Immigration and Visas

Part of the global Roman Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology (SHSST) forms men from all over the world to become priests and help heal our fractured world. Over 20% of our seminarians are in the U.S. with a student visa. We are proud to have such a large and growing international student population.


The Student and Visitor Exchange Program (SEVP) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that governs the immigration process for non-resident immigrants who want to study in the US. SHSST is a SEVP certified school, which allows us to admit international students into our formation and degree programs. As a SEVP school, SHSST can issue international students a form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20). With an I-20, international students are able to apply for an F1 student visa.


Immigration is commonly considered a legal issue. SEVP policies, however, are aimed at schools. Although our sponsors have very qualified and capable attorneys, we have found that immigration lawyers are often unfamiliar with SEVP rules. The process of obtaining a student visa can be challenging, especially when students are often a long distance from their sponsors and experience language barriers. It is important to know the steps and to be properly prepared for the visa interview, or risk having their visa denied.


Sacred Heart’s Intercultural Preparation for Ministry Department (IPM) supports international students from the time they apply through their post-graduation vocational placement. Our International Student Services Specialist (ISSS) is our Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), receiving specialized training with SEVP and SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. Part of IPM, our International Student Services Specialist reviews international student applications, provides guidance for students, and informs sponsors of immigration guidelines and policies. These are just some ways Sacred Hearts supports our international students and sponsors. Learn about more resources below.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact us at

Immigration Connection 

Realizing an opportunity to do things better, in 2021 Sacred Heart made staff and procedural changes to better support international students and sponsors. With the help of our International Student Services Specialist, we then launched the Immigration Connection. Immigration Connection has improved our sponsors’ experience with increased communication and enhanced transparency when sponsoring international seminarians. Learn more about Immigration Connection HERE.

International Student Hub

The International Student Hub lists information and resources for our international students. From how to pack to possible academic accommodations, students can find answers to frequent questions at the International Student Hub.

Visit the International Student Hub HERE.

Visa Hub

For information about visas and immigration requirements, students can visit the Visa Hub. In the hub, students will find up-to-date news on immigration rules and guidelines. They will also find links to advocates and resources for international students. Visit the Visa Hub HERE.