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International, Financial Guarantee, and GISAL Information

The international visa process begins immediately after admission and is completely separate from the admission process.   Visa and financial guarantee questions may be sent to our Visa Section at

Visa process review:   

  1. After official admission, the Graduate College will send an email to the student with instructions on how to request an I-20 form.  This email is viewable to departments on the student's timeline in GradSlate.  If a student is requesting an I-20, they will be directed to create an account in UA International where they will enter personal information, upload their passport, funding documents, declaration of support (if sponsored by family or friend), and identify dependents, if applicable.  Please note:  Students who are requesting J1 visa documents or currently hold visas issued by the University of Arizona will be issued documents from the International Student Services office and will be notified accordingly.  

  2. If departmental funding is awarded a GISAL will be required (see below.)   The student will be asked to provide UA International with the name and email address of the person who will be preparing the GISAL. This information will prompt an email to be sent to the GISAL contact with a fillable GISAL form and a unique link to UA International where the completed form can be uploaded.  It is very important that the department give the student accurate contact information about who will prepare the GISAL.

  3. After all uploads are complete and reviewed, most I-20 visa documents are prepared in the Graduate College.  When ready for mailing, the Visa Section will email the student (and copy the department) to notify them that their I-20 and admission packet is ready for express mailing through the eShipGlobal website at

  4. Students must then register with eShipGlobal where they will enter their home country address information, choose their express mail provider (FedEx, UPS, or DHL), and make payment for their package delivery.  Completion of this process prompts a shipping label and pick-up notification in the Graduate College where we will release the package to the chosen shipping company. 

  5. The student will be required to present their I-20 form, financial documents including their printed GISAL from the Graduate College, and any other supporting documents to the United States Consular officials at their visa appointment.  If the I-20 visa appointment is successful, they will receive an F1 student visa to study in the United States.  

Financial Guarantee form

The Financial Guarantee form lists valuable information regarding acceptable forms of funding sources, amounts required for dependents, program fees, sponsor information, etc.

Funding combinations

Note that any combination of personal, private, family, or departmental funding can be used to satisfy the financial guarantee requirement.  If private funding is used to obtain an I-20 and department or sponsor information becomes available later, the Visa Section will not re-issue the I-20 with the new funding source.  Rather, the student should present any additional new financial information to the consular office at their visa appointment.

GISAL form

A GISAL is a Graduate International Student Award Letter that officially notifies our office, the U.S. Consulate, and the Social Security Administration of any departmental funding you are awarding to international students.  A GISAL should only be completed for an international student who is being offered departmental funding and only after you have received an official GISAL upload request from the Graduate College.  If a department is funding a student in any way (Teaching or Research Assistant, Fellowship, Scholarship, etc.) a GISAL is required. 

It is critical that the department give the student accurate contact information about who will prepare the GISAL. 

Official Graduate College letterhead has been added to the GISAL so it is no longer necessary to print and scan the form.  Please enter all the required data (including the FTE dropdown box, if applicable), sign the form electronically, and "save as" a (Last Name_First Name_SID#) pdf to upload. 

The Graduate College will print the uploaded color form and include it with the student’s I-20 packet for use at their U.S. Consular visa appointment and their Social Security Administration appointment.

Mandatory International Orientation

New international students are required to register for and attend the International Student Services (ISS) 2-day orientation program before registering for classes. Registration and more information is available on the ISS website. The ISS Orientation is separate from the GPSC Graduate Orientation.

International students beginning in a Summer session are subject to additional summer fees listed on the Financial Guarantee form. 


Last updated 6 Nov 2018