Understanding F-1 & J-1 Status

In order for international students to study at USC, they need to have a valid non-immigrant visa status. Most international students admitted to USC obtain F-1 or J-1 visas. However, it is possible to study in the United States with certain dependent visa categories. 

The Student Exchange Visitors Programs (SEVP) provides a table of which non-immigrant visa types are able to participate in part-time or full-time studies in the U.S. SEVP oversees the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS).

F-1 Student Visa & I-20

The F-1 visa is the most common student visa and is issued to full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program at a U.S. institution. In order to apply for the F-1 visa, students must first receive their USC I-20 from the Graduate Admissions (GA) Office. The I-20 is a three-page form with a USC official's signature on pages 1 and 3.  

Please note that all questions related to the issuing of your USC I-20 should be directed to GA, which is separate from OIS.  Please email I-20 issuance questions to GA at usci20@usc.edu.

J-1 Student Visa & DS-2019

The J-1 student visa is an exchange visitor visa issued to students at all academic levels.

In order to apply for the J-1 student visa, students must first receive their DS-2019 from the Graduate Admissions (GA) office. The DS-2019 is a two-page form with a USC official's signature on page 1. Please email DS-2019 issuance questions to GA at usci20@usc.edu.

F-2 and J-2 Dependents

Students who plan to have dependents accompany them during their studies must request dependent I-20/DS-2019 to GA. Guidelines on requesting for dependent I-20/DS-2019 are available here.