Immigration and Visa Information

What does it mean to be a non-immigrant?

A non-immigrant is someone who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. Furthermore, all non-immigrants require a visa to be allowed to enter the United States to fulfill that purpose. Once they are in the United States, they have a non-immigrant status, which they must maintain by pursuing the intended purpose and following certain regulations.

When do you need an F-1 visa?

Every status reflects a different primary purpose. If your primary focus here is to get a degree, then the most appropriate status is F-1. Of course, there are some exceptions to coming to school as an F-1 (for example, H4, J-1), and if you believe you may fall into one of these other categories, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have.

In order to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa, you must first receive an immigration document from our office with the intent to enroll full-time. For an F-1 visa, you will need an I-20, and for a J-1 visa, you will need a DS-2019. (Please see the bottom of the page for definitions of important immigration documents.)

You MUST submit all of the following documents in order to receive an I-20/DS-2019: Affidavit of Support, supporting financial documentation, and a copy of the name page of your passport. If you will be coming to Fordham from another US institution, you must also submit a Transfer Form. Please review the information in each of the links below for more important information about the immigration steps you will need to take.

Affidavit of Support (AFCOE)
Financial Information
Applying for an F-1 or J-1 Visa
F-1 Transfer Procedures
Entering the US – At the Airport

Where should you submit your I-20/DS-2019 application documents?

Undergraduate Students [email protected]
Gabelli School of Business Graduate Students [email protected]
Law School Students [email protected]
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Students Online through Applicant Status Student Portal
Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education Students [email protected]
Graduate School of Education Students [email protected]
Graduate School of Social Service Students [email protected]
School of Professional and Continuing Studies Students [email protected]

SEVIS Form I-20

This is a three-page document issued by Fordham, which describes the nature and expected duration of your program, your financial resources, and other information. It has a SEVIS ID number on it, which lets immigration identify you. Your SEVIS ID is the 9-digit number starting with N, at the top-right of your I-20, located above the bar code. The Form I-20 allows you to apply for an F-1 visa stamp and to gain F-1 (student) status when you enter the US.

Immigration regulations require that you attend the school that issued the I-20 you use to enter the United States. DO NOT use another school’s I-20 to enter the United States if you intend to study at Fordham. You can use our I-20 with a valid F-1 Visa that has another school's name on it.

SEVIS Form DS-2019

This is a two-page document issued by your sponsoring organization, which describes your purpose for entering the United States, the expected duration of your program, and your sources of funding. Form DS-2019 permits you to apply for a J-1 visa stamp and to gain J-1 (Exchange Visitor) status when you enter the United States.

Visa Stamp

A US visa stamp in your passport allows you to enter the United States. You can only apply for a student visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the United States. Notations on the visa stamp include the type of visa (F-1, J-1, etc.), the number of entries allowed (M=Multiple), and the expiration date. It is OK if your visa expires while you are in the United States. The only purpose of the visa is to allow you to enter the country, like a key. So, the only time you must renew your visa is if you will leave the United States and intend to re-enter.

Important Note

Your passport must always be valid while you are in the United States. If you will travel outside the United States, your passport should still be valid for 6 months on the day that you will re-enter the United States. You can apply for a new passport in your home country or at your country’s consulate here in New York.