After the Immigration Document is Issued
After receiving the Georgetown Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 students are ready to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa, finalize travel arrangements, and plan arrival at Georgetown.
1) Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges the SEVIS I-901 Fee when students begin a new F-1 or J-1 SEVIS record. The SEVIS I-901 Fee is separate from the Form DS-160 visa application fee. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee at least three business days before attending the visa interview or traveling to the United States. Students should print fee payment confirmation to keep for their permanent immigration record and be prepared to present proof of payment at encounters with U.S. immigration officers (e.g. visa application, border arrival).
If unable to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee online, use Western Union Quick Pay: 1) Print Western Union instructions and the sample form. 2) Complete the Form I-901 online. 3) Take the Western Union instructions and sample form to the nearest Western Union to process the payment. 4) After three business days, confirm payment on the SEVP website and print the confirmation page to use as the payment receipt.
SEVIS Transfer Students
F-1 and J-1 students transferring their SEVIS record from another institution to Georgetown (except J-1 students changing category within the United States or those currently sponsored by the U.S. Government) will retain the SEVIS ID Number on their previous Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and do not need to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee again.
F-2 and J-2 Dependents
There is no SEVIS I-901 Fee for F-2 or J-2 dependents.
Change in Admissions Decision
Students may move the SEVIS I-901 Fee from one SEVIS ID to a new SEVIS ID or request a refund if (a) the SEVIS ID has not been used for entry to the United States, and (b) the payment receipt is less than a year old. Students who meet these conditions may transfer their SEVIS I-901 Fee from one institution to another online or request a refund of the fee by emailing fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov or calling I-901 Customer Support at 703.603.3400. Students who paid the SEVIS I-901 Fee using another institution’s unused Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and have decided to attend Georgetown University instead do not have to wait for their request for SEVIS Fee payment transfer to be processed before attending the visa interview. Simply bring the SEVIS I-901 Fee receipt and the other institution’s unused Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to the visa interview along with the Georgetown Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to explain the situation. The SEVIS I-901 Fee must be transferred to the Georgetown Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 prior to U.S. entry.
2) Apply for the F-1 or J-1 Student Visa (if applicable)
With limited exceptions for citizens of Canada and Bermuda, each international student must hold a valid F-1 or J-1 student visa to enter the United States. Students should contact their nearest U.S. consulate for specific details on how to obtain an F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant student visa. In Taiwan, contact the American Institute.
Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160. Students who received a Form I-20 should apply for an F-1 visa, and those who received a Form DS-2019 should apply for a J-1 visa.
Be prepared to present the following at the U.S. consulate:
- Georgetown Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
- One passport size photograph
- Evidence of financial support (e.g. bank documents, scholarship letter, approved loan application, etc.)
- Evidence of no intention to abandon residence of home country (e.g. strong family ties, pre-arranged job in home country, other economic ties, etc.)
- Passport (valid at least 6 months beyond the program start date)
- Proof of English-language proficiency
- Georgetown University admission letter
- SEVIS I-901 Fee payment receipt
- DS-160 confirmation receipt
SEVIS Transfer Students
F-1 students transferring their SEVIS record from another institution to Georgetown may continue to use their valid F-1 visa from their previous institution with their Georgetown Form I-20 for international travel until the visa’s expiration date or the Georgetown Form I-20 end date, whichever is sooner. Students may legally remain in the United States with an expired F-1 visa and an unexpired Form I-20 and must simply allow time to renew the F-1 visa during their next international trip.
J-1 students must ensure that the school name and SEVIS ID on the J-1 visa and Form DS-2019 match when reentering the United States. J-1 students transferring their SEVIS record from another institution to Georgetown may legally remain in the United States until their Georgetown Form DS-2019 end date. However, J-1 students must allow time to renew the J-1 visa using the Georgetown Form DS-2019 during their next international trip.
3) Make Travel Arrangements
Earliest U.S. Entry and Arrival Deadline
All F-1 and J-1 students, even those who have previously studied in the United States, must arrive at Georgetown by the Program Start Date listed on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (section 3). Students who cannot arrive by this deadline must contact The Office of Global Services (OGS) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an updated document for late arrival.
Students with a new SEVIS ID Number on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 must enter the United States up to 30 days before and no later than the Program Start Date on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
International Travel Following Initial Entry
After using the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 for U.S. entry, students must remain in the United States until OGS confirms by email that F-1 SEVIS Registration and J-1 SEVIS Validation is complete. OGS will invite students to request a travel signature on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 for international travel 30 days after the start of classes.
Students who have already entered the United States and are compelled to travel internationally for unforeseen reasons before classes begin or before the first 30 days of the semester have passed must contact their dedicated IS Advisor. For all other cases, please consult OGS prior to entering the United States in F-1 or J-1 status.
4) Enter the United States
Upon arrival in the United States, all visitors are subject to biometric identification through digital photographs and fingerprints. Be prepared to show the following documents U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP):
- Valid passport
- F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (unless exempt)
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 issued by Georgetown – Do not present an immigration document issued by any other institution.
- Admission letter
- Original financial support documentation
- Proof of SEVIS I-901 Fee payment
When successfully admitted to the United States, CBP will create an I-94 record of entry to officially record each student’s current immigration status. Students receive a new I-94 record for each entry to the United States. Please view and print a copy of the I-94 record after each U.S. entry to retain with all other important immigration documents. Verify:
- Personal information including name and date of birth match the information as on the F-1 or J-1 visa (if applicable) and on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
- “Class of Admission” shows “F-1” or “J-1.”
- “Admit Until Date” shows “D/S.”
Students who find an error on the I-94 record or are unable to locate their I-94 record online should email email@example.com.
5) Complete Post-Arrival Immigration Requirements
All F-1 and J-1 students, even those who have previously studied in the United States, must fulfill the below requirements to enable Georgetown to register their F-1 SEVIS record or validate their J-1 SEVIS record. Students who fail to complete these items in a timely manner will lose eligibility for F-1 or J-1 status.
- Attend the Mandatory Immigration Session
- Submit the Immigration Document Review via the International Student and Scholar Portal within 24 hours of arrival in the Washington DC Metro Area. Upload:
- Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1), with the student’s dated signature on Page 1
- F-1 or J-1 Visa (if applicable)
- Most recent I-94 record
- Post-Arrival Quiz Grade
- Dependent Documents (if any): F-2/J-2 Form I-20/Form DS-2019, F-1/J-2 visa stamp, I-94 record
- Report U.S. Contact Information by the Program Start Date on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
- Students living off-campus must report their U.S. home address and phone number under the “Local Off Campus” label in MyAccess
- Students living on-campus must send their U.S. phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Residential Living will report students’ on-campus housing assignments directly to OGS.
6) Settle In
Visit the Resources page to plan for life at Georgetown and in the DC Metro Area.
Questions? Email email@example.com