Visa Information

Before You Apply for Your Visa

Before going to the U.S. Consulate to obtain your visa, make sure you call or check the website for the Consulate to find out what they require for your interview for the F-1 or J-1 visa. At the very least, make certain you take your I-20 or DS-2019 and original proof of finances.   

  • An F-1 Visa is required for a full time "degree seeking" student.
  • A J-1 Visa is required for an "exchange student" whose degree program will be completed in their home country or a country outside the United States.

For Degree Seeking Students (F-1 visa)

The I-20 form is used to obtain an F-1 visa and must be in the possession of the student at the time of entry into the U.S. The student must also pay the I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa. To pay the I-901 fee, go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs website. The I-20 form is dated for the period of time normally required to complete the specified program. Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date of this form and may stay up to 60 days following the expiration date of the I-20.

The spouse of a student on an F-1 visa should apply for and enter on an F-2 visa. An individual in the United States on an F-2 visa is not allowed to work or pursue a full course of study. If the spouse wishes to pursue a degree, they must request a change of status to F-1 and may not begin classes until approved.

Violation of immigration rules will result in the student or his/her spouse being out of status and require the individual to leave the country.

Resources

Full Time Status

All students are required to carry a full course load.

  1. 12 credits are considered full-time for undergraduate students and 9 credits for graduate students. if summer is your first semester, full time status is defined as 5 graduate credits and 4 undergraduate credits.
  2. Students must have prior approval before dropping below the minimum course load. There are very few acceptable reasons for doing so. Please come to the Office of International Education & Programs for approval.
  3. Request to Drop Below Full Time


For Exchange Students (J-1 visa)

The DS-2019 form is used to obtain a J-1 visa and must be in the possession of the student at the time of entry into the U.S. The student must also pay the I-901 fee prior to applying for the visa. To pay the I-901 fee, go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs website. The DS-2019 form is dated for the academic semester(s) the student plans on attending. Students may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date on this form and may stay up to 30 days following the expiration date of the DS-2019.

The spouse and unmarried minor children of a J-1 student may accompany the student to the U.S. or come at a later date. These individuals will be accorded J-2 status based upon the student's status.

The J-2 spouse of a J-1 student may be allowed to work with permission from the Immigration Office and the sponsor, and are currently allowed to pursue a full course of study but this could change in the future.

Resources

Where to Find Us

Center for Global Education
Hyland Hall, Suite 1227
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
809 West Starin Road
Whitewater, WI 53190

Contact Us

Phone: 262-472-5759
Fax: 262-472-1491
E-mail us!