Coming to KU
You must obtain a visa that is appropriate for your intended purpose for entering the U.S. For most students, this will be an F-1 or a J-1 visa. You must not enter the U.S. with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or under any visa waiver program that your country may have with the U.S. if you intend to be a student. You will not be permitted to attend school as a tourist. Canadian citizens do not need a visa.
Each embassy or consular post has their own visa application procedures and processing times, but generally speaking, you will need to submit your Form I-20 (for an F-1 visa) or Form DS-2019 (for a J-1 visa) along with your passport, proof of finances, SEVIS fee receipt, photos, visa application fee and the appropriate visa application forms: DS-156 and DS-158 for all student visa applicants; DS-157 is usually required for all males between 16 and 45 years old.
*Please note: immigration laws limit your arrival into the U.S. to no more than 30 days prior to the report date listed on Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
All students who have an initial attendance I-20 Form (F-1 students) and most students who have an initial attendance DS-2019 Form (J-1 Students) must pay a $100 SEVIS fee before they can apply for a visa. Transfer students will have a different procedure.
- Information about SEVIS Fee and I-901 form.
Port of Entry
At the port of entry, you will need to present your passport, current valid visa, and I-20 (if F-1) or DS-2019 (if J-1) authorizing you to attend KU. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your entry date. Be prepared to submit proof of finances. You will be issued a small card called an I-94. The officer at the port of entry may staple this card to your passport. This card is very important, as it is your proof of legal entry; do not lose it. You will be fingerprinted and photographed. You may also be asked to go to another line where you will have your documents examined and be asked some questions. Do not be alarmed. This is routine for students. The entire process can sometimes take 2-4 hours or longer; plan your connecting flights accordingly. US customs may search your bag for any unauthorized items; click here for a list of common questions about US Customs and Border Protection.
For more information about SEVIS, Port of entry and immigration status click here.