You may need an F-1 student visa to enter the United States 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 school or another U.S. school after Summer Sessions
- In the United States in a nonimmigrant status (ex: J-1, F-2) and you want to change to F-1. (Contact Berkeley International Office immediately for instructions. This process will require travel outside the United States and re-entry with an 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 J-1 DS-2019s. We only work with J-1 student visa holders who are considering transferring their SEVIS record. Because eligibility for J-1 transfer is stringent, the student will likely need to depart the United States 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 of funds in the amount of 6,300 USD to support your stay in the United States. Additional funding for F-2 dependents is also needed (2,550 USD for F-1 spouse; 2,250 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. You can check the status of your I-20 and find mailout information about your package when you log into VSIS. Your I-20 will be issued 15 business days (3 weeks) after you have submitted a complete form. Incomplete applications, insufficient documentation, or enrollment that is less than full-time will lead to delays in the issuance of your I-20. Please note that mailing will take additional time.
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 your plans with your current school's international office. Your I-20/DS-2019 must have an end date AFTER August 16, 2019. 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 United States in a nonimmigrant status other than F-1 or J-1 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 United States 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.