All international students are required to get a Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20 from the University in order to attend classes in the United States. As a Canadian Citizen, you will not need to apply for an F-1 student visa in addition to the I-20. However, students that are permanent residents of Canada and are not Canadian citizens will need to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate once they have applied for and received their I-20 from the University.
I-20 Application Process
- Once you have been accepted to Niagara University, complete and return the I-20 Application. This should be included in your acceptance package and is also available on this site. Make sure to sign the application and include all necessary documents (ex: copy of passport, financial documents).
- When the application and all necessary documents are received, a Designated School Official (DSO) will issue your I-20. The I-20 will be mailed to the address indicated on the application or you will be notified that the document is available for you to pick up at the school.
- Upon receipt of your I-20 you will need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee to the U.S. government and print the receipt. Instructions for payment are included with your I-20.
- You will then need to bring the receipt, your I-20 and all attached documentation, and your passport to U.S. Customs for processing. This cannot be done more than 30 days before the start date of your program. Your I-20 can be processed while entering the U.S. at any bridge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More detailed instructions on processing your I-20 will also be included with your I-20.
*Please Note: After your I-20 has been processed, during the first week of classes, you will need to complete the International Student Check-in process. Bring your I-20, passport, and the completed International Student Check-In form (included with your I-20 document) to the Records Office. At that time (and not before classes start) the DSO will sign the 3rd page of your I-20 and register with SEVIS (the system linked with the U.S. Government for international student tracking) that you have arrived at the campus and begun classes for the semester (you must be registered for classes before the check-in process can be completed). This check-in process must be completed during the first week of every semester.
Special Regulations for Canadian Students
- Citizens and permanent residents of Canada are allowed to attend classes on a part-time basis. However, part-time status needs prior approval by the DSO and your Dean's office as not all programs are appropriate for part-time students. Part-time students will need to submit new financial documents to the DSO every semester in order to receive a new I-20 for that semester. *Keep in mind that part-time students may not be eligible for all benefits available to full-time F-1 students.* Please consult the DSO before dropping to part-time status!
- Citizens and permanent residents of Canada are not required to live in the U.S. while attending school. If you are maintaining a residence in Canada and do not wish to maintain a residence in the U.S. you are considered a border commuter student. If you choose to occasionally spend the night in the US between classes, but do not maintain an apartment or other residence in the U.S. you would still be considered a commuter student. You will be asked to indicate your residency preference on your I-20 application. *Please note that commuter students are not eligible to work in the U.S.*