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Visas, Travel, and Arrival

New students fall into several categories and have different needs when it comes to visa status:

Overseas Students

If you are currently overseas without a student visa, then the Office of International Affairs will provide you with an I-20 form (F-1 visa students) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa students) along with your letter of admission. Please click here for details on the F-1 or J-1 visa application process.

Transfer Students

If you already hold an I-20 from another U.S. institution, then you are considered a transfer student for immigration purposes. Most likely, your SEVIS record will be transferred to IUPUI from your previous school so that we can issue a new I-20 form for you. Please make sure to read our Guidelines for Transferring Your I-20 to learn about the transfer process, and to make sure that you are eligible for transfer. When you are positive that you are eligible for transfer, please read our Transfer Procedures for information on beginning the process.

Applying for a Change to F-1 Status

It is not always necessary to hold F-1 or J-1 student visa status in order to study. Most visa statuses allow you to study “incidentally”. This means that as long as you are maintaining your original visa status, and doing all that is required of that visa status, you can also study while you are in the U.S.

Students Required to Change Visa Status:

There are two visa statuses that do not allow incidental study. They are the F-2 visa (dependent of F-1) and B1/B2 Visitors. In addition, anyone in the United States on the Visa Waiver program cannot study. If you are in F-2 or B1/B2 status, you must obtain a valid student visa status before enrolling in a program of study. (There are some exceptions for students wishing to take only part-time recreational or avocational courses. Please consult with an International Student Advisor before enrolling.) Information about changing to student visa status is available here (link to change of status page). It is also possible to change your status by leaving the U.S. and applying for a new visa overseas. An International Student Advisor can assist you in evaluating your options.

Students Who May Study in Current Non-Immigrant Status:

If you do not fall into the category described above, then you may study while in your current visa status. If your visa status will be expiring in the near future, please make an appointment with an International Student Advisor to discuss your options for changing to student visa status. In addition, if you have been awarded an assistantship and your current visa status does not allow you to legally be employed on the IUPUI campus, you will need to change to a student visa status before beginning your employment.

Visas for Spouses and Dependents

We can provide you with the required certificates of eligibility for your immediate family members (spouses and children) to obtain a visa to join you in the U.S. You must provide documents showing the amount and source of financial support for your dependents before the appropriate visa can be issued. The amount of financial support required is listed on the Financial Information for International Students form.

If your spouse or dependent is interested in studying in the U.S. at IUPUI or elsewhere, he/she should bring complete original academic records to be evaluated. F-2 dependents must change their status to F-1 if they wish to pursue degree studies.

More about requesting visa documents for dependents...

Travel to Indianapolis

Make sure to read the Pre-Arrival Checklist that is appropriate for you:

Pre-Arrival Checklist for Overseas Students
Pre-Arrival Checklist for Transfers Within the U.S.

Other useful information includes:

Entering the U.S.: What you Need to Know