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Qualifying for F-1 Status

Nonimmigrant Status

F-1 status is a nonimmigrant classification, which means that any F-1 student must demonstrate to the U.S. government that he or she does not intend to reside in the U.S. on a permanent basis.



Requesting the I-20

After being admitted to the University, students are asked to provide a Form I-20/Form DS-2019 Request packet to request either F-1 or J-1 status.

The ISO will only issue Form I-20 for F-1 status once it confirms the following:

  1. The student has proficiency in the English language according to University standards;
  2. The student demonstrates that he or she has funding to cover the cost of attending UVa; and
  3. All elements of the student's application for admission are present and authentic.

Citizens of countries with an official language of English are not required to demonstrate English language proficiency. Proficiency in the English language is most often demonstrated through standardized testing.

Obtaining F-1 Status

Receiving the I-20 in hand does not in itself confer F-1 status.  Once an international student receives Form I-20 he or she may apply for an F-1 visa stamp. If residing in the U.S. in an eligible nonimmigrant status, a student may also change status in the U.S.


Complete instuctions for new students who wish to obtain a visa document are available at