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3. Immigration Documents

What is an I-20? (For F-1 Students Only)

An I-20 is an immigration document for F-1 status students. You will use your first I-20 to apply for an F-1 student visa and to enter the U.S. You must keep the I-20 throughout your time at KU. The I-20 indicates your basic biographical information, your major and estimated length of study, School Name, SEVIS ID number, and financial information.

What is a DS-2019? (For J-1 Students Only)

A DS-2019 is an immigration document for J-1 status students. You will use your first DS-2019 to apply for a J-1 visa and to enter the U.S. You must keep the DS-2019 throughout your time at KU. The DS-2019 indicates your basic biographical information, your major and length of study, school name, SEVIS ID number, and program sponsor.

How do I get my I-20 or DS-2019?

Undergraduate Students

After you are admitted to the University of Kansas, you will be required to login to our iHawk system to complete several electronic forms to get your immigration document. Instructions for accessing our iHawk system will be emailed to you after your admission. Please check your email often. Only after you have completed all of the required e-forms in the iHawk system will the ISS Document Specialists review your documentation. You may be contacted by ISS if additional documentation will be required before we can issue your I-20. After you have completed all required e-forms in iHawk, and submitted any requested additional documentation, the ISS Document Specialists will create your immigration document.

Graduate Students

After you are admitted to the University of Kansas, you will be emailed your admission letter. On the admission letter, you will be asked to accept your admission offer. After you accept your admission offer, you will be required to log into our iHawk system to complete several electronic forms to get your immigration document. Instructions for accessing our iHawk system will be emailed to you after you accept your admission. Please make sure to check your email often. Only after you have completed all of the required e-forms in the iHawk system will the ISS Document Specialists review your documentation. You may be contacted by ISS if additional documentation will be required before we can issue your I-20. After you have completed all required e-forms in iHawk, and submitted any requested additional documentation, the ISS Document Specialists will create your immigration document.

Students Currently in the U.S. in F-1 Status

If you are currently attending a high school, college, university, intensive English institute, or on Optional Practical Training in the U.S. in F-1 status, you must complete a transfer of your SEVIS record before an I-20 can be issued. Refer to the F-1 Transfer tab for instructions on this process.

Note: J-1 students who have a Program Sponsor other than the University of Kansas will receive their DS-2019 from their Program Sponsor (IIE, Fulbright, U.S. Department of State, etc.)

I-20 or DS-2019 Mailing Options

Undergraduate Students

You must complete the ‘Document Delivery’ e-form in the iHawk system to inform ISS of your mailing options. There are regular and express options available. Please refer to the e-form for more information.

Graduate Students

Your immigration document will be express mailed to you free of charge by the Graduate Admissions office.

AEC (Applied English Center), Study Abroad Exchange Students, AAP (Academic Accelerator Program), MAP (Masters Accelerator Program)

The office you applied to will mail your immigration document to you.

I-20 DS-2019
What is a Visa?

A visa is a document issued by the U.S. government, usually at an embassy or consulate outside of the United States. This allows you to present yourself at the Port of Entry and request to be let in.

What are some common Visa types?

Student Visa

Most students will either get an F-1 (student) or a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa.

Learn more about Student Visa Types

Tourist Visa

If you enter the U.S. with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or under the Visa Waiver Program that your country has with the U.S., you CANNOT LEGALLY ATTEND SCHOOL.

Where and how do I apply?

Each embassy or consular post has their own visa application procedures and processing times. Be sure to read the web page for the post where you will be applying for the specific instructions for that location.

Documents Needed to Apply for a F-1 Student or J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

In general, to apply you will need:

  • Form I-20 (for F-1) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1)
  • Passport
  • Proof of financial support
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Photos
  • Visa application fee
  • Online visa application forms

Check Visa for Accuracy

Check your visa for accuracy (name, date of birth, visa type – such as F-1 or J-1), and request a correction immediately if you find any errors.

Special information for Canadians

Canadian citizens do not need a U.S. visa, but they must present a valid passport, proof of finances, I-20 or DS-2019, and SEVIS fee receipt at the U.S. port of entry.

Do I need a transit Visa?

If you are travelling through another country on your way to the United States you might need a transit visa from that country. Please check with that country’s embassy or consulate office to determine if you are required to obtain a transit visa.

Student Visa

Note: F-1 and J-1 students are required to pay a fee to the U.S. government before applying for a visa.


Who pays the SEVIS fee?
New Students to the U.S.

All students who have an initial attendance I-20 Form (F-1 students) and most students who have a “begin a new program” DS-2019 Form (J-1 Students) must pay the SEVIS fee to the US government before applying for a visa.

Students currently in the U.S.

Students currently studying in the U.S. usually do not have to pay the fee again. The fee is tied to the SEVIS ID number and as long as the student has maintained status, the SEVIS record can be transferred to KU without the student repaying the fee.

If you are not sure if you need to pay or need to have the fee transferred from one SEVIS record to another please visit the government’s FAQ page

When do I pay the SEVIS fee?

Pay the SEVIS fee after you have received your initial F-1 I-20 or initial J-1 DS-2019. You must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for a visa at a US Embassy/Consulate or before applying for a change of status to F-1 or J-1.

