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Applying for Your I-20/DS-2019


You will receive an automatic email communication from ISSO within 3-5 business days of receiving your UMass Lowell Acceptance Letter with detailed instructions on how to apply for a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.

For guidance on applying for an initial Form I-20 or initial Form DS-2019, please view our job aid for How to Request your Initial Visa Document.

DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from ISSO

Your UMass Lowell Acceptance Letter must be dated by:

  • December 12 – to be considered for a spring Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • August 2 – to be considered for a fall Form I-20 or DS-2019

All required documents for I-20/DS-2019 issuance must be at ISSO no later than 5-7 business days from above-mentioned, otherwise they will be automatically put into the next fall or spring semester processing queue. This applies to students transferring from other U.S. institutions.

Do not make travel arrangements to enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status until you have received the Form I-20 or DS-2019 and obtained the respective visa in your passport. Please note that students are not legally permitted to study on “B” status.

We all very much look forward to hearing from you and eventually meeting you in person!

Transfer Students currently at another U.S. Institution

Students transferring their SEVIS record from another U.S. institution to UMass Lowell will receive an I-20/DS-2019 with the same SEVIS number as their previous school and are not required to pay a new SEVIS fee.

The following documents are required in order to receive your UMass Lowell I-20/DS-2019:

*Our forms can be found on the Forms & Guides tab.*

Visa Document Items Required:

  • A copy of your Passport
  • Up to date Financial Documentation showing the amount required as dictated by the Estimate of Expenses
  • Undergraduate Student Estimate of Expenses
  • Graduate Estimate of Expenses
  • Affidavit of Support if Financial Documentation is not under your name

Transfer Documents Required:

Transfer students with a valid F-1/J-1 visa stamp in their passport are not required to apply for a new visa if traveling within or outside of the U.S.

Transfer students who decide to travel outside the U.S. are permitted to re-enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of your program.

Please submit all documents through our iStart Eform which can be accessed from the Forms & Guides tab.

Details pertaining to Transfer Orientation can be found by visiting the Transfer Orientation website.

Please Note: Acceptance to UMass Lowell does not automatically guarantee issuance of a university Form I-20 or DS-2019. Student must be legally eligible. There are strict regulations and timelines surrounding eligibility for such documents. Eligibility will be determined upon ISSO review of all completed Transfer-In documents by the student and their previous immigration history.

How to Receive your DS-2019

The following information is intended for those international students who will need to be issued a J-1 student visa document to study in the United States.

How to receive an DS-2019 from UMass Lowell

Upon admission to the J-1 Exchange Student Program our office will reach out to you with instructions for submitting the required documents to issue your J-1 DS-2019 visa document. 

In order to be issued a Form DS-2019 (to obtain J-1 visa status), you will need to provide us with the following documents:

Note: Do not enter on a tourist visa. Students on F-2; B-1; B-2; WB; or WT status are not permitted to be enrolled in a degree program, either part or full-time.

Our office will not only guide you prior to your arrival at UMass Lowell but we will continue to assist you and any accompanying family member throughout your academic program. We offer an International Student Orientation which is usually held one week before the first day of the semester. More detailed information will be included with your visa document. We strongly encourage that you do not make travel arrangements until you have been issued a visa document from our office.

We all very much look forward to hearing from you and eventually meeting you in person!


Students attending a post secondary educational institution in the state of Massachusetts are required by law to submit a certificate of immunization that includes proof of immunity to a variety of vaccine preventable communicable illnesses. As a condition of enrollment at the University and subsequently, treatment at Health Services, all students are required to have completed health forms on file. Students who do not submit complete records will have a hold placed on their registration which will affect future enrollment and access to academic records.

Both Massachusetts state and U.S. federal law require that all college students be enrolled in a qualifying health insurance plan. In order to meet federal Affordable Care Act requirements and to ensure access to health care while residing in the University of Massachusetts Lowell area, international students will be enrolled in and billed for the School Health Insurance Plan.

More information can be found on the Student Health Services Health Insurance website.

All F-1/J-1 visa-related documentation must be sent to the International Students & Scholars Office. Admitted students will receive an email on the Friday after their acceptance, with detailed instructions on how to apply for a UMass Lowell Visa Document. Please note that our office is now paperless, so you should complete the e-form sent to you via email. Sending materials via email or mail to our office or any other campus office will delay the processing of your visa document. You must upload these materials directly to our office even if you previously mailed them in your admissions application. n order to be issued either a Form I-20 (to obtain F-1 visa status) or Form DS-2019 (to obtain J-1 visa status), you will need to provide us with the following documents:

*Our forms are located on the Forms & Guides tab of our website under "New Students".

  • A completed Visa Document E-Form (link provided in the email you receive the Friday after your acceptance).
  • Copy of passport identification page(s) for you and any accompanying family member(s)
  • Copy of financial documentation: If you are receiving any funding from UMass Lowell, please provide details of such funding. Students who are funding their own educational costs must send us personal or sponsor financial documentation including an Affidavit of Support if funding is provided by a sponsor. For financial requirements please refer to the Graduate Estimate of Expenses or Undergraduate Estimate of Expenses.


Financial documentation must be liquid funding submitted in the form of a bank statement. Other forms of financial documentation may be scholarship or education loans. Our office does not accept investment accounts, home equity, tax returns, or proof of salary.

Although you’re only asked to present proof of one year of funding as per our Estimate of Expenses, you are legally expected to be able to continue to fund your U.S. educational costs for the duration of your academic program. On-campus jobs are scarce and off-campus work authorization is very restrictive for international students, so it is imperative that you have access to the needed funding in order to be able to cover your expenses.  Once on campus, students are not permitted to register for future semesters unless they’ve paid up their previous semester’s bill and if they’re international, they’re legal status depends on them being able to continue to register as full-time students.


Please keep in mind that we strongly discourage students to depend on on-campus work to assist with the costs of study while in the U.S. There is no guarantee that you will secure employment on campus, and if you do, the hours available may not be reliable (you may only receive a few hours or inconsistent hours). On-campus work opportunities can be challenging to find, and for some student it can take 1 or 2 semester to find work. This type of income is supplementary spending money, not the type to support daily living expenses, bills, or school tuition/fees. 

If you are wishing to change your current status to F-1, you have two options to do so:

  1. Change status through travel - This process requires students to obtain an I-20 F-1 visa document from ISSO before leaving the U.S., applying for a visa at a U.S. Consular Post abroad, obtaining the F-1 visa stamp, and reentering the U.S. in F-1 status
  2. Apply for a change of status through USCIS - This process requires the student to obtain an I-20 F-1 visa document from the ISSO before submitting an application to change their nonimmigrant status to USCIS from within the U.S. This application can take as long as 8 months or more to be processed by USCIS

Students who are looking to change their status are encouraged to visit the ISSO during Advising Hours to discuss and assess your options with an ISSO advisor. We will evaluate each student's options on a case-by-case basis.


An international student who has failed to maintain valid F–1 (student) status prior to the issuance of their first Form I-20 from UMass Lowell will be required to apply for Reinstatement. If you have lost your F–1 status, you must immediately contact our office.