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FAQs About Visas for Summer Students

Please note this information is only for CTY students attending summer programs in the U.S. Students in other Johns Hopkins University programs must visit http://www.ois.jhu.edu/.

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Overview of the Visa Process

What are the steps to receive a visa to attend CTY Summer Programs?

  1. Receive your child’s CTY Summer Programs course registration assignment.  Your child must have a course registration assignment before starting the visa process.
  2. Within 5 business days of receiving your child’s course registration assignment, receive an email from JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS).
  3. Follow the instructions from OIS to:
    • complete the request for your child’s I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) via iHopkins; and,
    • create an eShipGlobal shipment account, and request and pay for a shipping order for your child’s I-20.
      Allow 10 business days for OIS to process your child’s I-20. Requests that are incomplete or missing eShipGlobal account information will delay processing and shipment of your child’s I-20.
  4. Pay the SEVIS fee at fmjfee.com. Print out and save a copy of your receipt—you will need it for the visa application.
  5. Receive your child’s I-20 in the mail. Shipping times vary by your location.
  6. Complete an electronic DS-160 visa application through the U.S. State Department website.
  7. Schedule a visa appointment with the U.S. embassy/consulate. Scheduling and processing times vary by U.S. embassy/consulate.
  8. Obtain your child’s F-1 student visa from the U.S. embassy/consulate.

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U.S. Immigration Requirements

Does my child need an F-1 student visa to attend CTY Summer Programs?

Yes. Students who are not already in the U.S. with an immigration status that allows for study must request an I-20 from the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) and then obtain a nonimmigrant F-1 student visa.

For Information for citizens of Canada or Bermuda or students already holding a valid F-1 visa, review the Special Visa Circumstances section of this FAQ.

Can my child study at CTY on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa or under the Visa Waiver Program?

No. CTY summer programs are full time academic programs requiring the F-1 student visa. They are not summer camps and the student should not use a visitor’s visa or the Visa Waiver Program to enter the U.S. for study.

My child currently has a B-1/B-2 visa. Will this visa be canceled after my child applies for an F-1 student visa?

No. Any existing B-1/B-2 visa remains valid for the time printed on the visa stamp. The student must still apply for a separate F-1 student visa for study at CTY. When entering the U.S. for their CTY program, the student must present the F-1 student visa to the border official, NOT the B-1/B-2 visa.

I found information that CTY summer programs are a summer camp and my child does not need an F-1 student visa. Is that true?

No. CTY’s summer programs are full time academic programs requiring the F-1 student visa. Entering the U.S. with a visitor visa (B-1/B-2) or under the Visa Waiver Program is not appropriate. CTY and OIS are not responsible for legal consequences encountered by a student attempting to enter the U.S. as a visitor. Beware of U.S. Embassy or Consular Officers who may suggest these as alternatives to the F-1 student visa. The Officers are under the incorrect impression that the CTY program is a "summer camp." Politely request that the Officer issue the F-1 student visa.

My child is a U.S. citizen and a citizen of another country. Does my child need a visa?

No. Per U.S. law, students who qualify as U.S. Citizens must use a U.S. passport to enter and depart the U.S. even if they also hold dual citizenship in another country.

My child holds dual citizenship in two foreign countries. Which country do I choose?

It is your choice, but you must select which passport the student will use for his/her I-20 request, F-1 visa application, and entry into the U.S. OIS can only list one country of citizenship on the I-20. Note: if one country has better diplomatic relations with the U.S. than the other country, you may want to choose that country’s passport.

My child is currently studying in the U.S. with an F-1 visa. Does my child need a new visa?

Maybe. If your child will be returning to their current school after CTY, your child does not need a new I-20. Please submit a letter to ois-cty@jhu.edu from your child’s current school stating that the child will be returning there to study after their CTY program, and that the current school understands your child will be participating in CTY classes this summer.

If your child will not be returning to their current school after CTY, contact the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) at ois-cty@jhu.edu to discuss your case.

My child is currently studying in the U.S. with a J-1 visa. Does my child need a new visa?

Maybe. Contact the JHU Office of International Services at ois-cty@jhu.edu to discuss your child’s case.

What are the passport requirements to apply for an F-1 student visa for study at CTY?

