The University of Florida International Center (UFIC) is always excited that students and scholars from around the globe have chosen UF as the place where they will enhance their academic and professional backgrounds.  Our international students and scholars serve as representatives from 154 countries, essentially bringing the world to our campus!  In turn, the International Center aims to assist students and scholars as they make the transition from their homeland to the United States, and adjust to life at the University of Florida. Oftentimes students and scholars are accompanied on their journey by their families and we are committed to welcoming them not only into our center, but also into the Gainesville community.

The presence of international students, scholars, and professors is the essential vehicle needed to promote cultural exchange, mutual enrichment, and connections between educational institutions in the U.S. and those of other countries.  All of these tenets are important for achieving the university’s mission of global engagement.  Most of our international students come to campus to study using an F-1 visa; some may come using a J-1 visa, depending on the requirements of their financial sponsors. For people interested in coming to UF to teach, conduct research, or complete required internships, the J-1 visa is appropriate and there are numerous categories under which such activities may be pursued. The chart below will help the reader gain some understanding of the sub-categories available under each of the visa types the University of Florida is approved to host.

The International Center serves as a central resource for students and scholars regarding interpretation of federal regulations affecting their visa status, while also working closely with academic units across campus to ensure the successful completion of the academic objective, within the legal parameters.  The information herein is designed to help international students and scholars gain a more thorough understanding of the visa requirements, as well as resources and benefits they are eligible for during their stay in the United States.

Of course, we are here to offer advice and assistance for anyone needing further guidance.  Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm, and we are located in the HUB on campus.  Feel free to visit anytime, the UFIC is here to help you!

The University of Florida sponsors the following visa categories:

F-1 Categories
Degree Seeking Student A student admitted to pursue a Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree program, on a full time basis.
Certificate Student A student accepted by an academic department to enroll in a full time program, approved for F-1 student enrollment, which will lead to the attainment of a specific educational or professional objective, and culminating in a certificate with the seal of the University of Florida. The student is accepted on a non-degree seeking basis.
J-1 Categories
Professor An individual primarily engaged in teaching, lecturing, observing, or consulting. A professor may also conduct research as long as research is not the primary objective. The exchange visitor cannot be a candidate for a tenure-accruing position. Maximum duration is up to 5 years.
Research Scholar An individual primarily conducting research, observing, or consulting in connection with a research program. A research scholar may also teach or lecture as long as teaching or lecturing is not the primary objective. Maximum duration is up to 5 years.
Short-term Scholar An individual engaged in conducting research, observing, consulting, teaching, training, or lecturing for a period of six months or less.
Student Intern An individual currently pursuing a degree at their home institution who is seeking to complete a required internship as part of the current degree requirements. Maximum duration is up to 12 months.
Degree Seeking Student All admitted degree seeking students whose funding source requires or whose funding source qualifies may utilize the J-1 student visa category.
Non-Degree Student All Partner School Exchange Students will be sponsored under this category unless they are degree seeking students. Approved general non-degree students and students under current UF cooperative agreements (MOU) will utilize the Non-Degree Student category. Maximum duration is up to 24 months.
Other Visa Categories
Students who study at the University of Florida in another non-immigrant visa category may be required to change to an F-1/J-1 student visa category. This is particularly true for dependent children when approaching the age of 21. A change of status application for a dependent child would need to be filed prior to the 21stbirthday. In some cases, dependent spouses may also need to seek a change in their visa category. The UFIC will be able to advise that individual on the options available for a visa category change if one is needed. Visa statues of Permanent Resident, H-1B, O-1, TN, E-3, EB-1 and EB-2 are handled by UF Immigration Compliance Services located at the main UF Human Resources Building.