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Immigration and Student Visas

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Immigration and Student Visas

After you are admitted, you must obtain a visa that allows you to study in the United States. Most international students come to OU with either a Student (F-1) visa or an Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa. Some specific circumstances may allow you to study with a different visa, such as an H-1B, but that is uncommon.

Review the information listed below, but also visit the International Student Services (ISS) office for a more in-depth review of the immigration and student visa process.

International Student Services

The majority of international students obtain an F-1 visa to study in the U.S. In order to apply for an F-1 visa, you must have a Form I-20, which is issued by the International Student Services (ISS) office. Providing the following documents will allow International Student Services to issue your Form I-20.

Financial Documentation

Under U.S. immigration law, you must provide evidence that you have enough money to pay for the first year of your academic program, including tuition and fees, books, living expenses, and extra funds for dependents (if applicable). You can find the estimated yearly costs of your program on the International Student Services website. Financial documents include the following:

  1. A bank statement, certificate of deposit, or certificate of balance signed or stamped by a bank official that is no more than 90 days old when submitted that shows a liquid balance equaling at least the amount of your first year’s expenses. See the ISS website for more information about acceptable financial documents.
  2. If the financial document is under someone else’s name, the account holder must complete a Financial Support Letter to be submitted with the financial document.
  3. If you will be financially supported by a business, government, or corporate sponsorship, provide a letter of support listing the duration of promised support and monetary amount of support being offered.

You will also be expected to have adequate funds to support yourself for the entire duration of your degree program (estimated at 2-3 years for master’s and 4-6 years for doctoral students).

Passport Copy

Your name and birth date in our records must exactly match those printed on your passport for you to be approved for a visa. Send a copy of the name page of your passport so the spelling of your name and your birth date can be verified.

Dependent Documents

If you plan to bring your spouse and/or children with you to the U.S., you must provide copies of the name pages of their passports as well as a copy of your marriage license and/or copies of your children’s birth certificates.

The above documents can be uploaded to your application, or you can wait to provide them until later. Note that processing of your I-20 will be delayed if International Student Services does not receive all required documents before admission.

If you are being sponsored by your government, international agency, or another entity to study in the U.S., you may be required to apply for a J-1 Visitor Exchange visa. This is fairly rare. If you don’t know which visa you should apply for, you probably need an F-1 visa.

In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you will need Form DS-2019, which is issued by the International Student Services (ISS) office. Providing the following documents will allow International Student Services to issue your Form DS-2019.

Financial Documentation

Provide a letter of support from the entity that is sponsoring your study in the U.S.

Passport Copy

Your name and birth date in our records must exactly match those printed on your passport for you to be approved for a visa. Send a copy of the name page of your passport so the spelling of your name and your birth date can be verified.

Dependent Documents

If you plan to bring your spouse and/or children with you to the U.S., you must provide copies of the name pages of their passports as well as a copy of your marriage license and/or copies of your children’s birth certificates.

The above documents can be uploaded to your application, or you can wait to provide them until later. Note that processing of your DS-2019 will be delayed if International Student Services does not receive all required documents before admission.