The child’s passport must be valid for at least 6 more months at the time of entry to the U.S. For all U.S. immigration purposes, use your child’s name exactly as it appears in the child’s passport. Your child’s name on all documents should be identical (passport, visa, I-20).

My child’s passport is currently expired. Can I submit a request for my child’s I-20 before renewing the passport?

Yes, you can begin the I-20 request process using your child’s current expired passport. However, you must renew your child’s passport as soon as possible and before your child’s appointment at the U.S. embassy/consulate.

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Requesting the I-20

How do I begin the visa request process for my child?

Your child must have an I-20 from JHU to apply for an F-1 student visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate. Expect to receive an email notification from the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) within 5 business days of receiving your child’s CTY Summer Programs course registration assignment. OIS sends this email notification to the email address(es) you used on your child’s CTY application. Follow the instructions in the email from OIS to request and obtain the I-20. Note: although both parents may receive a message about the I-20 request, submit only one I-20 request per child. Parents should determine who will handle the I-20 request.

What do I need to request my child’s I-20?

You must have these documents to request your child’s I-20 from the JHU Office of International Services (OIS): valid passport, financial documentation, and credit card for eShipGlobal shipping charges.

OIS will ask you to complete an electronic form through iHopkins, which will require you to do the following:

  • Upload a copy of the biographical information page of your child’s passport (valid for at least 6 more months beyond the entry date to the U.S.).
  • Upload financial proof that you have the ability to pay for all CTY costs.
  • Set up an account with eShipGlobal (JHU’s shipping service for all I-20s).
  • Pay for the shipping charges.

What documentation is acceptable as financial proof of my ability to pay for all CTY costs?

One of the following documents is sufficient:

  • A copy of your receipt if you have made full payment of all CTY fees (receipts are available for download in the Financial Summary page of your child’s MyCTY account).
  • A bank statement of the student or parent, no more than 3 months old, that shows sufficient liquid/cash funds to cover all CTY costs.
  • A copy of an official letter from a government or other institutional funding source that certifies their financial sponsorship of the child.

A copy of a credit card or proof of non-liquid/non-cash assets (such as property) will not be accepted as financial documentation.

What amount is required as proof of my financial ability to pay for CTY costs in support of my child’s I-20 request?

This varies by student, but must cover the amount of all CTY fees for your child’s summer course. You can find the fees listed on your CTY invoice. If the child will not be living on campus, provide proof for an additional $1500 for living expenses.

How long does it take the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) to process my request for an I-20?

Once you have completed and submitted the electronic request for an I-20, including setting up your eShipGlobal account and paying for shipment, allow 2 weeks for processing. Once OIS generates the I-20, you will receive an email from OIS with instructions for the next steps.

What are the mailing options for me to receive my child’s I-20?

The JHU Office of International Services (OIS) uses only eShipGlobal for all I-20 shipments.

At the time of requesting and I-20 with OIS, CTY participants must sign up and pay for express shipment of I-20s through a service called eShipGlobal. No I-20s will be sent by any other method.

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Shipment of your I-20

How do I request the mailing of my child’s I-20?

Follow the instructions in the email from JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS). You will complete the request for mailing your I-20 at the same time you request your child’s I-20 via iHopkins.

Can I choose other shipping methods to receive my child’s I-20 by email?

No. All individuals must use eShipGlobal. No I-20 forms will be sent by any other method.

What information do I enter when I create my account and place my order with eShipGlobal?

Follow the instructions in the email provided by JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS). For University name, always use Johns Hopkins University. Note that all I-20 forms are sent from OIS, located in Baltimore, which may be different from the actual CTY site where your child will study.

What should I do if I entered incorrect information (sender name, address, selected the incorrect institution) in my eShipGlobal order or need to cancel a shipment?

An eShipGlobal order cannot be modified once created.

You must:

  1. Contact eShipGlobal to studentsupport@eshipglobal.com for address change/correction, and/or cancellation of shipping orders and to request a transfer of the payment from the old order to the new order
  2. Notify ois-cty@jhu.edu after the new order is set up

For other issues with your shipping order, visit eShipGlobal’s website. Please do not email OIS or CTY regarding changes to eShipGlobal orders. We cannot make changes to orders.

