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Visa Information

As a foreign national, you will need to obtain a temporary immigration visa from the United States in order to be allowed entry to the country. The two most common types of visas for students attending the University of Colorado Boulder are the F-1 student visa and the J-1 exchange visitor visa.

In order to acquire either of these visas, it is necessary to have an appointment with a visa official at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. You are required to pay the U.S. government SEVIS fee to make this appointment, and to bring your application materials, admission offer, passport and immigration documents issued by the university (described below) to the appointment. It is best to try to receive this visa as soon as possible after your admission. 

More detailed instructions on how to apply for your visa will be sent to you upon admission to CU-Boulder, along with your admission offer.

F-1 Student Visas

The F-1 student visa is used by most students.

If you are admitted, and after we receive proof of funding for your studies and proof of your English proficiency, the CU-Boulder Office of Admissions will send you a Form I-20.

Information from the I-20 will allow you to pay the U.S. government SEVIS fee (online) and thus to make a visa appointment at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. In addition to your application materials, passport and admission offer, you’ll need to bring this I-20 to your visa appointment. Both the F-1 student visa (stamped into your passport if approved) and the I-20 Form are necessary to enter the US.  

If you are an F-1 student already studying in the United States, you must complete the F-1 immigration transfer form and arrange to have your current F-1 immigration record transferred to us before your “transfer pending” I-20 can be issued. A link to this form is included in your formal admission email.

F-1 Immigration Transfer Process

This pertains only to F-1 students currently attending a US school or college in the United States.  The immigration transfer process is an electronic F-1 record transfer from your current school to the University of Colorado Boulder. 

  1.  You must be eligible for an academic I-20 from CU-Boulder.  This means that you have applied, been admitted to, and have confirmed your intent to enroll. 
  2. You must complete the Section 1 of the CU-Boulder F-1 immigration form and email it to the Designated School Official (DSO)/International Student Advisor (ISA) at your current school (other than CU-Boulder). 
  3. You and the DSO/ISA at your current school must agree on a SEVIS release date.  This is the date that the DSO/ISA at your current school will transfer your electronic record to CU-Boulder.  The date may not be until classes are over for the semester, or even after graduation (if you are finishing a degree at your current school). 
  4. The DSO/ISA at your current school must complete the rest of the form and fax or email it to us.  Information on how to complete this form is on the form itself.
  5. If we receive this form ahead of your SEVIS release date, we will email you just before that day to inquire about delivery methods. We will also email you if we do not receive the completed form but see your name on our list of students transferring in.
  6. On the SEVIS release date, your record will appear in our Transfer In list in the SEVIS database.  We can issue the transfer-pending I-20 only on or after this date, but not before the date. 
  7. If your record does not appear on or after the SEVIS release date, we will ask you to check with the DSO/ISA at your current school to make sure that your record was released to the University of Colorado – Boulder.  Sometimes it is mistakenly transferred to the International English Center at CU-Boulder.
  8. On the SEVIS release date, and if your record appears in our Transfer In list, we will issue a transfer-pending I-20.
  9. If your current F-1 visa is not expiring, you can travel in and out of the US with that visa and your transfer pending I-20 from CU-Boulder.
  10. If your current F-1 visa is expiring, you can use the CU-Boulder transfer pending I-20 to apply for a new visa without having to repay the SEVIS fee (other visa fees may still apply).
  11. If you are not leaving the US before starting your CU-Boulder program this semester, it may be easiest for us to hold on to your I-20 until you arrive in Boulder.  You can pick up your transfer pending I-20 from our front desk in Regent Hall room 125.
  12. When you arrive on the CU-Boulder campus you must check in with International Student and Scholar Services.  Visit the ISSS Admitted/New Students website for details.

If any of these steps or items are missing, we cannot begin the immigration transfer process or issue a CU-Boulder transfer-pending I-20.

J-1 Student Visas

The J-1 exchange visitor (student category) visa is designed for certain non-privately sponsored students, such as those whose funding comes from their government.

If you are admitted, CU-Boulder's International Student and Scholars Services (ISSS) office or your sponsoring organization will send you the form necessary to obtain this visa, the DS-2019.

Information from the DS-2019 will allow you to pay the U.S. government SEVIS fee (online) and thus to make a visa appointment at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. In addition to your application materials, passport and admission offer, you’ll need to bring this DS-2019 to your visa appointment. Both the J-1 student visa (stamped into your passport if approved) and the DS-2019 Form are necessary to enter the US.

J-1 Immigration Transfer Process

If you are currently in J-1 status at another US school and you will be transferring to CU Boulder in J-1 status, please contact International Student and Scholar Services at adviser@colorado.edu with any questions.  You must complete the top part of the CU-Boulder J-1 immigration form and email it to the International Student Advisor or Alternate Responsible Office/Responsible Officer at your current school (other than CU-Boulder).

Other Visa Types

Sometimes those here on other visa types (or who have come as dependents on another person’s visa) are permitted to study full time at the university. These might include I-2s, L-2s, and E-2s, among others. If you have one of these visas already, please indicate such on your admission application.

U.S. Immigration law prohibits any full-time study for students who enter the U. S. on the visa waiver program or on B1/B2 tourist visas. If you’re here already and unsure of your visa type or immigration status, please indicate “Other” as your US citizenship on the CU-Boulder admission application.