UMD: A Globally Connected University

Apply for Your Visa

Apply for Your Visa

Visa Process 

A visa is a document that is placed into your passport and allows you to request permission from an Immigration officer at a port-of-entry (usually at an airport) to enter the United States. The visa itself does not guarantee admission into the U.S.; all other documents must be in order as well. The procedure to enter the U.S. is covered in more detail on Arrival and U.S. Customs

F-1 (Student) Visa

The F-1 visa is the most often used visa by international students to study at an accredited U.S. college, university, or English language institute. Students on F-1 visas come to the United States for a full degree program. To apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility I-20 document. 

J-1 (Exchange Visitor) Visa

The J-1 visa is used for educational and cultural exchange programs at the University of Maryland. Students on J-1 visas typically come to the United States to study for a shorter period of time - one to two semesters. To apply for an J-1 student/scholar visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility DS-2019 document. 

Visa Application Steps

  1. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee *
    • SEVIS Fee:
      • F-1 students:  $350
      • J-1 students:  $220
    • Print out your receipt of payment for your visa interview.
      *You may have received an I-20/DS-2019 from several schools, but you should only pay the SEVIS fee once and apply for your visa with the I-20/DS-2019 of the school you plan to attend.
  2. Schedule a visa appointment/interview*
  3. Attend the visa appointment and bring the following documents with you: Additional Documentation May Be Required
    • ​​A completed visa application form
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019
    • Proof that you paid the SEVIS fee & visa application fees
    • A passport valid for at least 6 months or more into the future
    • Financial support documentation that was used for your I20/DS2019 creation
    • For dependents applying for an F-2/J-2 visa: bring your marriage certificate and/or children’s birth certificate confirming your relationship.
    • Your admission letter from the University of Maryland 
    • Any standardized test scores  you submitted to UMD
    • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study, examples include: proof of property ownership, bank accounts, significant family in your home country, a job offer in your home country upon completion of your U.S. studies, etc

Expedited Visa

Students who are having trouble securing a visa appointment may be eligible for expedited/emergency visa appointment.

“Consular sections overseas may be able to expedite your interview date if there is an urgent, unforeseen situation such as a funeral, medical emergency, or school start date. The process to request an expedited nonimmigrant visa interview varies by location. You should refer to the instructions on the website of the Embassy or Consulate Visa Section  where you will interview, or on their online appointment scheduling site. You will need to provide proof of the need for an earlier appointment.”

Your I-20/DS2019 start date provides the necessary information you need to demonstrate your start date at UMD. Feel free to use our visa expedition letter if you feel it will assist your immigration case. 

After the Visa Appointment

If all goes according to plan, you will receive an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport. Congratulations! Check your visa for errors before you leave the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

You may not enter the U.S. on your F-1 or J-1 visa more than 30 days prior to the report date on your I-20/DS-2019.

Please contact ISSS if you received a late visa appointment and will not be able to enter the U.S. by the report date on your I-20/DS-2019, or if your visa application has been denied.