You may need an F-1 student visa to enter the U.S. for Summer Sessions. Apply for this visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country, with an I-20 from Berkeley International Office (BIO), the responsible office for issuing these documents for the University.
B1/B2 vistor visas and the Visa Waiver Program (VWP/ESTA) restrict study. BIO cannot assist nor advise in these cases.
Do You Need An I-20?
You will need an I-20 from UC Berkeley if you plan to be enrolled full-time (see this definition of full-time enrollment) in Berkeley Summer Sessions and if during the semester prior to summer you are any of the following:
- Outside the United States
- Attending another U.S. school as an F-1 or J-1 student, and you do NOT plan to resume your studies at that or another U.S. school after Summer Sessions
- In the U.S. in a non-immigrant status (ex: J-1, F-2) and you want to change to F-1 (contact the Berkeley International Office office immediately for instructions. This process will require travel outside the U.S. and re-entry with appropriate visa)
- A UC Berkeley student returning to school after withdrawal from a degree program for one or more semesters
*UC Berkeley will not issue initial DS-2019s. We only work with J-1 student visa holders who are considering transferring the SEVIS record. Because eligibility for J-1 transfer is stringent, student will likely need to depart the U.S. and re-enter as an F-1. Contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for special instructions.
How To Obtain an I-20:
After you have completed your Summer Session enrollment and application, you will need to obtain your I-20. Log onto your CalCentral account. You should have a task that indicates that you should Complete the Visiting Summer International Student (VSIS) form. Through a series of questions, the system will determine whether or not you need an I-20. Be prepared to upload the following required documents:
- Financial documents showing proof funds in the amount of 4500 USD to support your stay in the U.S. Additional funding for F-2 dependents is also needed (1750 USD for F-1 spouse; 1000 USD for each F-1 child) If your funding documentation is insufficient, you will be asked to submit additional evidence of funds.
- Passport biographic page showing your full name and date of birth
- Official evidence of English proficiency requirement (EPR), if applicable
- All documents must be legible. If a document is deemed illegible or corrupted, you will be asked to upload it again.
- After all required documents have been uploaded via VSIS, they will first be reviewed by the Summer Sessions Office (Allow 5 business days). Then, Berkeley International Office will be able to view all your required documents. When Berkeley International Office approves all required documents, the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) will be shipped via express mail within 15 business days. You can check the status of your I-20 and find mailout information about your package when you log into VSIS. It is normal for the entire process from registration to receiving an I-20 to take 4 weeks. Plan accordingly!
Students Who Do NOT need an I-20 from UC Berkeley
In the following cases, you do NOT need to request an I-20 from UC Berkeley:
- If you are attending another U.S. school in F-1 or J-1 status and you plan to resume your studies at that school immediately after your Summer Session program. Make sure to check plans with your current school's international office. Your I-20/DS-2019 must have an end date AFTER August 11, 2017. If so, you are allowed to take classes part-time or full-time at UC Berkeley during Summer Session only.
- If you are in the U.S. in a non-immigrant status other than as a F-1 or J-1 student and that status allows you to be a full-time or part-time student.)
- If you are a continuing F-1 or J-1 UC Berkeley degree-seeking student who was enrolled in the spring semester prior to Summer Session. You should already have an I-20 or DS-2019; check the expiration date to make sure it will remain valid for the summer.
WARNING! Visitor Visas or Visitor Entry: BIO can neither advise nor assist students who choose to enter the U.S. using B1/B-2 or ESTA /Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Study restrictions apply. All international students are strongly encouraged to enroll full-time and obtain the appropriate student visa status.