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F-1 and J-1 Students

CSUSB defines an international student as someone who is enrolled in classes and holds an F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange visitor) visa. Dependents of F-1 and J-1 visa holders have an F-2* or J-2 visa sponsored by CSUSB.

*F-2 spouses may not engage in a full course of study. To engage in a full course of study, an F-2 spouse must apply for and be granted an F-1 visa status.

For other visa types allowed to study in the U.S. for incidental purposes, please refer to the Non-Immigrants: Who Can Study? chart maintained by the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration Regulations

It is students' responsibility to be familiar with the immigration requirements governing their visa.  International students must maintain full-time enrollment each term, registering for at least 12 units for undergraduates and 6 units for graduates. In addition, students must:

  1. Keep a valid passport at all times;
  2. Attend CSUSB as noted on the Form I-20 or Form DS 2019;
  3. Report any program changes in a timely manner; and,
  4. Maintain their immigration status.

F-1 and J-1 Student FAQs

What Is a degree-seeking F-1 student?

Most international students attending CSUSB are on F-1 visas.  The F-1 status is for students pursuing a full course of study in a degree program. 

The F-1 status is a non-immigrant, full-time student visa that allows foreign nationals to pursue education in the United States. When applicants are accepted into an academic program at CSUSB, the International Admissions office will issue a Form I-20 which lists students' program and biographic information. 

For questions about initial I-20s from CSUSB, please contact International Admissions at

The Form I-20 is used to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.  For additional information on how to apply for an F-1 visa, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Once you start your academic program at CSUSB, Center for International Studies and Programs (CISP) staff help educate students on maintaining their immigration status.

What is a non-degree seeking F-1 student?

The F-1 visa's non-degree category is for students who are not enrolled in a degree program.  Students are still required to adhere to all the F-1 regulations to maintain a valid immigration status, including enrolling in at least 12 units for undergraduate programs or studying fulltime in the Study in the USA (SUSA), English Language Program (ELP), or Academic Pathway Programs (APP).

What is a degree-seeking J-1 student?

These students seek to obtain a degree from CSUSB via the J-1 visa and Form DS-2019 through the U.S. Department of State's Exchange Visitor Program.

What is a non-degree seeking J-1 student?

This visa type is for students seeking to enroll in a full course of study for a limited duration, for example one or two semesters, without obtaining a CSUSB degree.

J-1 non-degree seeking students can study for up to 12 months. Non-degree students cannot matriculate into a degree seeking program and are considered as "transitory" students at CSUSB.

The Education Abroad team can confirm whether or not there is an agreement between CSUSB and the home institution.

To apply as a J-1 student, visit the International Admissions website and click on Non-Degree Seeking (Transitory).

What are dependent visas?

F-2 and J-2 dependent visas are available to the dependents of F-1 and J-2 visa holders, such as spouses or children under the age 21. 

What is a transitory (visiting) student?

Transitory or visiting students usually attend CSUSB under the F-1 non-degree or J-1 non-degree visa category for a short period of time.

What Should I Know About SEVIS Fees

Once a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 is issued, an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate should be made to interview for the appropriate visa.  Remember to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee prior to a visa interview.  To confirm costs, please visit.

SEVIS I-901 fees can be paid directly on the SEVIS fee website and there are even how-to videos on paying the I-901 SEVIS fee.

For more information on SEVIS fees please visit the Study in the States website.