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Visas and Immigration

If you have requested visa documentation from Johns Hopkins, you are provided separate immigration documents for yourself and for any eligible dependents who will accompany you.  Most students are given an I-20, which is used to obtain an F-1 (primary) or F-2 (dependent) student visa.  A few students, primarily those on academic exchanges or who are government sponsored, will receive a DS-2019, which is used for a J-1 (primary) or J-2 (dependent) exchange visitor visa. 

This section includes general information on the visa application procedure, but since processes vary in different U.S. consulates, you should go to the specific consulate’s website for details. 

Review your I-20/DS-2019 Form(s) Be sure your name, other identifying information, level of study and academic program are correct.  (Note that the names of academic programs on visa forms are standard and may not match the exact name used at Johns Hopkins.)  If you find any discrepancies, contact OISSS immediately so we can make any necessary corrections.

 Your Name on Immigration Documents

The format of your name on your immigration documentation is guided by U.S. government rules.  We use your passport as the primary document, particularly in defining family/last, given/first and middle names.   We cannot use hyphens and non-English characters such as ñ, ĭ, and ß.   If you  have only one name, it is listed as your family name, even if it is actually a given name, and we enter FNU (First Name Unknown) in the first name field.  If the name on your I-20 or DS-2019 seems incorrect, before you contact us see if any of the above rules apply. 

It is important that you enter your name on all U.S. government forms exactly as on your I-20/DS-2019.  Be aware of spaces as Joon Soo and Joonsoo are not recognized as the same, although capitalization is not critical.  Consistency avoids many problems.  

SEVIS Fee.  In addition to other visa fees, you will need to pay a SEVIS fee prior to your visa application.  The fee for an F-1 is $200; the J-1 fee is $180. Click here for additional information.   The SEVIS fee is required only for the principal student and does not apply to dependents.

Visa Appointments and Wait Times.  Although students and exchange visitors are given priority in obtaining visa appointments, there still can be a long waitlist and early application is recommended.  You may apply as soon as you have received your I-20/DS-2019; however you will not receive a visa more than 120 days before the reporting date on your immigration form.  Information on visa wait times is available here.

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are not required to obtain visas but must provide proof of payment of the SEVIS fee and present the I-20/DS-2019 form along with appropriate financial documentation for entry into the U.S. 

Entering the U.S.  You may enter the U.S. no earlier 30 days prior to the reporting date on your form.   If you attempt to enter earlier, you may be denied entry at the border.  Please be aware that you will need to show the original I-20/DS-2019 form at the U.S. border, so keep it with you in your carry-on luggage.  You will not have the opportunity to get anything from checked baggage until after you have cleared immigration inspection.

Validating Your Arrival in the U.S.  You must report to OISSS upon your arrival so we can verify your status with U.S. immigration authorities.  Failure to do so could result in your loss of a legal immigration status.  You will receive a message from OISSS just prior to the semester which will outline the necessary process.

Delayed Arrivals.  You are expected to arrive not later than a few days after the reporting date on the I-20/DS-2019.  If you are delayed beyond the beginning of classes for the semester for which you have been admitted, you must contact the appropriate JHU admissions office to inquire about options, including deferring admission for future semesters.

Use of a Visitor’s Visa or Visa Waiver.  Your activities at JHU require you to enter on a student or exchange visitor visa.  Use of a B visitor’s visa or entering under a visa waiver program would be considered an immigration violation.

Students Who Are Transferring from Another U.S. School.  If you are already in the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, you will need to arrange to have your SEVIS record transferred to Johns Hopkins.  F-1 students will find a transfer form on the OISSS website.  J-1 students should contact the office for transfer information, as not all J-1 students are eligible for transfer.  Please be aware that Johns Hopkins cannot produce your transfer I-20 or DS-2019 until you have been released by your prior school or program sponsor.

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