Step 1: Submit the VIDOF with Required Documents and Obtain your Form I-20/DS-2019
International students must submit the electronic VIDOF (Visa Information/Declaration of Finances) and required supporting documents to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) or the appropriate Brandeis Admissions Office to obtain an immigration document to apply for a student visa. The VIDOF collects the necessary information for the ISSO to prepare and issue a Certificate of Eligibility, Form I-20 (for F-1 status) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 Status.)
Students admitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), International Business School, and undergraduate students will receive an email from the ISSO inviting them to complete the VIDOF in the ISSO Portal. Students admitted to the Heller School will receive instructions from the Heller Admissions Office to complete the VIDOF. Undergraduate Exchange Students will receive instructions from the Study Abroad Office.
Required Supporting Documents
Submit a copy of your Passport Page(s) that include(s) your photo and validity date(s).
If you have a spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21 accompanying you to the U.S. and you are requesting visas for your family member(s), please complete the Dependent Section on the VIDOF and submit a copy of each dependent's valid passport and additional financial support.
Students requesting a Form I-20 to obtain F-1 status must provide additional proof of financial support for one year in the amount of $9,600 per dependent.
Students requesting a Form DS-2019 to obtain J-1 status must provide additional proof of financial support in the amount of $9,600 per dependent per year for the duration of their academic program.
Note: Students should anticipate that $9,600 is the minimum estimated dependent cost per year for each dependent. Actual Dependent costs may be higher depending on lifestyle choices. For more information on dependents, please see the dependent information on the Visa Categories page.
If you are coming to Brandeis from another U.S. school, after completing a previous degree program, as a continuing student, or coming from a period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT), you will need to request SEVIS Transfer from your previous school. Please see SEVIS Transfer-In for F-1 Visa Holders for more information.
U.S. immigration regulations require Brandeis University to verify that international students issued documentation for F-1 or J-1 status have documented proof of funding to study at Brandeis. If you are a new student, follow the instructions on the VIDOF to determine the amount of funding required for your specific degree program.
If you are either a new student or a continuing student all funding documents must meet the following requirements:
- Total funds must equal or exceed the estimated expenses of your degree program (including tuition, fees, and living expenses for yourself and any dependents)
- F-1 students are required to provide proof of funding for at least one full academic year.
- J-1 students are required to provide proof funding for the entire duration of their academic program. To apply for a J-1 visa at least 51% of funding must be from sources other than personal or family/friends. This does not apply to students who are requesting a J-1 visa for exchange programs or J-1 students who are sponsored by organizations other than Brandeis.
- Financial documents must be in English or accompanied by an official English translation
- Financial documents must be dated within the past 12 months (for continuing students) or within 12 months from the program start date (for new students.)
- Funds must be liquid/available (not frozen) assets and transferable to the U.S.
Acceptable Sources for Funding
- Checking or savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates/term deposits/fixed deposits (with maturity dates no later than the program start date or stating that funds can be withdrawn at any time), educational loans (a loan application is not sufficient), benevolent accounts, and scholarships.
NOT Acceptable Sources of Funding
- Investments, property, salary statements, income tax forms, Public Provident Funds, material items, credit card statements, and retirement programs.
To avoid processing delays, be sure that the documents you provide meet all of the above requirements.
Types of Funding Documents
Students may submit any of the following documents, or a combination of the documents, as proof of funding:
- Bank Statement(s) or Bank Letter(s): Bank statements or letters must be dated and include the account holder(s) name(s), account balance, balance date, and currency type. Bank documents cannot be dated more than 12 months from the intended date of enrollment at Brandeis. Bank documents that verify that an account holder is "in good standing" but do not indicate a specific minimum balance will not be sufficient.
- Financial Sponsorship Letter: If the bank statement/letter which provides proof of funding belongs to anyone other than the student, it must be accompanied by a Financial Sponsorship letter. The requirements for the letter are below:
- Letter must be dated and signed
- Include the full name of the individual sponsoring the student
- Include the relationship of the sponsor to the student (i.e. parent, spouse, etc.)
- Include the full name of the student being sponsored
- Include that the student is attending Brandeis University
- Include a statement that the individual is willing to sponsor the student for a specified amount per year.
You can create your own letter with the above requirements or download our sample letter as a guide.
- Award/Scholarship Letter: An official Award Letter from any organization granting you a scholarship or loan, must include your name, the date, the terms of the award/scholarship, and the exact amount of the award. If you are using a loan as proof of funding, your loan(s) must be approved.
Students may be required to provide all of the original financial support documentation and support letters to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate when applying for a visa. They may also be asked to provide these original documents to the immigration officer at the port of entry to the United States.
If you have questions or issues with accessing the online VIDOF, please contact the appropriate office.
For Undergraduate students, GSAS students, Heller students, and International Business School students, contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).
For Undergraduate Exchange students, contact the Office of Study Abroad.
If your VIDOF is complete and you have shown proof of adequate financial support you will be issued a Form I-20.
Quick Facts About Form I-20
- Check the Form I-20 for accuracy. If you find an error contact the ISSO so that your Form can be corrected before your visa interview.
- The "SEVIS Identification Number" starts with “N” and is located at the top corner of Form 1-20.
- The major listed on Form I-20 is a description and code provided by the Department of Education and may vary slightly from the name of the actual Brandeis major. The minor variation in wording has no impact on your visa application.
- Form I-20 indicates the estimated length of your degree program.
- Sign and date Form I-20 at the bottom of page one.
- The "Initial Attendance" Form I-20 is signed on page one by an ISSO Advisor. The travel signature line on page two is not signed. This line will only be signed after you enter the U.S., are granted F-1 status and are enrolled full-time.
If your VIDOF is complete and you have shown proof of adequate financial support you will be issued a Form DS-2019.
Quick Facts about Your Form DS-2019
Check Form DS-2019 for accuracy. If you find an error contact the ISSO so that your Form can be corrected before your visa interview.
The "SEVIS Identification Number" starts with “N” and is located at the top right corner of Form DS-2019.
The major listed on Form DS-2019, Section#4, is a description and code provided by the Department of Education and may vary slightly from the name of the actual Brandeis major. The minor variation in wording has no impact on your visa application.
Form DS-2019 indicates the estimated length of your degree program.
Sign, add the place, and date Form DS-2019 at the bottom of page one.
Form DS-2019 is signed by an ISSO Advisor. The travel signature section in the lower right corner of the Form is not signed. This section will only be completed after you enter the U.S., are granted J-1 status, and are enrolled full-time.
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