How do I pay the SEVIS fee?
  1. Submit form I-901
  2. Pay the SEVIS fee

You have three payment options. Instructions for each option are available on the SEVIS Fee website.

  • Online with Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card or a debit card with a Visa or MasterCard logo. This option is usually the fastest and least expensive
  • Through Western Union
  • Through Mail

You will need the following code and number when paying the SEVIS fee:

  • KU's F-1 (I-20) School Code: KAN 214F 00634000
  • KU's J-1 (DS-2019) School Code: P100099
  • Your SEVIS ID Number: Located in the upper left corner of the I-20 (for F-1 students) or upper right corner of the DS-2019 (for J-1 students). This number begins with an ‘N’.
What is SEVIS?

SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System This system is used by the U.S. government to collect and maintain information about F and J status international students and their accompanying dependents during their stay in the U.S. All students who have an initial attendance I-20 Form (F-1 students) and most students who have a “begin a new program” DS-2019 Form (J-1 Students) must pay a SEVIS fee to the US government before they can apply for a visa.

SEVIS Logo

All students currently in F-1 status at any type of institution (high school, college, university, intensive English institute) in the U.S. (including those on Optional Practical Training) who plan to change schools must complete the transfer procedure through SEVIS.  It is the student’s responsibility to maintain his or her F-1 student status and to complete the procedures below. 


SEVIS (I-20) Transfer Procedural Instructions
  1. Get admitted to the University of Kansas.
  2. Once you decide that you will attend KU, notify your current school (or if on Optional Practical Training your former school who recommended the OPT) of your intent to transfer to KU.
  3. Only after you have decided to attend KU, complete and submit the "Intent to Transfer to KU" e-form online:
  • Step 1 – Setup KU Online ID  (you will need your 7 digit KUID number [e.g. 2991234])
  • Step 2 – Login to iHawk by using the blue “Login” button.
  • Step 3 – Complete and submit the “Intent to Transfer to KU from a U.S. School” e-form, under the “Get Your I-20/DS-2019” tab.  You will need to provide the email address of your current international student advisor at the transfer-out school.
  • Step 4 – The international student advisor at your current transfer-out school will complete their portion of the e-form (routed to them via email upon your submission of e-form).  In order for the advisor to complete their part, you must have already met with them to request the transfer and have determined the SEVIS record release date. To release your SEVIS record to the University of Kansas, your advisor will need KU’s SEVIS school code: KAN214F00634000. 
  1. After the release date, KU will produce an I-20 if sufficient proof of finances has been received. KU cannot produce the I-20 before the release date.
  2. Once the I-20 is issued, you will receive it in the manner which you selected on the “Intent to Transfer to KU from a U.S. School” e-form.
  3. To complete the transfer, you are required to report to an international student advisor at KU within 15 days of the report date on your new KU I-20, during orientation or at an ISS ARRIVE check-in session.

Driver’s License and SSN Issues for Transfer Students

Your transferred in SEVIS record is typically not registered (changed to active status) until orientation/ISS ARRIVE checkins are completed, you have enrolled, and classes have started.  If you can, you should wait to apply for your driver’s license or social security number until after classes have started.  If you absolutely cannot wait, consult the ISS office.


Readmitted students, transferring back to KU

Checklist of things to do:

  1. Have your SEVIS record released (transferred) to KU:
  • See instructions above
  1. Complete required check-ins to remove enrollment holds:
  • As a readmitted student, you are not required (although certainly welcome) to do the International Student Orientation, however, you are still required to complete the ISS ARRIVE Check-in prior to being allowed to enroll.  You may have other enrollment holds and check-ins to complete as well.
  • Review the details on Readmitted Student Arrival and Check-in Processes

 

For any questions regarding the SEVIS transfer process and I-20 issuance, email issdocs@ku.edu.

Orientation is mandatory for all new KU F-1 students, regardless of previous attendance at another institution in the US in F-1 status. Remember to Pre-Register for Orientation!

Passport

A passport is a travel document, usually issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel. Standard passports contain the holder's name, place and date of birth, photograph, signature, and other identifying information.

Once you enter the U.S., the important thing to remember about your Passport is to keep it valid at all times. For some of you, you can renew your passport at an embassy or consulate in the U.S., and for others you will have to return home to get it renewed. Always be mindful of the expiration date.
What is an I-94?

Your I-94 tracks your arrival and departures from the U.S. It also says what status you were admitted to and how long you’re able to stay.  

Note : Your I-94 becomes available AFTER you enter the U.S.

How do I find my I-94?

Once you arrive in the U.S. your I-94 Document will be available on the government website. Please print the document once you arrive in the U.S. Legally, you are required to carry your I-94 with you at all times. Upon arrival, you may visit the following website to retrieve your I-94.

You will get a NEW I-94 with a NEW admission number every time you enter the U.S. You should have the letters “D/S” on your I-94, which mean that you are admitted to the U.S. for the “Duration of Status”, or for as long as you are maintaining status – this is typically the time that it takes for you to complete your degree/program.

Find Your I-94 Record

Note: Your I-94 becomes available AFTER you enter the U.S.

I-94 Arrival-Departure Record

Arrival Timeline


Apply

KU IDs

Immigration Documents

Plan

Pre-register

Arrive

Orientation

Print
 
 


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