Visa Hub

What is a Visa?

Nonresident immigrants are required to obtain a visa before they are allowed to take classes in the US. There are many types of visas, but only certain classifications allow non-resident immigrants to participate in academic courses while in the US. You may find a list of visa classifications and what visa types can study in the states here.

Sacred Heart is certified to issue a form I-20, a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, for academic or F1 students. An I-20 is necessary to apply for an F1 student visa. After you have been accepted into a program at Sacred Heart, you will be issued a form I20.  With an I20, you are able to apply for a student visa.

Types of Students

There are three types of F1 international student admissions. These are initial status students, transfer students and change of status students. Learn more about each of these types below.


Initial Status Students

Initial status students are students that do not have a valid F1 visa. Unless you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda, you will need to complete the entire visa application process. Once accepted into a program, you will have a form I20 as initial status student. You can then complete an application for a nonimmigrant visa, form DS-160. This form can be completed online.

Once you have submitted your form DS-160, and paid the application fee, you can then contact your nearest US Embassy to schedule a visa interview. Our International Student Services Specialist will provide you a guide use as you begin your visa application process.


Transfer Students

Once you have been accepted into your transfer school, send your acceptance letter to your current PDSO/DSO, SEVIS Coordinator or Advisor. She/he will work with your transferring school to have your SEVIS record moved. Once this has been done, your transfer school will manage your SEVIS record for you.

At SHSST, transfer students are asked to sign and complete a Transfer Form.  Students complete the same form if they are transferring in, or plan to transfer to another school. This form is found in the SHSST Portal, for existing students, or may be requested by email.


Change of Status Student

If you are in the US and have a valid visa and would like to change your visa type to a student visa, you may apply for a change of status. To do this, you must complete form I 765. The request will be reviewed by the United States Customs and Immigration Services. This form may be completed on line.

Preparing for your Visa Interview

1. Familiarize yourself with all of the documents in your visa packet
2. Know the name and contact information for your sponsor
3. Know the full name of the seminary, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, in Hales Corners, Wisconsin
4. Be prepared to provide a reason for traveling to the US
5. Know the name, start and end date of your program
6. Have the address of where you will stay while in the USA

a. Collect and bring documents that show ties to your home country:
b. Driver license, vehicle registration and insurance if applicable
c. Letters of support from your sponsor, parish or order
d. Bank statements from the past 3 months
e. A letter about any service or leadership ministry you are involved in

7. Make sure to have original documents, photo copies are not acceptable

Immigration Resources

Study in the States: Comprehensive information for students seeking to apply for and maintain a student visa

Changes to the 901 Payment confirmation information: Email with your SEVIS number (found on form I20)

Department of Executive branch of the US government, responsible for creating foreign policy.

US Embassy info by country: Lists US embassies by country. Visa interviews are held at embassies. Visit the US embassy website to find hours, policies and forms.

SEVP Overview:


A full guide for applying for your visa may be found HERE.