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Visa Status

Visa Status Overview

The United States supports international education and welcomes foreign students and exchange visitors. Before applying for a visa, students and exchange visitors must be accepted by their schools or program sponsors.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. You may apply for a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or a J visa.

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F-1 Student Classification

Most international students at FDU are here in this classification, as it is designed to facilitate study toward a specific educational objective. F-1 students will receive a Form I-20 from FDU once we receive the required admission, biographical, and financial documentation.

► Click for Maintaining F-1 Status (this is very important if you wish to stay in the U.S. and complete your studies)

J-1 Student Classification

The J-1 student category is an alternate visa status option for students who receive qualifying financial sponsorship or who are participating in a formal university exchange program. Once we receive the required admission, biographical, and financial documentation, you will receive a Form DS-2019 from FDU.

► Click for Maintaining J-1 Status (this is very important if you wish to stay in the U.S. and complete your studies)



To be eligible for F-1 status, you must be admitted to or enrolled in a full-time degree or non-degree program, and demonstrate sufficient financial support for your program of study.

To be eligible for J-1 student status, you must be admitted to or enrolled in a full-time degree or non-degree program. You may qualify if you are financially sponsored by your home government, if you receive substantial funding from scholarships or a private sponsor, or if you are at FDU as part of a formal exchange program

How To Apply

The first step is to apply to a SEVP-approved school in the United States.  After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.  The SEVP-approved school will issue you a Form I-20.  After you receive the Form I-20 and register in SEVIS, you may apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a student (F or M) visa.  You must present Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the embassy or consulate website. 

Schedule an Interview

Interviews are generally required for visa applicants. 

You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live. 

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. 

New Students – Student (F and M) visas for new students can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study.  However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States on your student visa more than 30 days before the start date.

Continuing Students - Student (F and M) visas for continuing students may be issued at any time, as long as the student is currently enrolled at a SEVP-approved school or institution and in SEVIS.  Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before classes start.

For more information regarding Visa application visit the U.S. Department of State website.