Obtaining a Visa & Arrival Information
After admission to UM-Dearborn, the Office of International Affairs will issue a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or DS-2019) upon receipt of the required financial documentation (see below). This Certificate of Eligibility, and other documentation, is needed to apply for your F or J nonimmigrant visa. Learn more on the U.S. Department of State visa website.
General F-1/F-2, J-1/J-2 Visa Information
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. The Form I-20 and DS-2019 are very important non-immigration documents. If you lost the form, you need to report to the UM-Dearborn Public Safety. With a report from the Public Safety, the OIA will issue a form replacement.
- Your visa need not remain valid once you have used it to enter the U.S.
- If you travel overseas and your visa has 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.
- If you would like to request dependent (spouse or children F-2, J-2) I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to provide a copy of photo page of passport of the dependent, sufficient financial documentation (see Financial Affidavit of Support), and marriage certificate in English or children's birth certificate in English.
Required Financial Documentation
Applicants who plan to enroll as an F1 or J1 visa student must provide additional information upon offer of admission to the Office of International Affairs (OIA). In order for OIA to issue an I-20/DS-2019, you must submit a Financial Affidavit Form and an original bank certification (in English) from your financial supporter, converted to U.S. dollars, showing that the account balance of the financial supporter meets the minimum amount listed on the affidavit form to cover the tuition, fees, and living expenses you will incur while attending UM-Dearborn. Estimated annual expenses can be found on the affidavit.
The person(s) or agency responsible for paying a student’s educational, living, and other expenses must officially complete and sign the financial affidavit form. For example, if a relative is supporting a student’s education, that relative must complete the form. If a student has more than one sponsor, duplicate this form and provide the university with a copy completed by each sponsor. If a student will receive a scholarship, a representative from the scholarship agency must complete and sign the form. Please be sure all information is completed, including funding amount per year and contact information.
Individual sponsors must substantiate their ability to support the student by attaching an original,official bank statement/letter (in English) specifying the exact amount currently on deposit. Students on home country government scholarships must also attach an official sponsorship agency letter explaining the details of the scholarship, including terms and amounts of the award. Include the applicant’s full name, as it appears on the application, on each page of the sponsor’s financial supporting documentation. NOTE: The University cannot accept stock, bond, equity, income tax, salary letter, insurance,or securities statements as proof of funds.
Financial aid is typically not available to students on F or J visas. Therefore, you must demonstrate full financial support before a UM-Dearborn I-20 form can be issued for you. Also, all F and J visa students must have health insurance that meets U-M requirements for yourself and any accompanying F-2 or J-2 dependents during the entire time you are enrolled. If you have health insurance that provides coverage that is comparable to the U-M Health International Student/Scholar Health Insurance Plan, you can request a waiver for the health insurance requirement.
Requesting your Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20/DS-2019)
For directions on how to receive your Form I-20/DS-2019 after it has been issued, Please check the eShipGlobal page.
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.
Transfer Students Information
- An immigration transfer is different from an academic transfer. A student needs to inform the Office of International Affairs to transfer F-1 SEVIS record to a new institution where a student will continue his/her studies. No other actions are taken by the IC in addition to the immigration transfer. The new institution can only issue a new I-20 after the transfer release date.
- A student may choose only one “transfer school”; therefore, please make sure the student has decided to transfer to that certain school.
- Transfer usually take place at the end of the current semester of enrollment, upon completion of studies, or during/after finishing OPT. Students can transfer during the post-completion 60-day grace period.
- To be eligible for a transfer, a student must be maintaining valid F-1 status.
- Student together with the international student adviser will choose a “transfer release date” on which the SEVIS record will be moved to the new school.
- After transfer, a student must begin studying at the new institution within five months of completion of study at the current school or end of OPT.
- If a student decide to cancel a transfer, change the release date, or transfer to a different institution, student must notify the OIA before the transfer release date. Once the transfer release date has been reached, the OIA will no longer have access to a student’s SEVIS record.
Transfer Out SEVIS Documentations
- Copy of admission letter from your new institution
- Transfer-in form from new school (if applicable)
- Copy of current I-20
- Print-out of electronic I-94
- If a student is currently on post-completion OPT, attach a copy of the EAD card
Transfer In SEVIS Documentations