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Visa Information

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Obtaining a student visa

As a prospective international student in the United States, you must be aware of and abide by the U.S. immigration regulations that would govern your stay here. Most applicants for non-immigrant visas are now required to have a personal interview, and as a result it can take longer to get a visa. As of August 1, 2003, all persons in F and J status are included in the U.S. government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and all visa documents are issued through SEVIS.

Visa eligibility form I-20
Every student must have a SEVIS visa eligibility form I-20 (F-1). You must apply for international student admission in order to obtain an I-20.

Visa application
After completing all the necessary paperwork through the Admissions Office, you will receive your I-20 form from Southeastern. Once you receive this form, try to get your visa as soon as possible.

F-1 Visa: The F-1 visa is called the Student Visa. The form issued from Southeastern is the I-20, the Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student. Specific features include:

  • Financial support for the applicant is required and may be through personal means or may be received from a sponsor.
  • Work is permitted only on campus, except in cases of unforeseen economic hardship resulting after one full academic year in the U.S. or Optional Practical Training (OPT) after one full academic year in F-1 status.
  • Spouses and dependent children of F-1 students hold F2 status and may not work in the U.S. under any circumstances. 
  • An F-2 spouse may not engage in full-time study, and part-time study is permitted if it is non-vocational or recreational. *If after arriving in the U.S. the F-2 dependent wishes to change his/her status to F-1 in order to earn a degree, please discuss this possibility with International Student Services.
  • All F-1 students at Southeastern are required to have health insurance.

Maintaning a student visa

To maintain F-1 status, a student must:

  • Report to the DSO to have his or her SEVIS record registered in SEVIS in a timely fashion. DSOs must register the student in SEVIS no later than 30 days after the program start date (new students in Initial SEVIS status), and each semester thereafter, no later than 30 days after the each Next session start date (continuing students).
  • For the first entry for initial school attendance, the school listed on the visa and on the I-20 must be the same, and that is the school the student must intend to attend.
  • Pursue a "full course of study" at the school listed on the currently valid Form I-20 during every academic session or semester except during official school breaks, or unless approved under a specific exception, in advance, by the DSO.
  • Make normal progress towards completing the course of study, by completing studies before the expiration of the program completion date on Form I-20.
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for extension of stay
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for change in educational levels or programs of study
  • Keep Form I-20 valid by following proper procedures for transfer of schools
  • Abide by the F-1 grace period rules
  • Report a change of address to the DSO within 10 days of the change, so that SEVIS can be updated.
  • Abide by rules requiring disclosure of information and prohibition on criminal activity.
  • Abide by any special requirements, such as Special Registration requirements
  • Not work, either on or off-campus, unless specifically authorized under the regulations
  • Abide by the aggregate unemployment rules while on post-completion OPT
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Post Office Box 1889
  • Wake Forest, NC 27588
  • Phone: (919) 761 - 2100
Our Mission
  • Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary seeks to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.
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