How to request Visa Sponsorship (I-20) step by step

Applying for an Initial I-20/DS-2019 from UMass Lowell (UML)

Step 1: Please make sure to confirm admission by paying your enrollment deposit through the Admissions Portal.

Step 2: Claim your UMass Lowell credentials:

  • Undergraduate Students - Review instructions to claim your credentials.
  • Graduate Students - Complete the UMass Lowell Email Address Lookup Form to learn your UMass Lowell student account and follow the steps to change your account password. (Note: your mailbox will become available to you when registration for the semester opens).

Step 3: Apply for your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 visa document through the UMass VIP Portal. A step-by-step guide for the application process can be found in our instructions. To access the portal, you will need your UMass Lowell credentials.

  • Username -
  • Password - Your UML credentials password

If you are currently studying at UMass Lowell or another US institution on the F-1 or J-1 student status, please review the additional sections below for information on changing your academic level or transferring your SEVIS record to UMass Lowell.

Step by Step instructions on how to apply for I-20/DS-2019 from UMass Lowell (UML)

Deadline to Apply for Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from ISSO

The below ISSO deadlines are to allow adequate time to receive a visa document in order to apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate:

  • August 1 - Fall Semester Admits
  • December 15 - Spring Semester Admits

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.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at or 978-934-2383. We look forward to welcoming you to campus!

  • Transfer In

    Please be sure to complete the Transfer-In portion of the Visa Document Request e-form.

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

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

    Transfer students who decide to travel outside the U.S. are not restricted to entering the US within 30 days of the program start.

    The student's authorization for OPT ends on the transfer release date. Authorization for OPT is not transferable. If the student wants to complete OPT, the transfer-out school must set the release date for a date after the OPT ends.

    Please Note: Acceptance to UMass Lowell does not guarantee issuance of a university Form I-20 or DS-2019. Eligibility will be determined upon ISSO review of all completed documents.

    If you are transferring academically, you may find details pertaining to Transfer Orientation on the Transfer Orientation website.

  • How to Receive your DS-2019

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

    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 apply for a J-1 visa), you will need to provide us with the following documents:

  • In order to be issued a visa document (Form I-20/Form DS-2019) to apply for a student visa (F-1/J-1) you will need to provide us with the following documents:

    • A completed Visa Document Request E-Form (found under the Admission tab on the UMass VIP portal)
    • Copy of passport identification page(s) for you and any accompanying dependent(s)
    • Copy of financial documentation: If you are receiving any funding from UMass Lowell, please provide details of such funding. Students who are not funded by UMass Lowell must submit either proof of personal funding OR proof of funding from a sponsor. If providing proof of funding from a sponsor, students must also include a Declaration and Certification of Finances Form (pdf).
  • If you wish to change your current status to F-1, please review our Change of Status page for proper guidelines and steps.

    Students who are looking to change their status are encouraged to contact us to discuss and assess their options with an ISSO advisor. We will evaluate each student's options on a case-by-case basis.