International Student Information

VISA Information

If you have been admitted to a graduate program at the School of Engineering & Applied Science and require a visa to study in the United States, our office will work with you and the GW International Services Office (ISO) to obtain the I-20 or DS-2019 forms necessary to request an F-1 or J-1 visa from the U.S. government.

Please note: we will not process any documents until you have accepted admission into a degree program and have paid the deposit. 

Steps to Obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 Form

Visa Request Form

The Visa Request form (PDF) provides details about your immigration status and funding sources.

To complete the form correctly, ensure that you:
    •    Are using a current version of the form. Older versions will not be accepted. 
    •    Provide your permanent address outside of the U.S.
    •    Share your birth city and birth country
    •    Enter the correct semester, year, school, degree, and program in which you are enrolling.
    •    Sign and date the document. If funding is provided by a sponsor, the “Official Certification by Family of Individual Sponsor” section of the Visa Request form must be completed and signed by both you and your sponsor.

Please fill out all questions thoroughly and carefully. The Source of Funds table on page 2 must be completed for the duration of your program (two years for a Master’s program, and five years for a Doctoral program).

Proof of Financial Support

To receive an I-20, all F-1 students are required to prove that they can financially support themselves during their studies in the US due to DHS regulations. We ask that students do this by demonstrating funding equal to or greater than the estimated cost of attending GW, as detailed on the Visa Request Form. 

Students may show a combination of types of funding, including scholarships, personal funding, and sponsored funding. All intended funding must be included on the Source of Funds table on the Visa Request Form. 

Financial documents must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be in English. If documents are not in English you must include an official English translation.
  • Indicate the currency of funds.
  • Have an issue date that is no more than 12 months from the time you plan to begin your studies.
  • Be on official letterhead (a self-typed note is not acceptable).

The Financial Document Checklist provides a list of the types of financial documents we can and cannot accept as proof of funding for an I-20 request.

Self-Support or Individual Funds:
If you are using personal funds or a loan in your name as your sole source of support, you must show that you have sufficient funds for the entire length of your program (two years for a master’s program or five years for a PhD program).

All funds must be in cash (e.g., checking or savings accounts) and not subject to withdrawal restrictions. Funding in stocks and other long term investments will not be accepted.

If you do not have sufficient funds for the entire duration of your program, a sponsor must agree to provide support for the remaining amount. 

Individual/Family Sponsored Funding:
If a family member or other individuals will provide your funding, your sponsor must show they have sufficient funds for at least one year of your program.

Bank documents should include the name of the account holder, the liquid funds currently available in the account, the currency, and be dated within the past twelve months.

Funding From GW:
If you are offered funding from GW, you will be provided with a funding letter via email. You should submit a pdf copy of this letter as part of your funding documents.

Please note: Although your GW Engineering offer letter mentions the award, it is not the official award letter. The official award letter is a separate document, detailing the award received. 

If the funding is sufficient to cover all of the expenses for the duration of your program, you will not be required to submit additional proof of funding. If the funding package is less than the full amount, you must have your own funding or funding from another sponsor to make up the difference. Please note that a completed Visa Request form (PDF) is required even if you are being fully funded by GW.

Loans:
Loans in your name only are considered Self-Support or personal funds. Loans with a co-signer are considered Family/Individual Sponsored funding. 

Loans must be fully sanctioned and approved. Loans that are conditionally approved or that contain conditional language will not be accepted.

Passport

You must submit a clear scan of the biographical page of your passport. Please ensure that the entire machine-readable zone is visible and legible. 

The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the start date of the program (this is required for entry into the U.S.)

Passport scans of all dependents must also be provided, if applicable.

Transfer Documents

If you are transferring from another institution within the United States, you must additionally provide the following documents:

If forfeiting OPT:

  • the front and back of your EAD card
  • your OPT forfeit letter.
Dependent Information Form

If you are planning to bring a spouse or dependent with you to the U.S., you must complete the Dependent Information form (PDF)

Additional funding must be provided for your dependents according to the instructions listed on the Visa Request Form.

E-Delivery of Your I-20 or DS-2019

Once your I-20/DS-2019 has been approved, the International Services Office will email you at your GW email address with your I-20 and a Welcome Packet. Please make sure that you have access to your GW account and are checking it regularly. You will need to print out and sign the I-20 document to take with you to your visa interview.

Resources

The International Services Office (ISO)

The ISO is the university’s student immigration and international student support center. If you have any questions regarding student immigration issues, please refer to their website and contact them directly.

International Services Office

The Graduate Enrollment Management Office

The Graduate Enrollment Management Office has information for prospective graduate students at GWU, including information regarding international student admissions requirements and funding. Please refer to their website for all information regarding international student funding that is not part of your admissions package.

Graduate Admissions Office

EducationUSA

EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 430 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries and territories. It provides international students with valuable knowledge on applying to U.S. colleges and universities.

EducationUSA

Study in the States

Study in the States is a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website that helps explain the visa process and informs about rules and regulations of student visas.

Study in the States

10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

The National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA) created this article which may be helpful to review when preparing for visa interviews.

NAFSA 10 Points