Visa Application

Obtaining a Visa to Attend Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Thomas Jefferson School of Law's Student Affairs Office can assist foreign students who need to obtain a visa.

For assistance contact: Lisa Ferreira, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs E-mail: Telephone: 619.961.4201

General Visa Information:

Non-resident aliens and non-U.S. citizens are required to obtain an I-20 document and visa for F-1 status that permits a foreign student to study in the United States. (Canadian students do not need to file for a visa).

Foreign students requiring a visa should contact the United States Consulate Office within their home country for more information. Once the student receives the completed I-20 document he/she should promptly schedule a visa appointment because the wait for an appointment may be significant. For information regarding the nearest Consulate Office, go to: This website will identify the necessary documents as well as the wait time for an appointment at the Consulate Office in the student's home country. Prior to the meeting at the Consulate's Office, students will need to pay fee I-901, which can be paid online at Countries may impose additional fees. Please check the Consulate website for further information.

In general, a visa application requires the following:

  1. A valid passport (six months remaining)
  2. An I-20 document
  3. Proof of funding (bank statements, letters of support, etc.)
  4. Photographs for the visa
  5. Payment of visa application fees
  6. Visa application forms (D-156, D-157, and D-158 as required)
  7. Payment of I-901 fees

Once a foreign student is admitted to Thomas Jefferson, the Student Affairs staff will work directly with the student to obtain the information necessary to support an I-20 document, including financial records demonstrating the ability to finance studies in the United States.

The I-20 document should be treated similarly to a passport. This document will be needed when making an appointment for a visa to enter the country, as well as when arriving into the United States. Upon receipt of the I-20, students should carefully review it to ensure that all information (name and birth date, etc.) has been stated accurately. If there is a discrepancy, please notify the Student Affairs Office immediately.

Students with an F-1 visa may enter the country no more than 30 days prior to the start of school.

Once issued, the Visa will be stamped into the student's passport. The Visa has an expiration date that indicates the period of time the student can remain in the United States as long as the student maintains fulltime status.

Students are required to go through United States Customs when entering the United States. All documents will be reviewed by a Customs Officer. It is extremely important that your I-20 stamps reflect your F-1 status; therefore, please check the documents prior to leaving the United States Customs area. If your stamp reflects any other status (such as visitor) notify the Customs Officer immediately so that the documents can be corrected.

After arriving in San Diego, a student should schedule an appointment with Assistant Dean Lisa Ferreira to register in the SEVIS (Student & Exchange Visitors Information System) website.