Office of Global Engagement

Telephone: 706-542-2900

Click here for our recently updated FAQ Regarding Immigration Status and Services at UGA

Please note: In order to best serve our students and scholars during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration Services will continue to mail documents through fall semester to reduce in-person office visits. See here for more information.

Welcome to the University of Georgia!

  • Eligibility +

    International students must first apply and be accepted to the University of Georgia. For more information regarding the admissions process, students should contact the appropriate admission office.

    Upon admission, students will receive an email from Immigration Services with details on how to request an I-20 or DS-2019 for the F-1 or J-1 visa. Students will also be able to request an I-20 or DS-2019 for dependents. All information included with the I-20 or DS-2019 should be read thoroughly.

    Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:

    Students who are approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) should contact the appropriate admissions office PRIOR to applying to UGA! In general DACA approved students are not eligible for admission to UGA.

  • Pre-Arrival Information +

    There are several steps students must complete to obtain the F-1 or J-1 student visa to study in the US. Pre-arrival information is provided to guide students step-by-step through the process:

    Prearrival Information

  • Immigration Process +

    Student Visas allowed by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)

    There are only a few visas that are specifically intended for non-U.S. citizens to come to the U.S. to study. These visas that can be issued for study at UGA.

    • F-1 - for full-time, degree seeking students
    • F-2 - for part-time, degree or non-degree dependents of F-1 students
    • J-1 - for full-time degree or non-degree students

    These student visas are managed by the U.S. government through an online database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System – SEVIS. UGA helps international students by keeping the SEVIS record accurate and updated with regard to personal information and academic information.

    About SEVIS

    Non-SEVIS Visas that Allow Internationals to Study

    An international student can also hold a different visa status, such as an H-4, A-1, J-2, F-2, etc. These individuals are still considered an "international student" at UGA, and must check in with our office upon arrival.

    B-1 or B-2 tourists, or those from visa waiver countries admitted under the visa waiver program may not legally study.

    Applying for the Student visa

    The U.S. Embassy/Consulate closest to a student’s home will process the visa application.

    U.S. Embassies and Consulates

    A visa from a U.S. embassy is not required for Canadian citizens.

    Students may be required to speak with a consular officer. The officers will verify academic ability, English language skills, and financial resources to study at UGA. Because international students are applying for a non-immigrant visa, the officer may require documentation of proof of intent to return to a student’s home country.

    10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

    Entering the United States

    Students should carry all required immigration documents in their carry-on luggage.

    At the port of entry in the United States, students will be inspected by an immigration officer for admission into the U.S. Students will present to the U.S. immigration officer the following documents:

    • Passport
    • Visa
    • I-20 or DS-2019
    • Financial information, if requested

    The passport will be stamped by the officer with the entry date and the visa status used to enter the U.S.

    After entering the U.S., students should complete the online check-in process for SEVIS registration. Immigration Services will send this information by email to each incoming student. All immigration documents should be kept in a safe place. Students admitted to the U.S. should only attend the institution whose immigration documents were used to enter the U.S.

  • Students currently in the US +
    Change of Immigration Status

    Students who are currently inside the U.S. and wish to gain a different immigration status in the U.S. have two options:

    1. Depart the U.S. and apply for the appropriate visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, and then apply for entry to the U.S. using that visa
    2. If currently inside the U.S., apply for a "Change of Status" from the U.S. government, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) without departing the U.S.

    Please email to speak with an immigration advisor regarding either of these processes.

    Transferring SEVIS record
    Students currently in the US as an F-1 or J-1 visa holder may be able to transfer the SEVIS record to UGA if:
    • the student is already in the U.S. studying at another U.S. school or
    • the student has just completed a degree at another U.S. school or
    • the student is on a period of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) from a prior degree completion

    This process is separate from the academic transfer process, and involves the transfer of the SEVIS record to UGA from the student’s previous school. After admission to UGA, students will receive an email with instructions for requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 from UGA.  The transfer form is part of this I-20 or DS-2019 request.

    Transfer-In Information Sheet

  • Orientation +

    UGA International Student Life office (ISL) ISL organizes a dynamic international student orientation each semester for new and transfer international students matriculating to the University of Georgia. The information included in the ISL orientation is not covered by any other orientation program on campus. Current UGA students serve as orientation leaders (called World Leaders) to assist with international orientation sessions.

    ISL Orientation

  • Verification of Lawful Presence +

    The Georgia State Board of Regents requires UGA to verify the lawful presence of all students prior to enrollment. International students on F-1 or J-1 visas will have their Verification of Lawful Presence (VLP) verified upon completion of online check in with Immigration Services.

    Verification of Lawful Presence Information