Union Institute and University

International Student Services

International Student Overview

Most international students enter the United States on an F-1 student visa. F-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas that are granted to applicants who want to pursue a full course of academic study at a U.S. college or university. All nonimmigrant students who apply for an F-1 visa must have an I-20 to present to the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Union Institute & University may issue an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) to international students who have been admitted to UI&U and have shown proof of sufficient financial support to cover all anticipated expenses for each on-ground residency and during the entire length of their chosen degree program at UI&U.

More information about the Student Exchange & Visitor Program (SEVP) and F-1 visa requirements is available at the Student Exchange & Visitor (SEVP) Program website.

Full Course Load Requirement

International students in the U.S. on F-1 student visas are required to be enrolled on a full-time basis for the duration of their degree programs. Prior authorization is needed for enrolling in less than a full course of study.

International F-1 students enrolled at Union Institute & University may enter the U.S. up to 30 days before classes or residencies begin and remain in the U.S. up to 60 days after their residencies or courses are completed.

Form I-20

A Form I-20 is a U.S. government form on which Union Institute & University certifies to the U.S. government that a student is eligible to receive an F-1 visa. It certifies that the student:

  1. Is going to be an enrolled, full-time student pursuing a degree—Master of Arts with a Major in Clinical Mental Health Psychology, Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Interdisciplinary Studies.
  2. Has satisfied all admission requirements and has been admitted to Union Institute & University.
  3. Has demonstrated sufficient financial support for current and future residencies—for the full length or duration of the chosen degree program.

F-1 Student Visa Requirements

Applicants for F-1 visas who wish to attend UI&U need to satisfy several strict criteria. They:

  1. Must have a foreign residence and must intend to return there upon completion of their studies;
  2. Can study only at the academic institution through which the I-20 was issued;
  3. Must have sufficient financial support for the length of each residency and for the full length of their degree program;
  4. Must have strong ties to their home country (e.g., job offer letter upon completion of studies, assets, bank accounts, and family).
  5. Spouses and minor children of F-1 students should obtain F-2 visa status; they are not authorized to work in the U.S.

Applying for a Visa

To apply for a student visa to attend Union Institute & University, you will need to take your letter of admission from Union Institute & University, the Form I-20 issued by UI&U, the SEVIS fee payment receipt, original copies of your financial support documents, passport, and other supporting materials (as needed) to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. You should make this visit as soon as possible. Changes in U.S. visa laws and regulations have increased the amount of time required to get a visa. Processing times will vary. Please contact your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a current time estimate and planning recommendations.

The consular officer will place all your immigration documents into an envelope and seal it. DO NOT OPEN THIS ENVELOPE. The U.S. Customs & Border Patrol officer will open the envelope when you arrive in the U.S.

Visa Waiver Countries

Residents of countries that have visa waiver agreements with the U.S. are required to obtain F-1 student visas in order to study in the U.S. and attend UI&U. Visa waiver countries include: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding I-20 Issuance

These questions are designed to provide guidance on the most commonly asked questions submitted by students in the process of obtaining a Form I-20.

  1. Can my I-20 be issued for the duration of my program of study instead of each residency period?

    No. Strict regulations govern the issuance of I-20 forms for distance and low-residency degree programs. Your I-20 can be issued only for those periods during which you will be required to be physically present in the U.S. F-1 students enrolled in a doctoral program at UI&U will be out of the country for more than five (5) months. Therefore, each time you need to attend a residency at UI&U, you will need to be issued a new I-20 form and pay a $200 SEVIS fee. (See SEVIS Fee Information for Students.) You will also need to apply for and receive a new F-1 visa for each residency.

  2. Can I find out the status (i.e., has it been sent? If not, why?) of issuing my I-20 form?

    Yes. You will receive periodic updates on the status of your I-20 via e-mail. Upon admission to UI&U, you will receive an e-mail from us indicating what documents, if any, are missing. Each time additional documents are received, you will receive an update on the status of your I-20. When your I-20 is issued, you will receive an e-mail indicating that your I-20 has been mailed and the address to which it was mailed. You can also request an update on the status of your I-20 by sending an e-mail to international.students@myunion.edu.

  3. Do I have to submit the Financial Certification Form by a certain date?

    No. No deadline applies for submitting financial certification forms to UI&U. However, you will not be issued an I-20 until all financial certification documentation is received in proper form. Keep in mind that obtaining a visa may take several months, and you will need your I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa.

  4. If something is not right with the financial certification documents I submit, will UI&U contact me?

    Yes. Anytime a student submits incomplete or inadequate financial certification documents, UI&U International Student Services will send an e-mail (if available) to the student explaining the problem(s).

  5. Does Union Institute & University award financial support to international students?

    No. UI&U does not award financial support to international students.

  6. Do I have to submit my financial certification documents in U.S. dollar equivalency?

    Yes. Any document you submit indicating a foreign currency should contain the U.S. dollar equivalency. Submitting documents in a foreign currency, such as RMB, Rupees, or Euros, is acceptable with U.S. dollar equivalency.

  7. Can I submit copies of my documents to UI&U International Student Services and keep the originals? I need to have my original financial documents to apply for the F-1 student visa.

    Yes, provided that the original financial documents are scanned and e-mailed to UI&U International Student Services at international.students@myunion.edu. Documents should be scanned to PDF files (not JPEG, RAR, etc.), and all documents should be scanned as one PDF file. The name of the student should appear in the title of the PDF file. You will need the original documents to apply for the F-1 student visa. Financial documents must be submitted in English or have an English translation attached.

  8. Must the Financial Certification Form and Affidavit of Sponsorship be notarized?

    Yes. Any financial certification (Affidavit of Sponsorship) made by a sponsor must have a notary seal affixed to the sponsor’s signature, or the form will not be accepted. A notary seal is an official stamp certifying that the person signing the form is the sponsor. A notary seal can be obtained in any country, although the formal name may not be a notary. Lawyers, bankers, police officers, and other government officials typically have the authority to make such certifications. In some countries (especially China), such officials may not stamp or seal the UI&U Financial Certification Form because it is written in English. In such instances, sending an appropriate form from your home country with the appropriate seals instead of on the UI&U Financial Certification Form is acceptable. The student’s signature does not have to be notarized.

  9. Can I be issued an I-20 based on providing evidence of financial support for one year of study?

    No. All students must provide evidence of financial support for all years of study needed to complete a degree (Master’s – 3 years; Doctorate – 5 years). Funds for the first year of study must be documented and available. Funds for subsequent years of study must be attainable and demonstrated by income from employment or investments—typically when a sponsor (family or friend) is involved. If using personal funds (money that appears on documents in your name, such as bank and/or investment account statements, for any part of support, the student must have the personal funds for all years of study. Personal funds cannot be earned; the student either has the funds available or does not have them available.

  10. Will UI&U International Student Services tell me when my I-20 was issued?

    Yes. We will send an e-mail (if e-mail is available) when your I-20 is mailed. We will also tell you to which address it was mailed.

  11. Can my I-20 be sent to me by express mail?

    Yes. Your I-20 will be mailed by express mail. Regular mail to international locations often takes 4 to 6 weeks.

  12. I want to bring my spouse and children to the U.S. with me.  What do I need to do?

    You need to show an additional $400 per month for a spouse and $175 a month for each child. These amounts are in addition to what you need to show to meet your own living and educational expenses. We will also need to know the name, date of birth, city and country of birth, and country of citizenship for each dependent. See UI&U Financial Certification Form and Instructions for Completing the UI&U Financial Certification Form.

Contact international.students@myunion.edu for additional information or questions.