Applying for your I-20
All admitted students who require a visa to study in the United States must complete the following forms:
Forms should be completed and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions may be directed to the same email address.
Entering the Country
When your visa is approved you will get your passport back with the visa stamped on it, along with a sealed envelope containing your Form I-20. Please be aware that you are not allowed to come into the country until 30 days before the beginning of your program. On the plane (or mode of transportation) you will be given the I-94 card; make sure you fill it out correctly. When you arrive in the United States, a border inspector will review your documents and may interview you. After verifying that you have a valid passport, a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, and that the information contained therein corresponds with the information that the University entered into its database prior to printing the forms, the immigration officer will return to you your copy of the I-20 or DS-2019 and give you the I-94 card stamped and stapled to your passport. Do not detach it from the passport because it is easily lost. It will be removed from your passport when you leave the United States. On the other hand, your I-20 student copy or your DS-2019 is a permanent record of your legal presence in the United States. It should not be taken from you. If you intend to leave the United States temporarily (vacation periods), you must have this I-20 or DS-2019 signed by someone in the Office of Student Engagement or by your program sponsor (if applicable) in order to be readmitted to the United States.
The visa that you obtain from the embassy allows you to apply for entry into the United States. Your I-20 or DS-2019, after review at the port of entry, determines whether or not you will be admitted. If admitted, you may remain in the United States even if your visa expires. Your legal presence depends upon the validity of the I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa does expire while you are in the United States, you may remain here as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 is active, but if you leave the country, you must obtain a new visa. For more information on this, check the Admitted Students page.
After being processed through the U.S. Public Health and Naturalization Station, pick up your luggage at the baggage claim area and proceed to the U.S. Customs Inspection Station where the Federal Inspection process is completed. Here, you present the Customs Declaration form, which you filled out on the plane. Do not bring fruits, plants, or meats. Possession of these items may require additional inspection, resulting in delay.
You may bring any amount of currency, but if you are carrying more than $5,000, you will need to fill out a reporting form.
Transportation from the Airport
Most students come into the United States through Kennedy Airport in New York City. Others arrive through LaGuardia Airport in New York City or through Newark Airport in New Jersey.
Fairfield University is an hour and fifteen minutes by car from Kennedy or LaGuardia, barring heavy traffic. Newark Airport is two hours from Fairfield. There are two public means of transportation from these airports:
Connecticut Limousine travels from Kennedy, LaGuardia, and Newark Airports to Bridgeport, Connecticut. From Bridgeport, a 7-minute taxi ride, approximately $7 including tip, is available to the University campus. Contact Connecticut Limousine for current rates and fares.
Prime Time travels from Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Airports directly to the Fairfield University campus and they offer a special rate for Fairfield students. Contact Prime Time for current rates and fares. We prefer this service because it will bring you directly to campus.
You may contact either Connecticut Limousine or Prime Time at the Ground Transportation Desk in the baggage claim area of the terminal. Pick up the phone of the carrier that you choose to hire and tell the dispatcher that you would like to go to Fairfield University. He/she will give you further directions.
Although Bradley International Airport is in Hartford, Connecticut, we do not recommend that you travel there. It is farther away than New York, and transportation to the University is not as frequent and is more expensive.
If you want to take the train from New York City, take the Metro-North train (to New Haven) from Grand Central Station to the Fairfield station. At the Fairfield train station (same side you arrive on), you will find the office to Fairfield Cab. By going there you can get a taxi to bring you to campus. A one-way trip is approximately $7. Their telephone number is (203) 255-5797.
If you are coming from Boston, take the Amtrak train and connect either at New Haven or Bridgeport. From either New Haven or Bridgeport you can take a Metro-North train to the Fairfield station. You can then take Fairfield Cab to campus. If you have any questions, or need special accommodations, please contact International Student Life at (203) 254-4110, or by e-mail.
If you are coming to study in the United States for the first time, you will need to follow certain procedures in order to acquire the necessary documentation allowing you to study at Fairfield. The documents you will need are:
The passport is a document issued by your government giving you permission to travel outside of your country. It is renewed through your embassy or the nearest consul and it serves as your identity documentation in a foreign country. Make sure to keep your passport in a safe place. You should also keep a copy of your passport in a safe place in case the original becomes lost or stolen. Your embassy will be able to issue a replacement more promptly, if you can provide them with a copy of the original. In order for you to maintain your legal status in the United States, your passport must remain current at all time. For passport renewal, your embassy may need a letter verifying that you are a full-time student. You may request such a letter from the Office of International Students.
United States Visa
A visa is a document which grants you permission by the U.S. government to request entry into the United States as a non-immigrant under specific conditions. It is a multi-colored stamp in your passport issued by an American Embassy or consulate abroad. Depending upon the agreement between your home government and the United States government, you may have been issued a visa with an expiration date or possibly a multiple-entry visa.
