is a fee that international students must pay. This fee pays for the maintenance of the government SEVIS system, which is used to create F and J immigration documents and monitor and maintain the immigration status of F and J participants.

For F-1 students, the I-901 SEVIS Fee is $200

For J-1 participants the I-901 SEVIS Fee is $180

Most students will pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee online at: https://www.fmjfee.com/

More information can be found at: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901

Students from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Gambia are not eligible to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee online and must follow the special fee instructions.

You should pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee once you have been given your SEVIS ID Number. You are required to pay this fee before you are eligible to being your visa application process or submitting your Change of Status application.

If you are transferring your F-1 SEVIS Immigration record from another U.S. school, college or University, your SEVIS ID Number will not change and you will not be required to re-pay your SEVIS fee.

If you have previously paid the fee, but you are not transferring your F-1 SEVIS immigration record to SCU from another school, college or university, and you have been given a new SEVIS ID Number, you will most likely need to re-pay the SEVIS fee.

You can review more information on the government’s SEVIS Fee FAQ: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq

The School Code for Santa Clara University is SFR214F00607000

The School Code for the Jesuit School of Theology of SCU is SFR214F00607001

Some students from countries with restricted internet access may find the online fee payment system difficult to access, in which case, the student can use the alternative fee payment instructions.

No. You do not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee for dependent family members.

The I-901 SEVIS Fee pays for maintenance of the government SEVIS system.

The Visa Application Fee pays for the processing of the visa stamp that is in your passport.

The Visa Application Fee is a fee that covers the cost of the visa stamp affixed into your passport by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

You can get more information here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/fees-visa-services.html

The Visa Application Fee for F and J visas costs $160 per person (including dependent family members).

There are occasionally additional Reciprocity Fees that are based on diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the country where you are applying for a visa. You can get more information on the cost of the Visa Application and Reciprocity Fees here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html

Most students pay the Visa Application Fee online using the process outlined by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy at which you will be applying for your visa.

To visit the website of your U.S. Consulate or Embassy, start here: http://www.usembassy.gov/

You should pay the Visa Application Fee when you’re ready to begin your Visa Application Process. You will not be eligible to apply for your visa application at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy until you have paid your Visa Application Fee.

Yes. Each person applying for a visa stamp must pay the Visa Application Fee.

Canadian citizens are always visa exempt and never pay visa application fees or apply for visa stamps. Canadian citizens do not need visa stamps in their passport in order to enter the U.S Canadian citizens are still required to collect I-20 and pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.

Visa Application (DS-160) and Visa Appointment

If you currently have a valid F-1 Visa Stamp in your passport, and you have not been outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months, you do not need a new visa stamp. Even if your current visa stamp lists your prior school.

Canadian citizens are always visa exempt and never pay visa application fees or apply for visa stamps. Canadian citizens do not need visa stamps in their passport in order to enter the U.S Canadian citizens are still required to collect I-20 and pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.

The DS-160 Visa Application is the electronic form that you need to complete in order to apply for your visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad.

The DS-160 Visa Application needs to be completed online. You can access the DS-160 Visa Application here: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

The cannot be submitted until you have received your SEVIS ID Number and paid your I-901 SEVIS Fee and in most cases your Visa Application Fee. The DS-160 Visa Application Fee must be paid before you can request your visa appointment.

The Visa Appointment is the day that you physically present yourself at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad and request a visa stamp.

The Visa Appointment process varies at each U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Visit the website of the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that you plan to visit to get more information: www.usembassy.gov/

You can apply for your visa up to 6 month before you plan to come to the U.S.

You should schedule your Visa Appointment once you’ve gotten your I-20 in the mail. You should not schedule your Visa Appointment until you’ve paid your I-901 SEVIS Fee, paid the Visa Application fee, completed the DS-160 Visa Application, and received your original I-20. You cannot attend the Visa Appointment without your original I-20.

At your Visa Appointment you will be asked to present documents related to you intendent trip to the U.S. and answer questions about your plans.

You should be prepared to answer questions about:

  • Your academic program
  • Our University
  • Your proof of funding and how you will be funding your education and stay in the U.S.
  • Your familial, financial and physical ties and your intent to return to your home country.

Visit the website of your U.S. Consulate or Embassy for full instructions.

