Office of International Students and Scholars

Welcome to the University of Rhode Island Community

Obtaining An I-20 and/or DS-2019

After receiving your I-20 and/or DS-2019 follow the steps listed below:

  • Read and confirm the information appearing on the I-20 or DS-2019 forms.  If you find errors, e-mail the OISS ( and request that we send you a new document before going to your appointment.
  • Sign and date the form, at the bottom of page 1.  Read page 2 (DHS instruction page). This page explains your legal responsibilities as a F-1 or J-1 recipient.
  • Request a visa interview after paying the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Examine your passport before going to your visa appointment. The passport must be valid for, at least, six months into the future.

To find the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consular Post that has jurisdiction over your visa application, visit American Consulate to find the nearest US Embassy/Consulate.

The Visa Interview:

  • The appointment will be in English, not in your native language.
    • Be prepared to demonstrate that you are entering the US with the sole intent of obtaining a degree or participating in training.
    • Be prepared to demonstrate that you have strong ties in your home country, and that you intend to return home.
  • Do not enter the US on a B-1/B-2 visa with the expectation to change to an F-1 or J-1 once in the U.S.

Documents you must take to the Visa Interview:

  • Two passport-size photos
  • I-20 or DS-2019 from URI
  • Receipt of I-901 payment
  • Letter of admission to URI (students only
  • Letter of invitation and/or employment (if a scholar, professor or student intern)
  • URI Award Letter of Assistantship (students with assistantships only)
  • Financial sponsorship letter (when sponsored by U.S. government agency, own government, other agency)
  • Bank statement in your name, letters of credit, proof of anticipated assets if your support is from personal and/or family funds

Documents required at the point of entry (airport, border):

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Letter of academic admission or invitation
  • Proof of financial responsibility

Upon arrival, a US Customs and Border Protection Officer will review all your documents and ask you specific questions regarding your stay in the US.

  • Your passport will be stamped with the notation F-1/J-1 D/S (duration of stay).
  • Your two index fingers will be scanned by an inkless device and a photograph of your face will be taken.
  • Students from Canada or Bermuda do not need to get a visa stamp in their passports. However, these students MUST pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, NO LATER THAN three days prior to their departure and have a printed copy of their payment receipt available for the Port of Entry Officer.

Please Note: Do not attempt to enter the US more than 30 days prior to the beginning date noted on the I-20 form or the DS-2019 forms.

Arrival at URI:

Report to the Office of International Student and Scholars within 10 days of your arrival in the United States. Bring your passport and your I-20 or DS-2019 (proof of health insurance for J-1 visa) when making your first visit. The OISS MUST report your arrival to the Department of Homeland Security.

Please Note: Failure to report to the OISS could lead to the termination of the F-1 or J-1 visa status for you and your dependents.

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