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Please make sure you read this page thoroughly and apply for the appropriate visa.

Do I need visa?

Everyone entering the United States needs visa, but the type of visa may differ depending on your program choice and country of origin.

  • Global Certificate Program: Visitor Visa
  • Global Academic Program & Intensive English Program: Student Visa 
  • Online Program: Not eligible for a student visa for summer study

Global Certificate Program

Countries with Visa Waiver Program

Individuals holding a passport from any of the countries below may visit under the Visa Waiver Program.

Check your country

Citizens and nationals from the above listed countries can enter and stay for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. In order to travel without a visa on the Visa Waiver Program, you must have authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier. ESTA is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) automated web-based system to determine eligibility to travel without a visa to the United States for tourism or business.

Apply for ESTA

Countries without Visa Waiver Program

Travelers with a passport from any other country must obtain a B-1 (Business) or B-2 (Tourism and Visit) Visitor Visa in advance. Follow the link to learn more.

Apply for a Visitor Visa

Global Academic Program and Intensive English Program

International Students admitted into a full-time academic program at Stony Brook University must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20) to enter the U.S. in F-1 Student status.  The Form I-20 is used to apply for a student visa (F-1) at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Please note that not all visa types are appropriate for study and GSI does not issue I-20s for change of status.

Students requiring an I-20 must login to accessVIS to complete and submit the electronic "Request for an I-20" form.  Full instructions, including Student ID Number and Limited Access PIN will be emailed to you upon acceptance into your GSI program.

To be eligible for a Form I-20 you must provide a copy of your passport (must be valid for at least 6-months into the future) and proof of financial eligibility. All students are required to upload sufficient proof of liquid funds that meet or exceed the estimated educational and living expenses. Documentation of funding must be provided on official letterhead (with a translation in English if applicable), include the amount of funding available in U.S. dollars, and cannot be more than six months old.

Upon receipt of your Form I-20, follow the steps below to apply for your student visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country:​

  1. Pay the SEVIS fee at
  2. Schedule an appointment with a U.S. Embassy/Consulate -
  3. Take your SBU I-20, letter of admission, valid passport, SEVIS fee receipt, MRV (visa application) fee receipt, passport style photos (if applicable), and financial documents to your visa interview appointment.

It is strongly recommended that you check the U.S. Consulate/Embassy's website where you will apply for a visa for a list of required documents, as requirements may differ from country to country.