Generally you should carry:

  • Original Passport (and copies of each passport page)
  • Original I-20
  • Proof that you have paid the I-901 SEVIS Fee
  • Proof that you have paid the Visa Application Fee
  • Proof that you have submitted the DS-160 Visa Application
  • Documentation of the funding for your time in the U.S.
  • Documentation of your admission and qualifications for your program
  • Proof of your financial, physical and familial ties to your home country

You should be prepared to answer questions about all of the above as well as questions about your course of study.

The wait time for visa appointments varies by Consulate or Embassy and time of year, but usually within 2-4 weeks.

You can get an idea of average visa wait times, here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

The wait time for visa approval varies by Consulate or Embassy and time of year, but usually within 2 weeks.

You should not book flights until your visa application has been approved.

You can get an idea of average visa wait times, here: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

Yes! You’re finally ready! You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20.

Once you have your visa stamp, you should:

  • Plan your travel
  • Pack and collect your documents
  • Enter the U.S.  
  • Attend your academic program’s Orientation
  • Complete mandatory immigration check-in and attend International Student Welcome

Admission and Entry

Arrival, ISW and Immigration Check-In

This program is designed just for you! During the International Student Welcome you will meet other international students, your International Students & Scholars (ISS) support team, and lots of campus resources. You’ll learn about how to succeed in the U.S. academic culture, the basics of how to maintain your legal immigration status, and tips for your safety and well-being. Ultimately, we hope the ISW will make you feel welcome and informed about how we are here to support you and that it will help set you up for success as you begin your studies and acclimatation to U.S. cultural norms and the SCU community.  

Yes, all new F-1 and J-1 students at SCU, including transfers and change of status petitioners, are required to attend ISW. If you requested an I-20 or a DS-2019, it’s mandatory. Plus, don’t you want to meet us?

You may have other orientation sessions with your program at SCU. These aren’t the same as ISW and they don’t replace the requirement for you to attend your ISW. ISW addresses U.S. immigration requirements and cultural and adjustment topics that are specific to international students and are not covered in other orientations provided by the university.

ISW is meant to expand and enhance your academic program's orientation. It has entirely different content specially designed for SCU's global community to help you get connected and set you up for success.

ISW is $125 for all graduate students. The fee will automatically be charged to your eCampus account and is not refundable.

Undergraduate students and non-degree exchange students in J-1 status do not have an additional fee for ISW.

ISW attendance is mandatory.  If you don’t attend, or you’re late for the event, you’ll still be charged the $125 fee. You’ll also be required to attend the next ISW and you will be charged an additional $125 for the make-up session.

Yes, but they are limited to the below list and they require that you inform us (iss@scu.edu) at least 1 week prior to your ISW:

  • You will not be attending SCU
  • You did not receive your visa in time and will be deferring attendance because of this
  • You have withdrawn your change of status application

Yes, of course we’ll provide food during ISW.

We provide breakfast and lunch for ISW’s starting before 12pm.

We provide lunch for ISW’s starting at 12pm.

Be sure to let us know of any dietary restrictions when you RSVP for your ISW.

To complete immigration check-in you will need:

  • eCampus login information
  • Home country address and phone number
  • U.S. address where you will be living
  • U.S. phone number (if you have one)
  • Student ID number
  • SEVIS ID number (On Page 1 of your I-20. Begins with “N00”)
  • Copy of F-1 visa stamp
  • Print out of I-94 Entry Record
  • Change of Status Students ONLY: bring a copy of your I-797A, Approval Notice (You won’t check-in until your change of status to F-1 has been approved and you have received your I-797A)

Be sure to bring printouts or copies of your own documents. We won’t be able to print or copy documents for you.

You can use the university’s printers or copiers!

Printers and copiers are available in the Library, the Engineering Computer Center and at Dukes Business Center

In order to use the University's printers and copiers you will need to get your Access card (student ID) and deposit money onto your card.

Immigration check-in generally takes 10-15 minutes.

Dependent Family Members (F-2)

Spouses and children of international students in F-1 status are eligible to seek F-2 dependent status.

Include your dependent family members as well as the appropriate supporting documents in your I-20 Request.

No. If your spouse or child has an alternate immigration status that allows them to meet their goals in the U.S. they are not required to be in F-2 status.

People in F-2 status are not eligible to work in the U.S.

Children under 18 are required to attend school. Spouses and children over 18 can enroll in school part time.

U.S. Addresses

U.S. Naming Standards