F-1 Degree-Seeking Pre-Arrival Steps

Apply for Your I-20

Supporting Documents to Receive Your I-20:

  1. Copy of Passport

  2. Proof of Financial Support

    • Bank Statement or Letter in English (dated no older than six months).
      • Providing funding of the equivalent or more of the cost of attendance listed below.
      • Bank statement or letter must clearly show account holder's name, available balance, and currency.
    • Sponsorship Letter if funds are not in student's name. (Sample letter here.)
    • Scholarship Award Letter (if applicable)
    • Graduate Assistantship Award Form (if applicable- Graduate Students Only) 
      • If you have been awarded a graduate assistantship please send the form above to your graduate department to complete and upload the completed form in your I-20 application.
    • The total amount of funding between personal bank statements, scholarships, graduate assistantships, etc. that you provide must equal or exceed the cost of attendance listed below.

  3. Please click the Apply Now button below and login with your UNCW credentials to apply for your I-20.
    • Login Instructions

      • Username: UNCW email (without the @uncw.edu, provided in your acceptance letter)

      • Password: Initially set to DOB (mmddyyyy)

2020-2021 Cost of Attendance:

  • Undergraduate Students: $40,498 USD
  • Graduate Students: $41,210 USD
  • TABSA Students Only: $15,002 USD


Transfer Your I-20

If you are currently attending another institution in the United States as an F-1 student, you will need to transfer your F-1 status sponsorship in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) from your current school to UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status. 

Students must obtain the new I-20 from UNCW before beginning classes at UNCW to remain in lawful F-1 status.

Change of Status 

If you are currently in the U.S. in another visa classification (e.g., H4, L2) and want to change your status to that of F-1 student, you will need to speak with staff in the UNCW Office of International Students and Scholars about this process. Please call +1.910.962.3367 to make an appointment with an adviser. Please note that this process can take three to four months, so please contact us as early as possible.

Students on Visa Types Other than F-1 or J-1

If you do not require UNCW's F-1 visa sponsorship because you have a visa that allows you to study in the U.S. (e.g., U.S. permanent resident, H4, L2, TD, etc.), then you do not have to submit anything to the Office of International Students and Scholars. We welcome you to attend OISS programs and events, and hope you have a great time at UNCW!

Apply for Your Visa


Receive I-20

Once you complete the online I-20 application, an I-20 will be issued to you. The UNCW Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will mail this I-20 to you so that you can begin the next steps:

  1. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee
  2. Apply for an F-1 visa stamp
  3. Enter the U.S. and check-in with OISS.

Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee (everyone)

All students must complete U.S. government form I-901 and pay the fee associated with this application. You must show your I-901 receipt when you apply for your visa and when you enter the U.S. Information on the I-901 SEVIS Fee can be found here.

Apply for Visa (everyone except citizens of Canada)

All students, except citizens of Canada, must apply for an F-1 visa stamp at the U.S. embassy outside of the U.S. if they do not already have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport.

Enter the United States

Enter the U.S. and Check In with OISS

You may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date of your academic program, as listed in field #5 on the I-20. When you arrive in the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staff will ask to see your passport, F-1 visa stamp (for everyone except citizens of Canada), I-20 form, proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment, and financial documentation. The CBP officer will inspect your documents and then return them to you.

After arriving in the U.S., complete the OISS Online Check-In Form and attend the OISS International Student Orientation.