Visas and Immigration

How to Enter the U.S. to Study as an F-1 Student, Transfer, Change Status

IF YOU ARE OUTSIDE THE U.S. and wish to enter the U.S. to study and require an F-1 student visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be admitted to a full-time program of study. Part-time study is not permitted while on an F-1 student visa.
  • You must be able to show that you will have sufficient funds to meet the tuition, fees, and living expenses for your program. You must also be able to show that you will have sufficient funds to meet the living expenses of your dependent family members, if applicable.

Students outside of the U.S. who wish to enter to begin a full-time program at FSU must follow the procedure outlined below:

1. Once you have been admitted to FSU as a full-time student and confirmed your intent to enroll, you will receive a Form I-20 from FSU (for F-1 status) or a DS-2019 (for J-1 status).

2. Once you have received your document, apply for the F-1 or J-1 student visa from a U.S. consulate in your home country.

  • New students applying for a visa with a SEVIS form I-20 or DS-2019 will be required to pay a $200 fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to a visa interview or the filing of the change of status application in the U.S.

    In order to pay, Form I-901 must be completed and submitted along with the payment via mail or the Internet. Citizens of Canada or Bermuda must pay at least 3 days prior to their entry to the U.S. A receipt is issued via mail or can be printed by the student or exchange visitor from the Internet. This receipt is brought to the visa interview as further evidence of payment. For more detailed information, please visit Study in the States.  Visa processing times and procedures may vary depending on location and time of year.
  • DO NOT enter the U.S. as a B-1 visitor for business, B-2 visitor for pleasure or B-2 "prospective student" if you intend to be a full-time student at FSU. You are prohibited from studying in the U.S. under these categories. If you intend to study, you should enter as an F-1 student.

3. Enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before and no later than the beginning date indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.

  • When entering the U.S., you must carry a passport valid at least six months into the future, your entry visa, your I-20 or DS-2019, and copies of your admission letter and financial documents, and evidence that you have paid the SEVIS fee if you are a new student.

  • Upon entry, an immigration inspector will review your documents, and process an I-94 arrival/departure record granting you F-1, J-1 student status for duration of status ("D/S").

  • Canadian citizens must have a valid passport to enter the U.S. Please note that a visa stamp is not required for Canadian citizens. Upon entry to the U.S., a Canadian student must obtain an I-94 arrival/departure record that verifies his/her student status.

  • You are required to attend the institution indicated on your F-1 visa, if you are entering the U.S. for the first time on the basis of that visa.

4. Following your arrival at FSU, check in with the OIE. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires that all new and transfer F-1students report their arrival to FSU. You must attend a mandatory Orientation Workshop that will be scheduled prior to the beginning of classes.

Transfer to Framingham State University

If you are already in the U.S. as an F-1 student at another institution, you must complete a transfer of your immigration record if you intend to transfer to begin a new full-time program of study at FSU, AFTER you have been accepted to the university. Follow the procedure below if you wish to transfer your immigration sponsorship to study as a full-time student at FSU.

1. Complete the F-1 TRANSFER FORM that will be sent to you by the Office of International Education. You must have your current international student adviser complete the form and a range to have your current international student adviser send the F-1 Transfer Form directly to the OIE. In order to issue a transfer I-20 form, your former school must release your SEVIS record to Framingham State University. It will take approximately two weeks to issue a transfer I-20 from the date the office has access to your SEVIS record.

2. Once you have received your I-20, you must attend the orientation workshop that will be conducted before the beginning of the semester.


If you are currently in the U.S. but not in F-1 status, you may or may not need to change your status in order to pursue full-time studies at Framingham State University. Please consult with OIE in order to discuss your individual situation.

  • If you are presently in B1/B2 Tourist status but wish to obtain F-1 status, you will have to apply for a change of status once you have been accepted.  You will NOT be able to begin your studies at Framingham State University until your change of status (COS) has been approved by the USCIS.  Please contact the office directly for information on your specific situation.