This information is for people who
plan to enter the United States for the first time to study. For information on
bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to continue studies, or renewing your
visa, or for more details on how to apply for a student visa, refer to the U.S. Department
1. Contact your local U.S.
Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1 international student
2. After you receive an I-20 form from the school that you
want to attend, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an
interview for your F-1 student visa. It is important to apply for your student
visa as far in advance as possible. 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.
3. Pay the visa application fee
by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy's or Consulate's web
4. If your I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004,
and is marked for “initial" attendance (see #3 on your I-20 form), you
will also need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
5. Complete the following
- DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant
a male between the ages of 16 and 45, DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa
To Pay By Mail
- Get a Form I-901
“Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants."
- Download the I-901
- Ask for the form by phone at 800.870.3676 (inside the
- Complete the Form I-901. Be sure to write
your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
- Prepare a check, international money
order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only1) in the amount of $200 USD, made
payable to “The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and
- Many foreign banks are able to issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S.
bank. You may therefore obtain a check from a bank chartered or operated in the
United States, a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank, or a foreign bank that has
an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft
that is drawn on a U.S. bank
- Mail the completed I-901 and
payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
- A Form I-797
receipt confirmation letter should be mailed within 3 days of processing the
fee. Be sure to make copies of this receipt letter, and keep it with your other
important immigration documents.
To Pay Online
- Find the I-901
- Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa,
MasterCard or American Express information. *Be sure to write your name exactly
how it appears on your I-20 form.
- Print a copy of the online receipt.
- Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and keep it with your other
important immigration documents
- You must bring the receipt of fee
payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa
Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her database.
- If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for
an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the
last twelve months, you do not need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
6. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
passport valid for at least six months
- Form I-20 (sign the form under
- School admission letter
- Completed visa applications
(DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
- Two 2"x 2" photographs in
- 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.
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
7. Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer's
questions to you openly and honestly.