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International Student Services


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Obtain a Visa

After you have been admitted to USC, you will need to apply for a student visa. International Student Services will contact you after your admission to help you with this process. Most of our international students come to USC on an F-1 or J-1 student visa. Our office will need to create an immigration document for you so that you can apply for the appropriate visa.

The Immigration Document

When you are first admitted to USC, International Student Services will send an email to the email address you provided on your application to the University. We will request several documents from you in order to process your initial immigration document (I-20 or DS-2019). The documents we will need from you are...

  • A scan of the biographical section of your passport: We will use this to verify the spelling of your name, your date of birth, and your country of citizenship and birth. Please make sure that you email a clear scan of the photo-page of your passport to us so that we can ensure the accuracy of the information on your immigration document.
  • The Application for Immigration Document (located in our Forms Library): All international students must complete this form, even if you are attending another school in the U.S. This document lets us know a little more about you. When you complete this form, make sure you list a permanent address that is not in the United States. We cannot issue an immigration document for you if you only list a local U.S. address.
  • Financial Documentation for 9 Months of Study: To comply with federal immigration regulations, you are required to document that you have the financial capability to study in the United States for the first year of your program. Tuition, fees, and living expenses for 9 months of study (your first two semesters at USC) may vary from program to program. If you are unsure of the amount you need to provide, please email iss@sc.edu and we will be happy to help you with this estimate.

Transfer Students

If you are already here in the United States attending another institution on an active SEVIS record, you will need to have your SEVIS record transferred to the University of South Carolina before we can issue an updated I-20/DS-2019 for you. Please speak with an international student advisor at your current school about the transfer process. If you need USC's school code, please email iss@sc.edu.

Change of Visa Status

If you currently have a U.S. visa, but you need to change to the F-1 student visa status, you need to either apply for a change of visa status in the U.S. or travel and obtain a visa at a U.S. consulate. It is typically much faster for you to leave the U.S. to apply for a new visa, but we understand that this is not always the best option for students. For those who need to stay within the United States to change their visa status, International Student Services will create your initial I-20 so you can submit a change of status application. For information about applying for a change of status, please see the change of status section of the ISS website. Processing times often take several months--don't delay!