Federal Regulations Governing Immigration Document Issuance
The Office of Global Services (OGS) relies on admissions offices and departments to ensure that a student has the required academic credentials and English language ability needed to succeed in their academic program. In order for OGS to issue an immigration document to a student, Georgetown must:
- Receive a written application from the student for admission to the school;
- Receive and evaluate the applicant's academic credentials and level of English language ability*, and ensured that the applicant meets all academic standards;
- Accept the student unconditionally into a face to face, full-time program of study which constitutes a "full course of study"**;
- Assess the student's ability to meet all expenses during the course of study.
** OGS is prohibited from issuing an immigration document to any student that has been conditionally admitted to the University. A document may be issued only once the student has cleared all admission conditions.
English Language Proficiency for Students Requesting J-1 Status
All prospective Georgetown students must follow the admissions criteria set forth by their designated admissions office. The following policy affects only the issuance of immigration documents for J-1 student status.
Once fully and unconditionally admitted to Georgetown, students requesting J-1 immigration status will be asked to present a copy of one of the following documents to the Office of Global Services before a DS- 2019 Form for J-1 status will be issued.
This requirement responds to a U.S. Department of State’s rule, effective January 5, 2015. The regulation requires that the University determine whether a prospective J-1 student possesses sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in his/her program and to function on a day to day basis [22CFR62.10(a)(2)].
One of the following documents must be submitted by the prospective J-1 student with the immigration questionnaire to request J-1 status:
- A minimum TOEFL score of 550 paper-based or 80 internet based, or an IELTS of at least 7.0, or
- a signed document from an English language school (a school that teaches English language) or English language instructor (an instructor who teaches English as a foreign language), or
- an official transcript, school report or letter (signed and dated) from an educational institution where the language of instruction is English showing a minimum gpa equivalency of 3.0, or
- a documented (signed and dated) interview conducted in-person or by video- conferencing, or by telephone if videoconferencing is not a viable option, by Georgetown University staff or faculty in the admitting department/office
OGS will then keep this documentation on file in case of a Department of State audit in which we are called upon to provide the proof of English language proficiency. Students who cannot present one of these certifications of English language proficiency will not be able to study in J-1 status.
Immigration Questionnaire (IQ)
Once admitted to Georgetown, all non-U.S. citizens (except Permanent Residents) must complete an Immigration Questionnaire can be found in their official Georgetown admission letter. Even those who do not need immigration documents from Georgetown are required to complete this step. It is important to note that the University does not bar any individual from study based on immigration status or lack of legal status.
Those who need immigration documents from Georgetown must submit supplemental information to OGS. Based upon the information submitted, students will either receive a Form I-20 (for F-1 status) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 status).
The Form I-20 or DS-2019 can then be used to apply for either an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Please note that most, but not all, students require a visa stamp. OGS is not able to estimate the time it will take for a student to obtain a visa stamp. Students and departments may consult the Department of State's website for additional consular information, including an estimate of visa wait times.
Once the visa stamp is obtained, a student must enter the United States no later than the start date listed on their Form I-20 or DS-2019, and no more than 30 days prior to that date.
Once OGS receives the Immigration Questionnaire and supporting documentation, office staff will check Banner for an active learner record. This record should be created once a student has submitted an intent to matriculate form and deposit to the admissions office. OGS is unable to create an immigration document for a student who does not have an active learner record.
If the Banner record is complete and accurate, OGS will produce the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 within 2-3 weeks. We mail the document abroad along with a instructions for the student to review the Immigration and Student Life Guides, which give them detailed information on life in DC and the process for applying for the F-1 or J-1 visa stamp.
Deadlines & Timing
The deadline for an international student to submit a document request to OGS is approximately one month prior to the semester start date. This deadline set to increase the chance a student will be able to arrive in time for the mandatory international orientation and the start of classes.
We urge departments to admit students as early as possible and to encourage their students to complete the IQ and forward it along with all relevant documentation to OGS immediately following admission.
Mandatory Immigration Session
Anytime a department admits international students who receive documents for F-1 or J-1 status, the students are required to attend a mandatory immigration session. The immigration, cultural adjustment, and academic integrity sessions are federally mandated and absolutely mandatory for F-1 & J-1 students. They take precedence over all other academic or departmental obligations.
OGS communicates the mandatory fall orientation dates to departments and schools by e-mail in mid-February and spring orientation dates in mid-October to help departments and schools avoid scheduling conflicts.