You should prepare yourself adequately for your appointment at the Consulate or Embassy by taking with you any documents that the Consul requests. You may show whatever supporting material you have, if the interviewer asks for it. The Consular Officer will review your application and documentation in order to be certain that you are indeed a non-immigrant and that you do not intend to live in the United States permanently. The burden of proof is on you. The strongest factors taken into consideration by the Consular Officer are family ties, property, job, and other financial commitments in your home country. It is rare that a Fairfield student has had any difficulty in obtaining a visa to re-enter the United States. If you are well-prepared and truthful in your efforts, your visa will probably be issued routinely.
Once you enter the United States, you will not need your visa unless you plan to travel abroad and return to the United States.
Types of Visa
There are 65 different types of non-immigrant visas. These categories are determined based on the purpose of the foreigner's visit to the United States. Of these 65 categories, only B visas (for tourism and business), F-2 visas (dependents of F-1 students), and C visas (transit visas) are not legally allowed to enroll full-time in a degree-seeking program.
As an international student coming to the United States, you will need either F-1 student status or J-1 exchange visitor status.
The F-1 student visa permits an individual to enter the United States for full-time study at an authorized institution in the United States. To obtain F-1 status, it is necessary to present a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) to an American Embassy.
J-1 exchange visitor status permits the individual to enter the United States for study, teaching, research, or training. The individual presents a Form DS-2019 to an American Embassy abroad to obtain a J-1 visa. He/she is obligated to engage in the activities specified on the Form DS-2019 while in the United States. Students holding J-1 visas generally receive support either from the University or hold scholarships from the United States government or home government. The exchange visitor's sponsor is the organization which issues the form DS-2019, which may or may not be the agency that actually provides financial support.
A form I-20 is a government form which tells the U.S. government that you are eligible for F-1 student status. It certifies that you expect to be a "bona fide" student, meet Fairfield's admissions requirements, will pursue a full course of study, and proved to us that you will be able to support your expenses of studying and living in the United States. You need a Form I-20 to obtain an F-1 student visa, or status, or to maintain your legal status while transferring schools in the United States. You only need to obtain a Form I-20 if you wish to study on an F-1 non-immigrant status. Be aware, however, that we can only issue a Form I-20 once you have received your admission letter and the University has received your admission deposit.
Similarly to Form I-20, Form DS-2019 is a government document which certifies your eligibility to come to Fairfield University as an exchange student, professor or research scholar. This form clearly defines the parameters and conditions of your exchange program as defined by the sponsor. You need a valid DS-2019 to maintain your J-1 status in the United States. You should only obtain a Form DS-2019 if you wish to come as an exchange student, professor or scholar. A DS-2019, however, can only be obtained from Fairfield University once you have been recommended by one of our partner Universities abroad. Here is a list of Fairfield's partner schools for exchange:
Affidavit(s) of Support
To secure a student visa, you will need to submit financial documentation to show you can cover the cost of tuition for one full year. You must complete an Affidavit of Support and a supporting financial statement supporting the amounts promised on the Affidavit of Support. Bank statements are acceptable and should show at least 3 months of bank activity, or be a signed letter from a bank on official letterhead.
The I-94 card is issued at the port of entry when you travel into the United States. The card is a loose piece of paper which is stapled opposite to your U.S. visa. On this card, the officer at the port of entry gives you a "status." Status is your reason for being in the United States, and the different categories correspond to visa categories. This document determines whether you are in the country as a tourist (B-2), student (F-1), or any other status. Besides determining your status, the I-94 card determines the length of your stay in the United States. For F-1 students this will read "D/S" which means "duration of status." In other words, you will be able to stay legally in the United States as long as you maintain your status.
Traveling in the United States
Traveling within the United States is unrestricted. However, it is important for you to keep your documents with you when traveling. Since September 11th, 2001, security has heightened and you might encounter check-points at train stations or airports. Make sure you have your passport, Form I-20 or DS2019, and your Fairfield StagCard. Please notify the Office of International Students if you are planning to travel to distant destinations.
Traveling outside the United States
If you are planning on traveling outside the United States there are some things you need to keep in mind in order to make sure that you will be able to reenter the U.S. and resume your studies at Fairfield. Before going abroad you will need to make an appointment at the Office of International Students for advising.
The following documents need to be in order:
Useful Travel Links
Spring 2018 International Arrival & Orientation Information
The Office of Student Engagement, International Student Life assists all international students and scholars with visa and immigration matters as well as adjusting to life at Fairfield.
Our office is located in Barone Campus Center: Room 96, and we are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-4:30pm for submitting documents and detailed inquiries are by appointment only. You can contact us at email@example.com.
