Entering International Students
Download F-1 and J-1 Visa Status Comparison
Welcome to Princeton Seminary! The Office of Multicultural Relations is responsible for assisting you with obtaining the necessary documents for your visa and entry into the United States. We are your primary resource for all immigration information during your enrollment andcourse of study at the Seminary. As you prepare accordingly to travel, please take note of the following resources by clicking here.
Once we receive and review all of your completed enrollment documents and visa forms, including requested financial documentation, we will prepare a form I-20 for F-1 students, or a DS-2019 for J-1 students.
The Application for a Visa Certificate (AVC) form needs to be completed and submitted by April 21. We will begin processing forms I-20 or forms DS-2019 when all required visa and financial documentation is received by our office. The AVC’s are processed in the order they are received. Completion of your visa documents may take up to three weeks during peak season. It is recommended that you wait to receive your visa documents before scheduling a visa interview with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy.
The most commonly used visa by international students in the United States is the F-1 student visa. All students are eligible for an F-1 visa as long as they have been admitted, have accepted the terms of their admission, and can submit financial funding documentation for their first year of study.
All non-degree students and non-degree exchange program students will be issued a J-1 U.S. visa since this program category falls under the J-1 program regulations. To be eligible for the J-1 visa, you must meet the above criteria, plus secure at least a substantial amount (51%) of your funding from other sources other than personal, family, and friends. You must also provide funding that is guaranteed for the length of your program. Funds other than personal funds may include a single source or any combination of the following:
- Fellowship from an external funding source
- Funding from the U.S. government
- Home country government
- International organization
- Corporate sponsor
If you meet the above funding criteria for the J-1 visa and you wish to be eligible for that option, then you must submit the completed DS-2019 form, along with your AVC, and all required documentation to the Office of Multicultural Relations. You will automatically receive the form I-20 for the F-1 visa if you do not submit the DS-2019 form. Before requesting the DS-2019 form, carefully read the comparison between the F-1 and J-1 visa categories document below.