UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Visa Processing FAQ

Q: What documents must be submitted before the MBA International Student Advisor may issue Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (the visa eligibility document)? 
A: A completed Financial Certificate with supporting documents that show sufficient funding for the program must be submitted before the MBA International Student Advisor will issue an I-20 or DS-2019 for a new student. These documents may not be submitted until the student is fully admitted to the program. 

NOTE: After you are admitted to the program, you should submit your Financial Certificate and supporting documents online through your ConnectCarolina Student Center. You will need to log in at connectcarolina.unc.edu with your Onyen and password. Required materials will be listed on your To-Do List until you submit them. You will electronically upload your documents directly to the items on your To-Do List.

Q: What types of documents are appropriate for verifying sufficient funds on the Financial Certificate?
A: The MBA International Student Advisor will accept scanned copies of original bank statements or original, official bank letters that meet the following criteria:

  • The document is in English.
  • The date of the document is not older than 6 months.
  • The currency type is clearly indicated by the banking institution.
  • The bank account holder's name matches the student's name or the financial sponsor's name (as listed on the sponsor letter).
  • The document is on official bank letterhead or has an official banking institution stamp or banking institution representative's signature.

The MBA International Student Advisor will not accept bank statements from financial sponsors without a corresponding letter of financial support.

Q: If I am using the Discover International Student Loan, how do I document this on my Financial Certificate?
A: A loan approval letter is sent to the student after the loan application is completed (students request the loan approval document directly from the lender). A copy of this letter may be included with the Financial Certificate.

Q: When will I receive my visa eligibility document?
A: The processing time for the visa eligibility document is about 3 weeks from the time that complete documentation (Financial Certificate with approved supporting documents) is received by the MBA International Student Advisor.

Q: How can I speed up the processing of my visa eligibility document?
Many students express concerns over the time-consuming process of obtaining a student visa, especially due to the advent of security clearances at the U.S. embassies. Please understand that the MBA International Student Advisor processes hundreds of immigration documents. Inquiries regarding the status of your immigration document take away from time spent processing documents. Please limit your email inquiries. However, if you have a special concern, please contact Jessica Larsen at Jessica_Larsen@kenan-flagler.unc.edu with your admission questions.

If you are concerned about the visa process, please schedule an appointment with the consulate. If your visa eligibility document has NOT arrived by the time of your appointment, you may reschedule the appointment.

The embassy or consulate may require that you already have the I-20 or DS-2019 in order to make an appointment. Please allow our office adequate time for its preparation. It is our goal to assist students as quickly as possible, but also to prepare visa eligibility documents in the order in which complete Financial Certificates have been received by our office.

Q: How can I have my visa eligibility document express mailed to my home?
A: Students must sign-up online through eShip Global to have documents express mailed to them and will be responsible for shipping fees. For complete instructions on how to use this service, students should refer to the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website at http://isss.unc.edu/newstudent/step4/. Students will need to complete the “student sign up” if they have not previously used eShip Global, then follow the instructions to enter the send to address and billing info. Students should select ISSS as the sending organization.

Q: What do I do once I receive my visa eligibility document from UNC-Chapel Hill?
Once you have received your visa eligibility document from UNC-Chapel Hill, you will be ready to apply for your F-1 or J-1 visa stamp. You must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (www.fmjfee.com) prior to your visa appointment (this fee is $200 for F-1 students and $180 for J-1 students).

Q: I am in the U.S. in a visa category other than F-1 or J-1, and I am NOT interested in obtaining a visa eligibility document from UNC-Chapel Hill. Do I still need to complete the Financial Certificate?

A: Yes, all international students are required to fill out a Financial Certificate even if they are not requesting a visa eligibility document from UNC-Chapel Hill. However, students who will study at UNC-Chapel Hill in a status other than F-1 or J-1 are responsible for filling out PAGE ONE ONLY. Students should submit copies of their current immigration documents with the Financial Certificate. This includes students that are pending permanent residency in the U.S. The information that the student provides on page one of the Financial Certificate assists ISSS in keeping accurate records on our student population and assists us in advising students about their immigration status.

Q: I am currently in the U.S. in a visa category other than F-1 or J-1 and I am interested in changing my status to F-1 or J-1. What are the options and procedures for changing my status?
A: There are two manners by which you may change your immigration status.

Change status by traveling: You will need to depart the U.S. and re-enter the country in F-1 or J-1 status. This will require you to receive an initial I-20 or DS-2019 from UNC-Chapel Hill, which you will take to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a US embassy. ISSS recommends that you apply in your home country or country of permanent residency. 

Change status within the U.S.: You will need to submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting a change from your current non-immigrant status to F-1 or J-1. With this option you do NOT need to depart the country. Instead you will pay a fee to USCIS and submit Form I-539 along with supporting application materials for review and approval by USCIS. Be aware that adjudication of the application may take several months. Please contact Jessica Larsen at Jessica_Larsen@kenan-flagler.unc.edu if you plan to apply for a change of status within the U.S. You will be provided a checklist and instructions for changing your status.

Q: After arriving in the U.S. what do I need to bring to “check-in” (report to my U.S. school)?
Check-in is required for all international students, even students that are not receiving a visa eligibility document from UNC-Chapel Hill. Failing to check-in with the MBA International Student Advisor may result in the termination of your SEVIS record (which will invalidate your legal status in the U.S.).

All MBA international students will complete check-in at the Welcome Session corresponding with the start of their program (ASW or Fall). At this time you will also participate in the Immigration Orientation session given by the MBA International Student Advisor.

Please bring the following documents with you to the Welcome Session to complete check-in. If you have dependents with you in the U.S. (spouse and/or children), bring the following documents for each of them as well:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Passport
  • F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (in passport) if applicable
  • I-94 admission record showing you entered the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status (you must print this document at www.cbp.gov/i94) OR USCIS approval notice showing you have changed status within the U.S. to F-1 or J-1

If in a visa category other than F-1 or J-1, bring any and all documents to verify your current status.


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