Congratulations on your acceptance to St. Edward’s!
We’re excited to welcome you to our university community as a new international student. And we look forward to making your transition to the hilltop easy.
The following information is an overview of how to secure your immigration status and pursue education as an international student in the U.S. Please review the steps outlined below, and follow the instructions carefully to avoid delays in the processing of your immigration documents. International Student Services staff are here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us by sending an email to iss [at] stedwards.edu or calling +1 (512) 428-1051!
NOTE: This information is for recently admitted international students. If you have not yet been admitted, please contact the Office of Admission at seu.admit [at] stedwards.edu or 512-448-8500.
Step 1: Obtain Form I-20 or Form DS-2019
Form I-20 (F-1 Student) and Form DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitor)
To study as an international or exchange student in the United States, you need either a Form I-20 "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student (F-1) Status" or "Form DS-2019 “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status” These forms grant you eligibility to apply for either an F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange visitor visa.
Required Documents for Form I-20 or DS-2019
Upon acceptance, email the following documents to iss [at] stedwards.edu.
- Copy of Passport Identification Page for you and any dependents (spouse and/or children)
- Certification of Finances Form – All students must demonstrate the financial ability to pay for estimated academic and living expenses. Cost estimates vary for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as single semester of full-year exchange students, so make sure to select the correct version of the form for your intended program of study.
- Proof of Financial Support (Bank Documents) – Either the student or sponsor (usually a parent, guardian or other family member) must submit a bank letter or official bank statement proving the account holder has a checking or savings account with an available balance in excess of the cost estimate for the student’s period of study. Proof can come in the form of an online screen shot of account balance, official bank statement, or signed letter from the bank detailing available balance, so long as documentation meets all specifications outlined in Section III of the Certification of Finances Form.
Receiving Form I-20
- F-1 Students: After you have submitted the required documents, please complete the I-20 Request Form to ensure prompt delivery of your documents. When we submit your request, we will prepare your I-20 and mail original copies to you in your home country. You will be notified by email once your documents have shipped so you can track your package. Monitor the status of your shipment, and respond to any communication from Air Concepts (our third-party mail service) to ensure the prompt delivery of your documents. Upon receipt of your Form I-20, you should begin the visa application process.
- J-1 Students: After you have submitted all required application documents, GEO will issue your Form DS-2019 and mail it to the exchange coordinator at your home university. You will be notified when your packet has been posted. Monitor the status of your shipment, and respond to any communication from Air Concepts (our third-party mail service) to ensure the prompt delivery of your documents. Upon receipt of your Form DS-2019, you should begin the J-1 visa application process.
Note to Transfer Students: If you are currently enrolled at a U.S. based educational institution (high school, ESL Program, college/university) you will need to submit a Transfer Eligibility Form in addition to the documents above. You must complete Section I of the form and then send it to your current international advisor. Return the completed and signed form to iss [at] stedwards.edu. We can only issue your new Form I-20 or DS-2019 after your SEVIS record is transferred to St. Edward's University.
Step 2: Apply for F-1 or J-1 Visa
Below is a general overview of the process to obtain your visa. However, we strongly encourage you to also visit the State Department website for more detailed instructions and a helpful list of FAQs.
- Pay the required SEVIS I-901 Fee at www.fmjfee.com then print your receipt. Locate your SEVIS ID # (top of your Form I-20 or DS-2019) and the St. Edward’s School Code (left-hand column of the SEVIS Fee Handout) in order to make the payment. More information about this fee is available here.
- Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) and pay applicable fees, then print the application form confirmation page and fee payment receipt to bring to your interview.
- Schedule an appointment for your visa interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.
- Prepare for and attend your scheduled visa interview. Do not make travel plans until you have secured your visa.
An interview at your local U.S. embassy or consulate is required to determine if you are qualified to receive an F-1 student visa. Arrive at the interview with all of the required documents and receipts, and be prepared to answer personal questions about your decision to study in the U.S.
Visa interview questions vary depending on Consular Officer. As a general rule, students must be able to respond to the following basic questions:
- Who are you? Communicate open and honestly with the officer.
- What is your intent in the U.S.? For example, to pursue a bachelor's degree or participate in an exchange program.
- How will you fund your program of study? You must be able to provide proof of financial support in the form of a bank statement or other documentation.
- What are your plans upon completion of your program of study? Your reply should demonstrate sufficient ties to your home country.
Step 3: Travel and Arrival
When to Arrive
Initial F-1 and J-1 students may enter the United States no more than 30 days before the program start date shown on their I-20 or DS-2019. All students must arrive on campus by the date of their assigned Orientation session. These dates are published on the International Student Orientation page. Please review these important arrival dates, and make your travel plans accordingly.
Transportation to Campus
Once you arrive in Austin, you have the following options to get to campus or your apartment/hotel:
- Arrange airport pick-up for a fee through our partner Simply International. Create an account, identify yourself as being with St. Edward's University, then register for airport pick-up via the "Action Items" section of the dashboard.
- Super Shuttle: You must make reservations online prior to arrival.
- Download the Fasten App (a rideshare company like Uber) on the App Store or Google Play.
- Taxi: Taxi cabs like Yellow Cab queue directly outside the baggage claim exit doors.
The address of the university is 3001 South Congress Avenue; however, if you will be living in an on-campus apartment, you should use the following address: 520 Woodward Street.