Visa & Immigration
Once you have received an I-20 (F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa) form from URI, you may contact the US Embassy or Consulate that serves your country to obtain the visa corresponding to an I-20 and/or DS-2019. If you are bringing dependents, the OISS will prepare the corresponding I-20's and/or DS-2019's forms for each one of your dependents.
Steps to follow:
To obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa from the American Consulate in your country, follow the steps below:
- Read and confirm the information appearing on the I-20 A-B or DS-2019 forms. If you find an error, contact our office via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Read page 2, which explains your legal responsibilities as a F-1 or J-1 student.
- Sign and date at the bottom of page 1.
- Examine your passport before going to your visa appointment. The passport must be valid for at least six months into the future, at all times.
- After paying the SEVIS I-901 fee, make an appointment for a visa interview date..
The appointment will be in English, not in your native language.
- You must prove to the Consular Officer that you are entering the US with the sole intent of obtaining a degree or participating in training.
- You must demonstrate to the Consular Officer that you have strong ties in your home country, and that you intend to return home.
Documents you must take to the Consulate/Embassy:
- Passport, valid for at least 6 moths into the future
- Two passport-size photos, to see the exact specifications, click here
- Letter of acceptance to URI
- Letter of invitation and/or employment (if a scholar or professor)
- Official TOEFL, GMAT, GRE scores
- I-20 or DS-2019 from URI
- Receipt of I-901 payment
- URI Award Letter of Assistantship (when appropriate)
- If sponsored by your government, school, or other agency, you must show an official letter of award to the Consular Officer
- If your support is from personal and/or family funds, you must show bank statements, letters of credit, or proof of annual salary and/or total available or anticipated assets
- Documents that indicate you have strong ties to your home country (land deeds, parents employment documents, your employment documents, etc.)
- You cannot enter the US more than 30 days before the date noted on item 5, 2nd line of the I-20 form or item 3, line 2 of the DS-2019 form.
- Students from Canada or Bermuda do not need to get a visa stamp in their passports. However, these students MUST pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, NO LATER THAN three days prior to their departure and have a printed copy of their payment receipt available for the Port of Entry Officer.
- Do not enter the US on a B-1/B-2 visa. B-1/B-2 visa holders cannot attend school under any circumstances.
Documents required at the point of entry (airport, border):
- Passport valid for at least 6 months into the future
- All documents and envelopes given to the student /scholar at the US Embassy/Consulate
- Proof of financial responsibility
Entering the US:
- Upon arrival, a US Customs and Border Protection Officer will review all your documents and ask you specific questions regarding your stay in the US.
- Once admitted, you will receive an I-94 card (arrival-departure form) stamped with the notation F-1/J-1 D/S (duration of stay). Duration of Stay or D/S indicates that you have been admitted to the US until the end date noted on your I-20/DS-2019.
- Please be aware that at this time you will have your two index fingers scanned by an inkless device and a photograph of your face will be taken.
Arrival at URI:
Within 10 days of your arrival on the URI Campus you MUST report to the Office of International Student and Scholars, 37 Lower College Road. Bring your passport, I-94 and your I-20 or DS-2019 so that these documents are photocopied. The OISS MUST report your arrival to the Department of Homeland Security. Students that fail to report to the OISS WILL BE reported to the US Department of Homeland Security as non-arrivals, leading to the termination of their F-1 or J-1 status.
University of Rhode Island • Office of International Students & Scholars • International Center • 37 Lower College Road; Kingston, Rhode Island, 02881