1. Determine your student visa.
Most international students come to USF St. Petersburg on F-1 or J-1 student visas. Eligibility documents from USF St. Petersburg — 1-20s or DS 2019s — are required to apply for an F-1 visa or J-1 visa respectively.
The F-1 is the most commonly used student visa. Students must have a valid educational purpose for coming to the United States, be a full-time student, and provide proof of their ability to fund their education. Upon admission to a USF St. Petersburg program and receipt of financial documentation, the student is issued an I-20 to be used to obtain the F-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate. The spouse or children of an F-1 student enter the US on F-2 visas and are not eligible to attend university or work in the US.
The J-1 visa is an “exchange visitor” visa that is managed under the auspices of the Exchange Visitor Program of the US Department of State. The J-1 visa is used primarily by exchange students (non degree-seeking) and students sponsored by US government agencies. Students who meet the criteria for the J-1 visa will be issued a DS-2019 by USF St. Petersburg or by a United States government agency. The spouse or children of a J-1 student enter the US on a J-2 visa. Spouses in J-2 status may apply to USCIS for permission to work after their arrival in the US. Spouses and children may also attend school.