International Office

Obtaining Visa & Other Arrival Information

Obtaining the F-1 or J-1 Visa

After admission to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the Office of International Affairs will issue a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019).  The Certificate of Eligibility, and other documenation, is needed to apply for your F or J nonimmigrant visa.  The U.S. Department of State visa website:

If you are a citizen of a foreign country, in most cases you will need a visa to enter the United States.  A visa is a permit to seek entry to a country.  It is not permission to actually enter a country.  A visa allows you to travel to the United States as far as the port of entry (airport or land border crossing) and ask the immigration officer (Department of Homeland Security - DHS) to allow you to enter the country.  Only the immigration officer has the authority to permit you to enter the United States.  (Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa to enter the U.S.)

  • Your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 must remain valid while you are in the United States.
  • Your visa need not remain valid once you have used it to enter the U.S.
  • If you travel overseas and your visa ha expired and/or the allowed number of entries has been used, or the visa stamp does not identify your current status, you'll need to request a new visa at a U.S. consulate prior to your return.

When to Apply for a Visa

Students are encouraged to apply for their visa early to provide ample time for visa processing.  Embassies and Consulates are able to issue your student visa 120 days or less, in advance of the start date or registration date as provided on the I-20 or DS-2019.  If you apply for visa before the 120 days, the Embassy or Consulate will hold your application until it is able to issue the visa.  Consular officials will use that extra time to accomplish an of the necessary special clearances or other processes that may be required.

Applying for a Visa

Apply for the visa in your home country unless circumstances or travel plans make this impossible.  If you apply in a third country, your application may take more time and be reviewed more critically than if you applied at home.  Schedule an appointment with an American Embassy or Consulate.

              Required Documents

Special Note for Canadian Citizens

Helpful Tips for the U.S. Consulate

Change of Status to F-visa within the U.S.

Change of Status to J-visa within the U.S.


Arrival Information

Arrival in the U.S.

Arrival on Campus


What to Bring with you