I have two or more children who need to receive their I-20. Can I use the same eShipGlobal shipping?

No, OIS ships each I-20 separately.

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Reviewing your I-20 for Corrections

I received my child’s I-20 but the name or date of birth is entered incorrectly. What do I do?

Contact the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) immediately at ois-cty@jhu.edu to correct the error on your I-20.

I already received my child’s I-20 but my child changed from one CTY site to a different CTY site. What do I do?

If the location for your child’s CTY site has changed (as noted in the comments section of the I-20) but the dates of the program have not changed, the child does not need a new I-20 and can use the existing I-20. JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS) will send you an email to acknowledge the change to the site but will not send a new I-20. In addition, CTY will upload a new course registration assignment letter to your child’s MyCTY account.

I already received my child’s I-20 but my child is now attending a different session of CTY than noted on the I-20 (i.e., changed from session 1 to session 2 or from session 2 to session 1). What do I do?

Take immediate action.  If the session dates have changed, even if you are attending the same location, OIS must issue a new I-20. This also requires a new eShipGlobal order and payment. After receiving your child’s new course registration assignment letter via MyCTY, you must contact ois-cty@jhu.edu to request an updated I-20 containing the new program dates.

I already received my I-20 but my child is now attending both CTY sessions 1 and 2. What do I do?

If your child added session 1 to session 2, take immediate action. Notify OIS at ois-cty@jhu.edu. OIS must issue a new I-20, and you must request and pay for a new shipment order. Log in to iHopkins to submit eShipGlobal Shipment Request e-form. For more Information on shipping, review Shipment of your I-20.

If your child added session 2 to session 1, you must contact ois-cty@jhu.edu to request an extension of your child’s I-20. OIS will process the I-20 extension after the student has arrived in the U.S. The new I-20 will be mailed to your child’s attention at your child’s CTY site address.

Why does my child’s I-20 have a school name and address different from the name of the college and site address listed on my child’s CTY course registration assignment letter?

JHU is the sponsor of your child’s F-1 student visa, and all I-20s issued by JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS) include the JHU name and address in Baltimore. However, your child is attending the college or campus listed on your CTY course registration assignment letter and entered under the “Remarks” section of your child’s I-20.

Why does the course name on my child’s I-20 read “Multi-Interdisciplinary Studies?”

This is the general course registration assignment used by JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS) for all CTY student I-20s. Your child’s actual course is included on your child’s CTY course registration assignment letter.

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Applying for the F-1 visa (after receipt of I-20)

When do I make my child’s visa appointment?

Make a visa appointment for your child at the U.S. embassy/consulate nearest you AFTER you have your child’s original I-20 in your possession. You will also need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at fmjfee.com before making your visa appointment.

How does my child apply for an F-1 visa after receiving the I-20?

Each U.S. consulate has slightly different processes for the DS-160 visa application. You must go to the consulate’s website for specific instructions and details. Go to www.usembassy.gov and find a link to the U.S. embassy/consulate nearest you.

What documents will I need for the F-1 student visa application process?

Documents required with the DS-160 visa application include:

  • Child’s passport valid for at least 6 more months at the time of his/her entry into the U.S.
  • Original I-20 issued by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
  • Original financial documentation that proves you have the ability to pay all CTY expenses.
  • A receipt showing payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee at fmjfee.com.
  • Any other supplemental documentation listed on the U.S. embassy/consulate’s website specific to your country of citizenship or location.

On the DS-160 visa application, you will need both JHU’s F-1 school code (BAL214F00051000) and the child’s SEVIS ID (which will be sent in an email when the I-20 is issued). Both the school code and the SEVIS ID are also printed on the I-20. When applying for your child’s visa, be sure that you specify that you are applying for an F-1 Student Visa, Public or Private College or University, and not for any other visa classification.

What is a DS-160 Application Form?

The DS-160 is the on-line U.S. non-immigrant visa application. Filling out the electronic DS-160 is the first step of the visa application process with the U.S. embassy/consulate. Completing the DS-160 application requires payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee. After you submit the application, you can sign up for the visa interview.

Which address do I list when I complete my child’s DS-160 form?

Enter the campus address for your assigned CTY summer site, available here. If your child is not staying on campus, enter the address of the hotel or host.

