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Visas

In order to register as students, Stanford University requires that all those who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. registered permanent residents must obtain and maintain an appropriate visa status for their stay in the United States. The types of student visas sponsored by Stanford include the following:

  1. Student Visa (F-1), obtained with an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility issued by Stanford University. The graduate student on an F-1 visa must enroll in a full course of study. The accompanying spouse or child enters on an F-2 visa. F-2 visa holders may not hold employment or engage in business under any circumstances. The F-2 spouse of an F-1 student may not engage in full-time study, and the F-2 child may only engage if the study is in an elementary or secondary school (kindergarten through twelfth grade). The F-2 spouse and child may engage in study that is avocational or recreational in nature.
  2. Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1), obtained with a DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility issued by Stanford University or a sponsoring agency. This visa is required for graduate students sponsored by certain agencies, foundations, and governments. In some cases, exchange visitors must leave the United States at the conclusion of their programs, may not change to non-student visa status, and may not apply for permanent residency in the United States until they have returned to their home countries for at least two years. The accompanying spouse or child of an exchange visitor enters on a J-2 visa and may, in some cases, obtain permission to work. J-2 dependents can apply for an Employment Authorization document from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in order to be employed in the U.S. There is no regulatory restriction on study for J-2 dependents.

The Certificate of Eligibility (I-20/DS-2019) is issued to an admitted student after receipt of certification of adequate financial support. An F-1 student transferring from another U.S. school must obtain a new I-20 document from Stanford and complete a transfer process at the Bechtel International Center no later than 15 days after the effective date of the transfer. A J-1 student transferring from another U.S. school must obtain a new DS-2019 document from Stanford and complete a transfer process at the Bechtel International Center no later than 30 days after the effective date of the transfer.

Information on visas is sent to admitted graduate students in the Welcome to Stanford guide, mailed by Graduate Admissions, Office of the University Registrar. Information on visas for postdoctoral scholars and visiting researchers is available at the Bechtel International Center web site http://stanford.edu/dept/icenter.

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