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International Student and Scholar Services

Visa & Immigration

Acquiring F-1 or J-1 Status

There are five basic steps to acquiring F-1 or J-1 status:

1. deposit for a program at du

You must apply to a program at DU and be accepted. Then, you must accept the admission and pay a deposit (if your program has an admissions deposit). You will work directly with the college or academic unit you are seeking admission to for this process.

2. Request a certificate of eligibility

A Certificate of Eligibility is a document that allows you to apply for a visa, to enter the U.S. with that visa, and it will show evidence of your F-1 or J-1 status after you arrive in the United States. For F-1 students, the Certificate of Eligibility is a Form I-20. For J-1 students, the Certificate of Eligibility is a Form DS-2019.

To request a certificate of eligibility from the University of Denver, all students must submit copies of the following documents:


This is the page in your passport that lists your full name and birthday. You must submit a clear and readable copy. ISSS does not require your passport to be valid, so long as the name listed on the passport is still your legal name. However, your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future for you to be permitted entry into the United States.

If you are bringing a spouse or dependent children, you must also submit clear copies of their passport biographical pages.


The University of Denver is required by U.S. government regulations to verify that you have funding available to cover estimated academic and living expenses.

  • F-1 students must provide evidence of funding to cover all expenses for one academic year (3 quarters/2 semesters).
  • J-1 students must provide evidence of funding to cover all expenses for the entire length of program.

If your program is shorter than one academic year, we must see funding for the entire program.

Undergraduate Costs
  • Fully admitted undergraduate student costs are listed here. We must see the total for 3 quarters.
    • Questions about these costs can be directed to International Student Admission at
Graduate Costs
  • Most graduate student costs are listed here. To calculate your cost:
  • University College graduate student costs are listed here
    • Questions about these costs can be directed to University College at
Exchange and Visiting Student Costs

Exchange and visiting student costs can be found here. Any questions about these costs can be directed to

All documents must be:

  • Dated within the past 6 months
  • In English, or accompanied by a certified English translation
  • Official, including at minimum the name, seal, and address of the organization.
    • Letters must also include a signature from an official at the issuing organization.

Any combination of the following is usually acceptable as proof of finances:

  • Bank Statement: A bank statement that includes the name of the financial institution, the account holder's name, the type of account (checking, savings, deposit, etc), the available balance, and the currency.
  • Sponsor Letter: A detailed letter from a sponsor stating the exact dollar amount being provided, what the funding is meant to cover (tuition, living expenses, health insurance, etc), and the dates the funding will be provided for. The letter must include the name of the university, the program, and the degree level.
  • University of Denver Award: An admission letter from the University of Denver that details any scholarship, funding, stipend, or tuition waiver awards.
  • Education Loan: A detailed letter from the lender that includes your name, the approved amount of the loan, and period of time for which the loan is available.

Can I subtract my scholarship award from the required funding?

Scholarships, graduate assistantships, stipends, and tuition waivers awarded by the University of Denver all count toward your required funding.

Can I use bank documents belonging to a parent/sibling/friend/etc? 

Yes. That person will need to complete the 'Family or Private Sponsor' section of the Financial Verification Form, attesting that they guarantee you access to the funding shown on the bank statement.

Can I submit multiple different bank documents?


Will I have to submit new financial documentation every year?

No. You will only need new financial documentation if there are changes to your program information, including (but not limited to): 

  • Change of academic level
  • Program end date extension
  • Starting a new major or adding a second degree

If someone else is paying for my health insurance or living expenses, do I have to show proof of funding for those costs?

Yes. You can use the bank documents belonging to the person paying for your health insurance or living expenses to show funding.

3. Financial Verification Form

All students must submit a financial verification form. This form is to help you plan financially for your time at the University of Denver, and to help ISSS understand your proof of funding documents. Complete the form that applies to your program:

4. Students transferring their SEVIS record from a different institution in the United States must submit a Transfer Eligibility Form

5. Students who wish to apply for J-1 status must submit the J-1 Student Insurance Attestation

What visa status should I apply for?

Most students at the University of Denver are here in F-1 student status. Use the chart below to help determine which status you should request:

  F-1 J-1
Funding Requirements 

There are no requirements for the source of funds. 

 A substantial portion of funds (at least 50%) must be from an organization such as an employer, government, or the University of Denver.
On-Campus Employment Options Part time (up to 20 hours a week). No special permissions required. Part time (up to 20 hours a week). Must have J- 1 On-Campus Work Authorization.
Off-Campus Practical Training Options Curricular Practical Training (CPT): Paid, off- campus internship during study.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) : Employment in field of study after graduation up to 12 months.
OPT Extension for STEM Majors : 24-month extension of OPT.
 Academic Training:  Off-campus internship or employment in field of study before or after graduation.
Dependents Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for employment but may study part-time. Dependent children may be enrolled full-time in primary or secondary school. Dependents in J-1 status may study full or part-time and may apply for permission to work full or part-time after arrival in the United States.
Grace Period 60 day grace period to depart the United States after completion of program or OPT. 30 day grace period to depart the United States after completion of program or Academic Training.
Home Country Residency  There are no home country residency
requirements following study.
Some J-1 scholars and their dependents may be subject to the Two-Year Home Country
Residence Requirement, 212(e).


3. Pay the SEVIS Fee

Once your I-20 or DS-2019 is ready to be shipped to you, you will receive an email with shipment information and your SEVIS ID. You will use the SEVIS ID to pay the SEVIS fee online at When making the payment, you will need to enter your family name, your date of birth, and your SEVIS ID number. You should print a copy of Form I-901 receipt, which confirms payment of the SEVIS fee. You will need to bring Form I-901 with you to your visa appointment.

SEVIS Fee Instructions

4. Apply for a u.s. visa

After paying the SEVIS fee, you will need to contact a U.S. consular office or embassy to schedule a visa appointment. Scheduling practices vary among offices, so visit the embassy's website to learn how to make an appointment. You can also check the Visa Wait Times calculator to see how long it will take to get an appointment. Keep in mind that the earliest F-1 student visas can be issued is 120 days before the program starts.

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are generally exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa.

In general, you should allow several weeks to schedule an appointment and complete the visa application process, especially if your major field of study or country of citizenship requires additional security checks. The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends students apply for a visa at a consulate or embassy in their home country.

Visa applicants typically are required to have a face-to-face interview with a consular officer. The interviews are often very short and you will not have much time to respond to the officer's questions. Here are a few resources to help you prepare for your interview:

5. travel and request entry to the u.s.

Once you have your visa, you can travel to the U.S. and request to enter at a Port of Entry. Detailed information on this process can be found on the New Students page of this website under 'At the Port of Entry'.