Whose name do I list under “U.S. Contact” when I complete my child’s DS-160 visa application?

Enter the name of the OIS staff member who signed your child’s I-20.

What is JHU’s F-1 school code?

JHU’s F-1 school code is BAL214F00051000.

How long does it take to get an appointment for a visa?

Appointment and processing times for visas vary widely. Go to Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Times and check out estimated times for your local embassy or consulate. Note: Check with your local embassy/consulate to find out who should accompany your child to the interview.

What is the SEVIS Fee, or SEVIS I-901 Fee?

The SEVIS Fee is a $200 fee charged to applicants for F-1 student visas. You must pay this fee after the I-20 is issued but before you schedule a visa appointment at the U.S. embassy/consulate. Instructions on the payment of this fee are included in an email from the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) at the time the I-20 is issued.

Note: Print the receipt when you pay this fee. More information (including reprint of SEVIS receipt) is available at fmjfee.com. The SEVIS Fee is different from the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) application fee paid with the DS-160 visa application.

How long does it take to receive my child’s F-1 student visa after the interview?

Appointment and processing times for visas vary widely. Go to Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Times and check out estimated times for your local consulate.

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Special Visa Circumstances

My child is a CTY student from Canada or Bermuda. Does my child need to obtain an F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate?

No. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda (not including Canadian Landed Immigrants) do not need to obtain an actual visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate to attend CTY. However, they must still:

  • Obtain an I-20.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee.
  • Have a passport valid for at least 6 more months at the time of entry to the U.S.

Upon entry to the U.S., students from Canada or Bermuda must present their passport, original I-20 form, original financial documentation, and SEVIS fee receipt to the U.S. border official, and specifically request entry to the U.S. as an F-1 student. Do not enter as a B-1/B-2 visitor or under the Visa Waiver Program, as these are not appropriate immigration statuses for participation in CTY summer programs.

My child has a valid F-1 Visa from previous study in the U.S. (including F-1 visas for former CTY students). Does my child need new documents (F-1 visa, I-20 Form, SEVIS)?

You may use a valid F-1 visa from previous study. However, you must obtain a new I-20 for this year’s CTY program, and you must pay a new SEVIS fee at fmjfee.com to use the new I-20.

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Traveling to the U.S. with an F-1 Student Visa to Attend CTY

How early can my child enter the U.S. with the F-1 visa for CTY study?

Students may enter up to 30 days before the “Program Start Date” as it appears on their I-20.  F-1 students may not enter the U.S. prior to the “Earliest Admission Date” stated on their I-20, which is 30 days prior to the “Program Start Date.”

The U.S. border official should deny entry to students who attempt to enter any earlier than the “Earliest Admission Date.” Also, ensure your child does not use the Visa Waiver Program, B-1/B-2 visa, or any visa other than the F-1 student visa to enter the U.S.

My child plans to enter the U.S. and subsequently travel outside the U.S. (including trips to Canada or Mexico) before reporting to CTY. Whom do I need to contact?

If your child plans to enter the U.S. and subsequently travel outside the U.S. (including to Canada and Mexico) before he or she reports to their CTY program site, contact the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) at ois-cty@jhu.edu to discuss options BEFORE TRAVEL.

What are the travel documents my child needs when entering the U.S.?

Students must carry the following documents on their person when entering the U.S. Do not pack original versions of these items in checked luggage.

  • A passport valid for at least 6 more months at the time of entry to the U.S.
  • Valid F-1 student visa (visa not required for citizens of Canada and Bermuda).
  • Original JHU I-20.
  • The SEVIS (I-901) payment receipt.

Also recommended: copies of financial documentation.

Carry these with you onto the airplane (or vehicle if travelling by land). Do not pack them in checked luggage. Luggage will not be available until after you have passed through the U.S. immigration inspection point.

May my child use photocopies of his or her travel documents when entering the U.S.?

No. Ensure the student carries all required original travel documents with him/her for presentation at the U.S. immigration inspection point. DO NOT PACK THESE DOCUMENTS IN CHECKED LUGGAGE. Photocopies of travel documents cannot be used to cross the U.S. border.

What should I do if there are problems at the border?

