The information presented here will help you understand your responsibilities in obtaining F-1 Student status. 

There are four (4) important steps to obtaining student visa status:

  1. Once you have received your I-20 in the mail you need to pay your SEVIS fee

  2. Fill out Visa application, pay fee and contact your local United States Embassy or Consulate for an interview

  3. Prepare for your interview

  4. Don't forget anything! - Print out our helpful check list to make sure you are prepared when you travel! 

1) Paying the SEVIS Fee

In 2004, Congress mandated all international students and exchange visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, which funds the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and SEVIS. This fee is separate from visa fees and school SEVIS administration fees.

To Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee visit:

For a tutorial on paying the fee please visit:

2) Fill out Visa Application and contact your local United States Embassy or Consulate for an Interview (There may be a visa application fee)

Make an appointment at your local US Embassy or Consulate for your student visa interview (Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews) 

The following websites will help you find your local embassy or consulate:

Complete your online DS-160 visa application,

 Get a list of all required documents you must bring, and

 Schedule your visa interview appointment.

** helpful link: Plan ahead - Be sure to know the wait time to schedule a student visa interview by visiting:

3) Go to your Visa Interview

Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following: 

  • A passport valid for at least six months

  • Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)

  • School admission letter

  • Completed visa applications (DS 160, DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)

  • Two 2"x 2" photographs in the prescribed format

  • A receipt for the visa application fee

  • A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.

  • Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.

  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the United States. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

    ** Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer's questions to you openly and honestly.

For more information about preparing for our interview visit

4) Get ready to Travel!!!

Print out our helpful check list to make sure you have all your documents when you travel!

Check List

*** Please remember to travel no more than 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20

For more information on submitting a student visa application, visit the official Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website Travel.State.Gov. 

On to the next step! Complete the New Student Survey