Welcome to Princeton New Graduate International Students!
IMMIGRATION INFORMATION FOR INCOMING GRADUATE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The following information is specifically for graduate students who wish to enter the U.S. to study at Princeton University in F-1 or J-1 visa status. Below please find relevant links to immigration information:
Application for a Visa Certificate (I-20 or DS-2019)
Students Transferring from another U.S. School to Princeton University
F-1 or J-1 visa - Which one is right for you
Students currently in the U.S. in other immigration status
Obtaining F-1 or J-1 Immigration Status
APPLICATION FOR A VISA CERTIFICATE (I-20 or DS-2019)
Application for a Visa Certificate (AVC) should be submitted to the Davis International Center by May 1. Provided that applications are complete, Davis IC will start issuing visa eligibility documents (I-20 Form for F-1 students or DS-2019 Form for J-1 students) in early May.
To receive your I-20 or DS-2019, you MUST make arrangement for express mail through eShip Global.
Should you have any questions about completing the AVC, send your inquiry to the Davis IC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow 48 hours for processing your inquiry.
STUDENTS TRANSFERRING FROM ANOTHER U.S. SCHOOL TO PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
In addition to the AVC, you must also complete the F-1/J-1 Student SEVIS Transfer-In Form.
IMPORTANT: This transfer form is only for non-U.S. citizens who are currently studying in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status. You must submit the transfer form to the international student adviser at your current U.S. school and inform them of your intent to transfer to Princeton University. Your advisor must complete Section 2 on the transfer form and send it to the Davis IC as per the instructions on the form. The advisor must also transfer your SEVIS record to Princeton University after you complete the program at your current U.S. school or finish your Optional Practical Training (F-1 students) or Academic Training (J-1 students).
F-1 OR J-1 VISA – WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU
The F-1 visa is the most common visa used by international students at Princeton. All students are eligible for an F-1 visa, as long as they have been admitted and have accepted admission and can document funding for at least the first year of study.
You are be eligible for a J-1 visa: If you have been admitted and have accepted admission; If you can document funding for at least the first year of study, and: IF you will receive at least 51% of your total financial funding from a source other than personal, family, or friends. Funds other than personal funds may include a single source or any combination of the following:
- Fellowship from an external funding source
- Fellowship, Assistantship in Instruction (AI) or Assistantship in Research (AR) from Princeton
- Home country government
- International Organization
- Corporate Sponsor
IMPORTANT: If you meet the above funding criteria for the J-1 visa and you wish to be eligible for that option, then you MUST submit the completed DS-2019 Student Request Form, along with your Application for Visa Certificate and other required documentation, to the Davis IC at email@example.com Students who do not submit the DS-2019 Student Request Form will automatically receive the I-20 form for the F-1 visa.
NOTE: Before requesting a DS-2019 form, please read carefully about differences between F-1 and J-1 visa, such as the 2-year residency requirement, and mandatory health insurance and employment permission for J-2 dependents.
PLEASE NOTE: If you start your program at Princeton as an F-1 student, it may be difficult to change your status to J-1 visa during your course of study.
Please read carefully below how a J-1 visa may impact your long term plans:
J-1 Two Year Home Country Residency Requirement 212(e)
Some J-1 visa holders are subject to the two-year home country residency requirement. This requirement will apply to you if:
1. You receive any funding from the U.S. Government or your home country government. If this is the case, you will be automatically subjected to the two year home country residency requirement, regardless of whether your government requires that you obtain a J-1 or not. F-1 students with home country government funding are not subjected to such requirement.
2. Your field of study has been included in the U.S. Government’s Exchange Visitor’s Skills List If you field of study is in the EV Skills list, you will be automatically subject to this rule.
If you are subject to this requirement, you must reside for an aggregate of two (2) years in your country of citizenship or last country of legal permanent residence, or have the requirement waived before being eligible for other U.S. immigration status, including H, L or permanent residency. J-2 spouses are also subject to the requirement. Note: Obtaining a waiver can be difficult and expensive. You would likely need to hire an immigration attorney to help you in the process.
If you have been in the U.S. on a J student visa for more than six months, you will not qualify for a J-1 Research Scholar visa category until 12 months after the student visa ends. J-2 spouses are also subject the 12 month bar. The 12 month bar is not the same as the Two Year Home Residency Requirement.
Canadian citizens are exempt from applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport, however, you must complete the Application for a Visa Certificate to receive an I-20/DS-2019 form and pay the SEVIS fee which are required in order to enter the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status at a U.S. port-of entry.
Canadian landed immigrants must have an I-20/DS-2019, pay the SEVIS fee and have an F-1/J-1 student visa in their passports in order to enter the U.S.
STUDENTS CURRENTLY IN THE U.S. IN OTHER VISA TYPES:
Student who wish to study at Princeton with a visa type other than F-1 or J-1 must be sure that their visa allows full-time study and employment authorization (if the student plans to work during studies). IMPORTANT: Students in B-1/B-2 or WT/WB Visitors Visa status or F-2 dependent visa status are NOT eligible to study or be employed and must change their status to F-1 BEFORE enrolling in courses.
OBTAINING F-1/J-1 IMMIGRATION STATUS:
If you are currently in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status, you may obtain F-1/J-1 status after you receive the I-20/DS-2019 Form from Princeton University. There are two ways to obtain F-1/J-1 status:
- Obtaining F-1/J-1 Status by Travel: You will need to apply for an F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy/ Consulate abroad, preferably in your home country. After you obtain the visa, you will then enter the U.S. in F-1/J-1 visa status.
- Applying for a Change of Status within the U.S.: If you choose not to travel outside the U.S. to obtain an F-1/J-1 visa, you will need to apply for a change of status to F-1/J-1 by submitting an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) from within the U.S. You may wish to consult with an immigration attorney to assist you with your change of status application.