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 a student immigration document, 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 ensure 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 who has been conditionally admitted to the University. A document may be issued only once the student has cleared all admission conditions.

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 OGS before a Form DS-2019 for J-1 status will be issued.

This requirement responds to a U.S. Department of State’s regulation that requires the University to 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 student 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 the English language to non-native English speakers) 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 keep this documentation on file in case of an audit by the Department of State. Students who cannot present one of these certifications of English language proficiency are unable to study in J-1 status.

The Form I-20 or DS-2019 is used to apply for either an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Most, but not all, students require a visa stamp. OGS is unable 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 consular information and visa wait time estimates. 

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.

The deadline for an international student to submit a document request to OGS is 30 days prior to the OGS international orientation date (Executive and Short-Term program students should check the Executive & Short-Term programs website for submission deadlines). All required supporting documentation must be submitted and uploaded to the International Student Portal by this date to be eligible for an immigration document.  

We urge departments to admit students as early as possible and to encourage their students to complete the immigration document request process with OGS immediately following admission.

All admitted students who receive documents for F-1 or J-1 status must attend a series of online modules and mandatory in-person orientation sessions. The immigration, cultural adjustment, and academic integrity sessions are federally mandated and required for SEVIS registration. This requirement takes precedence over all other academic and 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.