Visa Information

Step 1: Check your documents; make sure you check the form I-20 or DS-2019 carefully to ensure the information is correct. If you believe there is an error, please contact the International Relations and Global Engagement Office at Your passport needs to be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times (during the visa application process and your stay in the U.S.).

Step 2: Pay the SEVIS fee ($200) with Form I-901. Make sure to print the confirmation of payment of this fee; you will need this for your visa application. For more information and how to pay, please visit:

Step 3: Apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa with the nearest U.S. Consulate/Embassy. Please refer to their website for detailed information on which documents to bring, and when to visit them for your visa interview. For a list of all Embassies, please visit: **Family members (F-2 or J-2 status) will have to apply for their own visa and pay applicable visa fees. They do not have to pay the SEVIS fee as your fee covers the entire family.

Step 4: Review the health insurance requirements for you and dependents that are traveling to the U.S. All students and dependents MUST have valid health insurance throughout the duration of their stay.


Visit Study in the States for helpful information on applying for your visa!


J-1 Visa Overview

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is a Federal program administered by the Department of State which implements the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961. This Act promotes mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange. The Exchange Visitor Program provides eligible foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in exchange programs in the United States and then return home to share their experiences.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is organized into a number of different categories. The Office of International Relations and Global Engagement (IRGE) at BHSU has been designated to sponsor the following categories: student and research scholar. It is important to remember that the Exchange Visitor Program at BHSU is not an expedient means of employing foreign nationals (or- from the scholar’s point of view - for working in the US), but is intended to further the educational, cultural, and research interests of the foreign student or scholar as much as the needs of the faculty sponsor, grant program, or University.

BHSU has been a J-1 program sponsor for several years and has hosted many students and scholars for the purpose of “teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills or receiving training in the general interests of international academic exchange.” Participants use form DS-2019 to apply at the American embassy or consulate for a J-1 visa to enter the United States. The program is an essential component of the university’s efforts to maintain prominence as an international academic and research institution. BHSU is authorized as a program sponsor through the U.S. Department of State. For more information about the J-1 program, go to

F-1 Visa Overview

The F-1 program is a federal program, managed by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security. Helpful information for F-1 students can be found at Study in the States, such as preparing for your visa interview, the I-901 fee, travel tips, and what is allowable on a F-1 visa. Incoming F-1 Students will obtain an I-20 from Black Hills State University along with their acceptance documents. The I-20 is an application for a U.S. student visa. Additionally, steps to apply for an F-1 visa are also provided for by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) .