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.
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.
All students are required to carry a full course load.
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.