The following instructions are intended for international students who started their program from abroad and do not have a USC Form I-20/DS-2019 for the upcoming semester.

STEP 1: Request an Initial Attendance Form I-20/DS-2019 from OIS

F-1 Students: Return to USC: Initial I-20 Request
J-1 Students: Return to USC: Initial DS-2019 Request

All Students (Except Viterbi Graduate Students)
  • Provide your name as it appears on your passport
  • Provide your email address
  • Provide your academic advisor’s name and email
Viterbi Graduate Students
  • Provide your name as it appears on your passport
  • Provide your email address
  • Enter “VASE” as your advisor’s name and MASTERS@vase.usc.eduor as your advisor’s email
 Attach Proof of Financial Support – Refer to USC Guidelines for Acceptable Financial Support
  • Date of issuance (no earlier than one year before the start of your intended returning semester at USC)
    • Sufficient funding to cover the estimated remaining cost of tuition and living expenses:
      • Bachelors
      • Masters/Doctorates
      • If you have dependents, you must show proof of an additional $14,253 USD for spouse; $7,127 USD per child
      • Students with one semester remaining in their degree program must provide proof of funding for remaining tuition units, living expenses ($1,000 USD per month) and, if applicable, F-2/J-2 dependents
Submit Form

Completed request will automatically route to your academic (or VASE) advisor. Once they approve (sign) the request, it will be routed back to OIS for processing. Once OIS receives the completed request, please allow 7 business days to review and process your request.

  • Electronic I-20sThe Form I-20 will be signed electronically and sent to you via email
  • Paper DS-2019s – DS-2019s will be sent to J-1 students via eShipGlobal
STEP 2:  I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment
  • Students must pay the mandatory I-901 SEVIS Fee based on the Initial Form I-20/DS-2019
  • USC’s SEVIS School Code is listed under the “School Code and Approval Date” field on The Form I-20, located in the upper-middle section of Page 1
STEP 3: Check F-1/J-1 Visa validity
  • Students who have a valid F-1/J-1 visa stamp in their passport (must be valid on the day student plans to re-enter the U.S.) do not need to apply for a new F-1/J-1 visa
  • If their F-1/J-1 visa is not valid, they will need to apply for a new F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate with their current Form I-20/DS-2019
  • Canadian citizens are exempt from the F-1/J-1 visa requirement
STEP 4: Travel to the U.S.

Enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date printed on the Form I-20/DS-2019. Port of entry officials can turn away students attempting to enter before the 30-day period.

STEP 5: Complete Immigration Status Verification (ISV) Upon Arrival to the U.S. for STU50/60/55 hold Removal

All international students have an STU50 (for graduate students), STU60 (for undergraduate students) or STU55 (for status issues) hold on their USC account. This hold is lifted once students arrive in the United States (U.S.) and complete Immigration Status Verification (ISV) with the Office of International Services (OIS). ISV is a mandatory procedure that verifies a student’s entry to the U.S. as well as their immigration status to ensure the student is eligible to start an academic program at USC for the upcoming academic semester. Failure to complete ISV in a timely manner will affect your eligibility to legally remain in the U.S.

Refer to the ISV section of the OIS website for instructions.

 STEP 6: Register for Classes
  • Register for classes via Web Registration during your scheduled appointment time.
    • You must enroll full-time in degree-required courses in your first semester back at USC, including summer, to maintain F-1/J-1 status. Full-time is considered:
      • Undergraduate – 12 units
      • Graduate or graduate certificate – 8 units
      • Ph.D., doctorate, or graduate students with an assistantship – 6 units