Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Immigration Support
  1. Do I need an I-20? [top]


    You need a form I-20 to study in a full-time program in the U.S. Before you can apply for an F-1 student visa, you must qualify for an I-20.

    The I-20 (also called a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimigrant Student Status) is an official nonimmigrant document issued by UCR IEP to a student who has been accepted into a full-time program of study (18+ hours of instruction per week for language programs and 12+ units of enrollment for academic programs). All of our programs are full-time, except Conversation and American Culture and certain custom programs.


    If you are outside the U.S., you must apply for an F-1 (student) visa at your local U.S. embassy or consulate after you receive the I-20.


    Funding Requirements

    Before we can issue an I-20 to you, you must provide financial documentation showing you have sufficient funding for your program fees and estimated living expenses while you study in the U.S.


    Acceptable Types of Documents:

    • Bank Statement - must list full name of account holder.
    • Letter from financial institution - must list the full name of the account holder, and contain an official signature, stamp or seal.
    • Proof of scholarship or government sponsorship - must list full name of student, be on letterhead, and contain an official signature, stamp or seal.


    All Documents:

    • Must be dated within the past 6 months.
    • Must state required information in English (name, date, funding amount) or be accompanied by an English translation.
    • Must state currency used.


    Applicants who are not self-sponsored or government-sponsored must also submit a Statement of Financial Support endorsed by their sponsor. The Statement of Financial Support is valid for 6 months from the date of signature. 


    English Language Programs 2017-18 I-20 Required Amounts
    4-week English Program $3,800
    6-week English Program $5,700
    8-week English Program (summer only) $8,200
    10-week English $8,200


    Pathways to UCR 2017-18 I-20 Required Amounts
    9-month Admission Preparation Program (APP) $41,600
    10-week International Transfer Track (ITT) $8,200
    12-week University Credit Program (UCP) $11,100


    Certificate, Diploma and
    Master's Pathways
    2017-18 I-20 Required Amounts

    9-month Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) Program

    • Business Management
    • Tourism & Hospitality Management
    • Sports Management
    • Engineering Management
    • Bioengineering Management
    • Public Policy International Relations

    12-month Postgraduate Diploma Program

    • Entertainment Media Management
    12-week Postgraduate Certificate Program (PGCM) $12,100(2017)/$12,200(2018)
    15-Unit Professional Certificate in TESOL $11,800
    28-Unit Advanced Professional Certificate in TESOL $23,200


    Processing Times

    The IEP office normally processes applications within one week from the date all required information has been received by IEP. Your I-20 and acceptance materials will be sent by FedEx express mail and will take approximately 3-5 days for delivery.

    More questions? Contact UCR IEP Immigration Advising


  2. How can I get an I-20? [top]

    You must be accepted into one of our full-time programs, and you must show proof of sufficient funding. You can find a list of programs and the minimum amounts of funding here.

    Once your I-20 has been issued, our office usually sends it via FedEx Express mail. There is no additional cost for mailing.

  3. What if I am already in the U.S. studying at another U.S. school and I want to transfer to UCR IEP? [top]

    If you are currently studying in the U.S. at another SEVIS-approved school, you may be able to request a transfer to UCR IEP. However, there are requirements you must meet to qualify for a transfer.

    If you are currently enrolled in a full-time program in the U.S. at another school, you may be eligible to transfer.

    Transfer students must apply for a transfer I-20 from UCR IEP's Immigration Advising Office by completing an application and showing sufficient funding.

    For more information, or to speak to an advisor regarding the transfer process, contact an IEP Immigration Advisor.

  4. I would like my spouse and/or child to accompany me while I study in the U.S. Can they come with me? If so, what do I need to do? [top]

    Your spouse and/or child(ren) are allowed to accompany you while you study in the U.S. Each dependent will need an I-20 and an F-2 visa.

    If you have a spouse and/or children and you want any of them to accompany you to the U.S. during your program of study, you need to show proof of funding to cover their expenses. Add the appropriate amounts from the chart below, to the program amount you chose above for the total amount of funding you must show.

    Dependent Expenses (only calculate for those coming to the U.S., if any)
    Spouse $500 per month of your initial program.
    Each Child $250 per month of your initial program.

    Each dependent (spouse or child) will need a Dependent I-20, and will need to apply for an F-2 (dependent) visa. A dependent who enters the U.S. in F-2 status cannot study full-time and cannot work.

  5. I received my I-20. What do I need to do next? [top]

    Contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate to find out how you can apply for an F-1 (student) visa. You will need your I-20, as well as other documentation.

    While we can provide general information on the F-1 visa process, each U.S. consulate is different, so make sure you check with your country's consulate for specifics about deadlines, required documentation, and the application process.


    You must have a valid passport to apply for an F-1 (student) visa, and to travel into the U.S. Your passport must be valid for at least six months in advance of your expected departure from the U.S.


    Once you have an I-20 form (Certificate of Student Eligibility) issued by UCR IEP, you must apply for an F-1 (student) visa at the nearest U.S. consulate. To apply for an F-1 (student) visa, you will need (at a minimum):

    • Complete visa application
    • Acceptance letter
    • Original I-20
    • Original bank letter or statement (to match what you sent to UCR IEP for your I-20)
    • Passport
    • Proof of sufficient ties to your home country (this varies by consulate)

    Note that EACH consulate may have different required documentation. Contact your consulate for a complete list of items.

    Some U.S. consulates may require an appointment. Often U.S. consulate appointments can take weeks or months to acquire. Make sure you allow enough time to apply for your F-1 visa before your program begins.

  6. Can I work while I am in the U.S. on an F-1 (student) visa? [top]

    The purpose of an F-1 visa is to study, not work. Full-time work is not allowed while you are enrolled full-time and studying on an F-1 visa.


    If you are enrolled in a yearlong certificate or diploma program, you may be eligible to apply for a benefit called Optional Practical Training (OPT) once you have successfully completed your program. English language programs are not eligible for this benefit.


    An F-1 student who has successfully completed a full-time, yearlong professional certificate or diploma program through UCR IEP can add valuable U.S. work experience through OPT.


    The benefits of OPT include:

    • Acquiring skill sets vital to your career path
    • Continuing to use and refine your English skills
    • Seeking full-time employment at a company in your field of study
    • Enjoying financial rewards
    • Networking with local employers and professionals
    • Working anywhere in the U.S.
    • Enriching future academic pursuits in graduate or professional schools (e.g., MBA)


    OPT is your opportunity to work in a full-time salaried position for up to one year on your F-1 (student) visa.


    OPT Application Process

    UCR IEP does not grant work authorization. Optional Practical Training (OPT) is only granted by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).

    Find out more about whether you are eligible for OPT and how to apply by attending an information session that is regularly offered by the IEP Immigration Advising staff. You will learn about:

    • Application procedures
    • Deadlines
    • USCIS requirements while on OPT

    You should attend an information session several months before your expected completion date. You will need to plan to apply for OPT early in your final quarter of academic study.


    Working in the U.S. on OPT

    Students can expand and enhance their experience in the U.S. by applying for, and being approved for, OPT. Once approved by USCIS for OPT, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card. It's important you do not lose or destroy your EAD card. You must keep it with you and you must be able to show it to your employer and to the Social Security Office for the duration of your OPT period.


    Interested in learning more about OPT? Attend an information session or contact the Immigration Advising office.


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