All F-1 and J-1 Applicants
The Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status," is issued by the Office of Admission to international students who have been granted admission to Rider University's programs. This form is required to apply for and obtain an F-1 student visa, with which you may gain entry to the United States for study in an academic program.
The Form DS-2019, "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status" is issued by the Office of Admission to international students admitted to Rider University’s exchange programs. This form is required to apply for and obtain a J-1 exchange student visa, with which a student may gain entry to the United States for study in the exchange program.
To obtain the form, you must:
- Be admitted to study at the University or the exchange program.
- Complete the required International Student Supplement form
- Supply the required supporting financial documents
- Supply copies of your previous I-20 forms (if applicable)
- Submit a copy of your passport
If you submit the required documentation at the time of application, we will send the I-20 or DS-2019 form with your university acceptance. If you qualify academically, but have not submitted the required documentation, we will issue a Conditional Acceptance. Your acceptance will not become official, and you will not receive the I-20 or DS-2019 form until you have provided the required documentation.
You should use the Rider University I-20 or DS-2019 form to obtain your visa only if you plan to enroll at Rider University. If you decide not to attend Rider, you should discard the one, and use the form provided by the institution you plan to attend.
If you have questions about your I-20 or DS-2019, please contact the appropriate admission staff member.
Transfer from a US Institution
If you currently attend another institution (high school, college, or language program) in the United States, your current institution will need to transfer your SEVIS record to Rider University in order for Rider to issue your new I-20. At the time of application, you should supply Rider with copies of your previous I-20 forms. After acceptance, if you have decided to attend Rider, you will need to present your admission letter to your current institution so it may transfer your SEVIS record. Once your institution has transferred your SEVIS record, Rider will issue your new I-20 form. You should only request your SEVIS record to be transferred if you are definitely attending Rider University for the upcoming term.
Other Visa Types
If you are currently in the United States on a visa, it is important that you verify that you can pursue undergraduate or graduate study on your current visa. We recommend that you visit the Department of State web site at http://travel.state.gov for information specific to your visa type. If you have general questions, you can contact the Office of Admission at [email protected].
If you will not be attending Rider University on an F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange visa, you are not required to supply the University with financial documentation. You are eligible for merit scholarships, but, generally, are not eligible for need-based financial assistance.
Visa Application Process
Applicants for a student visa should generally apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. A personal interview with the consular official may be required. For information on F-1 visa application requirements, visit the US Department of State Student Visa website and locate your consular office. Each applicant’s case is unique, and visa issuance may be delayed in the event special clearances are required. When the visa is issued, the consular office will return the Form I-20 to the applicant in a sealed envelope, to be opened only by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector at the U.S. port of entry.
When you appear for your Visa, you must supply the following:
- Original Form I-20, issued by the U.S. institution at which you plan to enroll (Rider University)
- Completed application Form DS-160. The required forms can be obtained at evisaforms.state.gov
- A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.
- One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in nonimmigrant photograph requirements
- The SEVIS I-901 fee receipt, showing payment of fee (more information below).
- If applicable, an MRV may be required for visa issuance after approval. Please refer to the visa reciprocity table.
You should also be prepared to supply:
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.
- Copies of all documents submitted to Rider as part of your application.
- Any additional evidence that will demonstrate your intent to return to your country upon completion of your studies.
I-901 SEVIS Fee
Before making an appointment at the embassy or consulate you must first pay the Department of Homeland Security's SEVIS I-901 Fee to cover the costs of the operation of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an internet-based system that maintains accurate and current information on nonimmigrant students, exchange visitors, and their dependents.
This fee is generally required of most F-1 and J-1 visa applicants who will be studying in the U.S. for the first time, as well as those changing to F-1 status. More specific information is available at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement web site. Students must have a receipt from payment of this fee in order to apply for a Visa; Canadian students must have this receipt when they arrive at the U.S. border.
The required fee ranges from $220 (DS-2019 holders) to $350 (I-20 holders).
Tips for the Visa Application Process
- Please be sure to plan as far in advance as possible, as visa wait times can be lengthy. View a list of current wait times.
- Your visa can be issued no more than 120 days before the start date listed on your I-20. If you apply before this point, your application will be held, but any special clearances will be worked on.
- Be sure to pay your SEVIS fee and have the receipt with you when you appear for your Visa appointment.
- You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20. Consider this carefully when making your travel arrangements.
- Check your I-20 carefully when you first receive the form to be sure the information exactly matches that on your passport.
- For the interview, it is helpful to explain your reason(s) for studying your degree program at Rider University and your plans upon your return to your country.
- You will also need to demonstrate your plans for payment of your education and living expenses at Rider University. This information should be the same as what you supplied to Rider for the issuance of your I-20/DS-2019.