U.S. Immigration Procedures

After you are admitted to LSU, there are a number of steps to receive the appropriate documents that you need to Study in the States and become an LSU Tiger.

For international students who need to apply for the F-1 or J-1 student visas, there are deadlines for processing Initial I-20 or DS-2019 forms that are needed for visa applications. For LSU admissions applications that do not have a decision made before the following deadlines, no initial I-20s or DS-2019s will be issued.

Semester I-20 / DS - 2019 deadline
Fall June 30
Spring November 20
Summer April 20

Qualifying for a Certificate of Eligibility

Certificate of Eligibility

An I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is used to apply for the F-1 or J-1 student visa as well as to obtain F-1 or J-1 student status when entering the United States. The I-20/DS-2019 COE is also used by other U.S. government agencies during your stay in the U.S.

After you are officially admitted to Louisiana State University, the academic admissions staff will notify International Services staff who will contact you via e-mail regarding the I-20 or DS-2019.

If your husband, wife and/or children will join you as your F-2/J-2 dependent(s), each dependent will need to have his/her own Certificate of Eligibility. We must receive proof of financial resources for their support in addition to the amount needed for yourself. View current estimated expenses, including dependent expenses.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a U.S. student visa. Instead, they apply for F-1/J-1 student status with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the U.S. Port of Entry. In order to do this, Canadian citizens must receive an I-20/DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility and pay the SEVIS fee before seeking admission to the U.S. as an F-1/J-1 student.

Also, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires Canadian travelers to present a passport or other document which denotes identity and citizenship in order to enter the U.S. We strongly recommend that you obtain a passport before coming to the United States because a passport as the main form of identification will make your interaction with different offices in the U.S. much easier.

DS-2019 (for J-1 Visa)

The DS-2019 is typically for applicants who are admitted as part of an exchange program and will seek/maintain the J-1 student status. Some admitted applicants are required to apply for a J-1 visa as part of their government/company sponsorship and will receive a DS-2019 upon meeting the qualifications for the DS-2019.

If you are participating in an exchange through an international organization (for example, ISEP, Fulbright, etc.), your DS-2019 will be issued by that organization. If you are an exchange student participating in a bilateral exchange between your home university and LSU, International Services will issue your DS-2019. International Services will produce the DS-2019 for those individuals whose sponsors do not have the ability to process DS-2019 COEs but require the J-1 visa as part of the sponsorship agreement.

I-20 (for F-1 Visa)

The I-20 is for international applicants who are admitted to a degree program on campus and will seek/maintain the F-1 student status. International Services will produce the I-20 COE for qualifying F-1 students.

To qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20/DS-2019)

In order to receive an I-20 or DS-2019, U.S. Immigration regulations state that applicants:

  • Must be officially and unconditionally admitted to a degree/exchange program on campus based on University standards for admission.
  • Must have sufficient funds to cover all estimated expenses for at least one academic year.

It is recommended that you submit a copy of your passport name page to International Services because the spelling and the order of your name on the I-20 or DS-2019 must match the spelling and the order of your name in your passport.

If you are outside of the U.S.

After International Services has received, reviewed and verified your financial documents, we will begin to process the appropriate Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for you. Due to the high volume of international students who are admitted to LSU each semester, it may take International Services 5-7 business days to process the COE.

Depending on your personal preferences or situation, you may choose to receive your COE via regular international airmail or express mail. If you would prefer to have someone collect your documents from our office, we will need your permission to provide your documents to that person as well as that person’s name and contact information (phone number and e-mail address).

Note: If you make a visa appointment before you receive your COE, please be advised that you may have to reschedule the appointment if your documents do not arrive to you in time for your visa appointment.

After you receive your COE, you should make sure that all the information on it is correct and that your name is spelled exactly as it appears in your passport. If you detect any mistake and your Certificate of Eligibility was issued by International Services at LSU, please contact us immediately by e-mail at isodoc@lsu.edu as we are the only office that can correct the error.

If you are in the U.S. (in F-1 student status)

If you are currently attending another U.S. school as an F-1 student or have Optional Practical Training (OPT) work authorization, you are considered a SEVIS Immigration transfer. (This SEVIS transfer is not related to any previously earned academic credits that you would like to transfer to LSU.)

Note: If you have been outside the United States for less than five (5) months after attending another U.S. school, you also may be considered a SEVIS transfer. If you have questions regarding this possibility, please e-mail isodoc@lsu.edu.

After International Services has received, reviewed and verified your financial documents, we will provide you with a SEVIS transfer-in form that you and your current/previous U.S. school will need to complete in order to electronically transfer your F-1 SEVIS record to LSU. View more information regarding the SEVIS transfer process.