Remain calm. Students will first pass through primary inspection. Many individuals are sent to secondary inspection for clarification of issues that arise in primary inspection. Even if the student is sent to secondary inspection, the border officers will try to resolve the problem and admit the student as quickly as possible.

Students who have problems at the border may ask the border official to call the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) with questions.

Call +1-667-208-7001 during regular office hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time)

Call +1-443-240-1938 outside regular office hours for emergencies only.

How long can my child stay in the U.S. with their F-1 student visa after completing the CTY program?

Your child may stay in the U.S. for up to 60 days after their CTY program is complete. However, the child may not depart and reenter the U.S. during this time. Contact ois-cty@jhu.edu for guidance if you have any questions.

Can my child use their F-1 student visa to travel outside the U.S. and then return after completing the CTY program, even within 60 days?

No. Your child may stay in the U.S. for up to 60 days after their program is over but the child may not travel outside the U.S. and return using the JHU I-20. This includes any travel to Canada or Mexico. If your child wishes to travel outside the U.S. and return after completing the CTY program, the child must present a valid B-1/B-2 visitor visa to the border official or qualify for entry under the Visa Waiver Program. Contact ois-cty@jhu.edu for guidance if you have any questions.

My child is going directly from CTY to another program of study in the U.S. What do I need to do?

If your child is going directly from CTY to another program of study in the U.S., a transfer of your child’s F-1 student SEVIS record may be required. Please contact the JHU Office of International Services at ois-cty@jhu.edu for details.

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List of Frequently Used Immigration Terms or Acronyms

For your convenience, this is a list of common terms found at various steps of the immigration process:

  • I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. It is issued by JHU’s Office of International Services (OIS) and is used to obtain an F-1 visa
  • F-1 Student Status: the nonimmigrant status designation reserved for international students who are attending an academic program in the U.S., including CTY summer programs
  • I-94: Admission/Departure Record issued upon entry to the U.S. More information about the I-94 is available available online
  • F-1 Visa: The F-1 visa stamp placed in your passport at the U.S. embassy/consulate that allows you to enter the U.S. in F-1 student status
  • DS-160: Nonimmigrant visa application form required to obtain F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate
  • OIS: Johns Hopkins University Office of International Services
  • DSO: Designated School Official
  • USCIS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • CBP: Customs and Border Protection
  • DHS: Department of Homeland Security
  • DOS: Department of State
  • POE: Port of Entry
  • SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
  • SEVP: Student and Exchange Visitor Program

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More Help

Whom do I contact at CTY for questions about visas?

CTY works with the JHU Office of International Services (OIS) regarding visa and immigration matters. Send all questions about visas and immigration status to OIS at ois-cty@jhu.edu. Please use this email address only for visa/immigration-related questions. Read all materials sent to you from OIS, including this FAQ, before sending individual questions. Allow at least two working days for a response from OIS.

For non-visa matters, email ctyinfo@jhu.edu for information.

What is CTY’s refund policy in case a student visa application is denied?

Denial rates are very small and are governed by U.S. law and practice. In case a student visa is denied at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate and you do not wish to reapply (and pay corresponding visa fees), a refund of payments to CTY will be granted in accordance with CTY's refund policy. Neither the Johns Hopkins Office of International Services (OIS) nor CTY control this. CTY does not refund any visa expenses. If your visa is denied and you wish to reapply, contact ois-cty@jhu.edu to discuss your case.

I completed my request for an I-20 via my iHopkins account but have not received a response from the JHU Office of International Services (OIS). What should I do?

Before contacting OIS, please verify these steps:

  1. Check your spam email folder for the email from OIS that confirms successful completion and submission of the I-20 request. If you received the confirmation email, please
    • add OIS to your friends list; and
    • allow at least two weeks before contacting OIS for an update on processing of your I-20.
  2. If you do not see a confirmation email from OIS in your spam email folder, please
    • log in to your iHopkins account to verify that you have completed all the required fields, uploaded the required documents, and selected the “submit” button; and,
    • confirm that you have set up your eShipGlobal account and mailing order.
  3. If you have correctly completed all requirements above and still have not received a confirmation email, there may be a system problem. Please contact ois-cty@jhu.edu and inquire about the status of your I-20.

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