Student Visas allowed by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
Many U.S. visa types allow those visa holders to study. There are only a few visas, however, that are specifically intended for non-U.S. citizens to come to the U.S. to study. These visas include:
- F-1 - for full-time, degree seeking students
- F-2 – for part-time, degree or non-degree dependents of F-1 students
- J-1 - for full-time degree or non-degree students
- J-1 Student-Intern category - for students in degree programs abroad who need to come to the U.S. for internships - not full time enrollment in courses
- M-1 - for vocational school students (not available at UGA)
These student visas are managed by the U.S. government through an online database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Both F-1 and J-1 students have immigration records created by the UGA immigration advisors in SEVIS. UGA helps international students by keeping the SEVIS record accurate and updated with regard to personal information and academic information.
An international student admitted to a UGA degree program can apply for either an F-1 or J-1 student visa. Exchange non-degree students must apply for a J-1 non-degree category visa. International students will be issued either an I-20 form (for F-1 visa applicants) or a DS-2019 form (for J-1 visa applicants) by the University of Georgia, depending on the type of academic program they are admitted to at UGA. While there are differences in the F-1 and J-1 student immigration regulations, there are many similarities as well. .
For more information on SEVIS:
Click on the links below for an overview of the F and J visa types:
- F-1 & J-1 student visa information: http://issis.uga.edu/docs/Student_Section/Maintaining_your_Status_Info_Sheet.pdf
Non-SEVIS Visas that Allow Internationals to Study:
An international student can also hold a different visa status, such as an H-4, A-1, J-2, F-2, etc. This usually happens when the international student is already in the U.S. as a dependent of a parent or spouse who holds a work or exchange visa. These individuals are still considered an "international student" at UGA, and must check in with our office when you arrive on campus.
F-2 dependent status: F-2 children may legally attend elementary and secondary school. They may not attend post-secondary schools. F-2 spouses may now attend school part-time.
We can also offer general information on what study and employment options you may have, and when it might be best to switch to an actual student visa. An example might be - if you are going to turn 21 years of age - and you can no longer be eligible for your dependent visa status. Another example might be - if you need to do an internship, and your dependent status does not allow employment.
We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions!
Non-SEVIS Visas that DO NOT Allow Study in the U.S.
The visa type that specifically prohibits study at the post-secondary (College or University) level in the U.S.:
- B-1 or B-2 Visitors: These are tourist visa statuses. B-1 or B-2 tourists, or those from visa waiver countries admitted under the visa waiver program may not legally study.