We are thrilled about your acceptance to Fairfield and are looking forward to assisting you as you prepare for your arrival on campus!Claiming Your Net ID:
Please have the following information available
-First name, Last Name
-Date of birth
-Fairfield University Student ID number
-The first five characters of your zip code or postal code on record with the University
To contact ITS send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-203-254-4069
Important Dates for Spring 2018 Arrivals:
Again, you cannot arrive any later than your I-20/DS-2019 program start date. If you have any questions or scheduling conflicts, e-mail email@example.com as soon as possible
Getting a US Visa:
Before your visa appointment, you must pay a SEVIS I-901 fee online at www.FMJfee.com. Make sure you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on your passport. Afterwards, schedule a visa interview with the US Consulate or Embassy. This interview will be conducted in English. Before the interview, complete Form DS-160 (Google “DS-160” for the form).
Be sure to bring all your documents to the interview: Form I-20 or DS-2019, passport, SEVIS I-901 fee receipt, Form DS-160, letter of admission, academic records and test scores if you’re a student or a resume if you’re a scholar; financial documents, GRE waiver letter (if applicable), and proof of compelling ties (what will prevent you from permanently moving to the US: family, property, previous US travel, etc.) to your home country.
Limited airport pickups are available for new international students. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Undergraduate Students: Please access your First-Year Student Checklist to apply for on campus housing. You will need your NetID to access the checklist. Residence Life will contact undergraduate students via their Fairfield e-mail account to confirm their rooming assignment; Contact the Office of Residence Life at email@example.com for further assistance. Undergraduate Students must visit Undergraduate Orientation to learn more about other essential information and important action items.
Graduate Students and Scholars: Fairfield University is working hard to help all graduate students find housing in the Fairfield, Connecticut area. On-campus housing is not available to graduate students at this time. We suggest you begin the process of securing housing before you arrive here at Fairfield University. We have developed a resource for graduate housing online at http://fairfield.edu/gradstudenthousing. Graduate Students should visit the Graduate Student Checklist to learn more about important action items.
Mandatory International Student Orientation:
All international students must attend International Student Orientation on Thursday, January 11, 2018, through Friday, January 12, 2018. During this time, students will review immigration benefits and responsibilities, meet their international student mentor, and participate in sessions relating to adjustments and life at Fairfield. More details about International Student Orientation registration will be sent closer to the date. Undergraduate Students must visit Undergraduate Orientation to learn more about other essential information and important action items. Graduate Students should visit the Graduate Student Checklist to learn more about important action items.
Graduate Student Holds:
All graduate students must clear their holds (anything that is missing from their application) in order to register for classes. E-mail Graduate Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org with any missing transcripts, test scores, etc. as soon as possible.
Feel free to e-mail email@example.com if you have any questions.
Phone: +1 (203) 254-4110
Fax: +1 (203) 254-5565
All documents must be:
Acceptable forms of proof of financial capability:
What is an Affidavit of Support?
An affidavit is a promissory note to the U.S. government that you will provide this student with a specific amount of money from your own financial resources for each semester the student will be enrolled at Fairfield University. You are proving with the attached documentation that you can afford such expenses. This document is a financial commitment to the student, and this commitment should not be broken. Keep in mind that the student will not be able to support the costs through employment in the United States.
Important Notes and Limitations
As a J-1 international student you are allowed to work on campus. This employment may be required by an assistantship, scholarship or fellowship. You are employable by any office of Fairfield University, faculty, or staff. Keep in mind that you may also seek employment with Sodexho (on-campus dining services), as long as you work on the Fairfield University campus. You may work part-time on campus. Part-time is defined as 20 hours or less.
Some of the places on campus seeking to hire international students are:
Recreation Complex - Ext. 4140
Sodexho - Ext. 2581
Quick Center for the Arts - Ext. 4010
Language Department (Oral Practice Session)
Library - Ext. 2188
Bookstore - Ext. 4262
Once hired, the office where you will be working needs to give you an Employment Offer Letter. You need to make an appointment at the Office of Student Engagement and present this letter. The Office of International Students will provide you with an On-Campus Work Permit.
Academic training is also an option of employment. This refers to training in the field of your academic program in the United States. Academic training before the completion of your studies is available part-time (20 hrs. or less) while school is in session and full-time during breaks and vacation periods. You may also be eligible for academic training after the completion of your program of study if you have an offer of employment letter. Academic training is limited to 18 months or the time that you were a full-time student, whichever is shorter, minus any previous Academic Training.
You must apply for academic training at the Office of Student Engagement before you start working. Information on application procedures and forms
Forms of employment, other than on-campus work, are also available to J-1 students as defined by their exchange program. If a specific form of employment is within the program description, then you are eligible for that employment without further documentation. Keep in mind that you may only be employable by your sponsor institution or a sponsor's designee. In these cases check with the Office of Student Engagement ts to make sure that you are eligible for employment.