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Incoming Students

Congratulations on your admission or re-entry admission to UW-Madison! We are glad you chose to become a Global Badger! The first step in the 8 Steps to Becoming an International Student at UW-Madison is to request your immigration document. Follow the steps below.

Step 1Will you attend as an F-1 or J-1 student? Over 90% of our students come on an F-1 student visa. You can review our F/J comparison chart 
Step 2: Which situation describes you? The most common options are listed in order below.   
Step 3Click the link below that describes your situation. Read the instructions. Submit your request. 
 

F-1 New Student – Request an Initial Attendance I-20 

You are outside the U.S. applying for an F-1 student visa (citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for an F-1 student visa, but you still need an I-20). Re-entry admission students are eligible.  
 

F-1 SEVIS Transfer-in Student – Request a Transfer Pending I-20  

You study at a U.S. secondary or post-secondary institution as an F-1 student. Your current F-1 I-20 SEVIS record is in “active” status. The transfer of your current SEVIS record must be completed before the end of your 60-day grace period. Your last date of enrollment or I-20 program end date must be 5 months or less from the semester start date for which you are admitted.  
 
If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or OPT STEM Extension, your last date of employment or maximum 90th day of unemployment must be 5 months or less from the start date of the semester for which you are admitted at UW-Madison 
 
You can be inside or outside of the U.S. If you are outside the U.S. and your current F-1 visa is expired, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa with your UW-Madison I-20 
 

F-1 Student Returning to UW-Madison from Leave of Absence 

You took a temporary absence and your last date of enrollment at UW-Madison was 5 months ago or less. Your UW-Madison I-20 SEVIS record was terminated for “authorized early withdrawal”.   

Re-entry admission students are not eligible for a return from Leave of Absence and must follow the F-1 New Student – Request an Initial Attendance I-20 process to obtain their I-20. 
 

F-1 Change of Education Level Student 

You studied at UW-Madison as an F-1 student. Your current F-1 I-20 SEVIS record is in “active” status. The update to your current SEVIS record must be completed before the end of your 60-day grace period. Your last date of enrollment or I-20 program end date must be 5 months or less from the semester start date for which you are admitted.  

If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or OPT STEM Extension, your last date of employment or maximum 90th day of unemployment must be 5 months or less from the start date of the semester for which you are admitted at UW-Madison. 

You can be inside or outside of the U.S. If you are outside the U.S. and your current F-1 visa is expired, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa with your Change of Education Level I-20.  
 

J-1 New Student – Request an Initial Attendance DS-2019 

You are outside the U.S. applying for a J-1 student visa (exchange visitor).  Re-entry admission students are eligible.  
 

J-1 SEVIS Transfer-in Student – Request a Transfer DS-2019  

You study at a U.S. post-secondary institution as a J-1 student. Your current J-1 DS-2019 SEVIS record is in “active” status. This is a long process and requires you to meet with an ISS advisor at UW-Madison and your current DS-2019 sponsor. The transfer of your current SEVIS record must be completed before your DS-2019 program end date. Your last date of enrollment or DS-2019 program end date must be 5 months or less from the semester start date for which you are admitted.  

If you are outside the U.S., you must apply for a new J-1 visa with your UW-Madison DS-2019.  
 

Change of U.S. Visa Status to F-1 or J-1 

You are currently in the U.S. with a visa status that is not F-1 or J-1 student. You must coordinate your change of status with an ISS Advisor at UW-Madison 
Examples of current status: F-2, J-2, H4, L-2  
 

English as a Second Language (ESL) Student  

You are admitted to student intensive English at UW-Madison.  
 

J-1 Change of Education Level Student 

You study at UW-Madison as an J-1 student. Your current J-1 DS-2019 SEVIS record is in “active” status and it is before your program end date. 

You can only move up in education levels. It is not possible to change your education level to a lower degree level, or to move from non-degree 
(exchange or visiting student) to degree-seeking (to earn a degree from UW-Madison) 
 

International Student Orientation (ISO) & ISS Check-in 

All incoming students are required to complete ISO & ISS Check-in within 15 days of the I-20 or DS-2019 program start date. This is step 7 in the 8 Steps to Becoming an International Student at UW-Madison