Visa Information

Applying for a Visa

Most students coming to study in the United States will need an F-1 Student Visa. It is very important to apply for your visa as early as possible and to make sure you bring all appropriate documents with you at the time of entry into the United States.

A foreign national who wishes to study in the US must apply for an F-1 Student Visa and be a full-time student. Instructions for the applications of an F-1 Student Visa can be found online at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website. When applying for a visa, an applicant must present the following:

  1. An I-20 form
  2. Proof of payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee
  3. A valid passport for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay
  4. Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160
  5. Photograph of yourself- see requirements

Other Documents that may be needed for some countries:

  1. Financial statement showing adequate funds to cover all expenses while in the U.S. without having to work
  2. Academic preparation evidence such as transcripts, diplomas, official test scores required by U.S. schools
  3. Your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of your degree
  4. Official acceptance letter from the college/university you will be attending

There are a number of online resources to help you prepare for the visa application process, including the interview. Below are just a few recommended resources that have been created by reputable organizations in the field of international education:

  1. Study in the States
  2. Education USA
  3. Ten Points to Remember When Applying for your Nonimmigrant Visa
  4. EducationUSA and IIP Student Visa Videos

U.S. visa interviews are very subjective and the kind of interview you have will depend on the visa officers. Below are a few tips that will help you prepare for your interview:

  1. Spend some time on the U.S. Embassy website and make sure to read and have all of the required documents ready for the interview.
  2. Always dress up accordingly, have your I-20 with you and other required documents. 
  3. Be honest and answer completely any questions that the visa officer asks.

The visa will be stamped in your passport when issued. The time indicated on your visa may not reflect the amount of time that you will spend in the U.S. rather, the validity indicates that you will be granted entry into the U.S. within the time stated on the visa. For example, your visa might say 1 month, referring to the time you have to gain entry into the U.S., not how long you intend to stay.

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not require visas to enter the United States as students, although they must present a valid Form I-20 at the time of admission. For more information see information for Citizens of Canada and Bermuda.

Work/Internship Opportunities with an F-1 Visa

Students with an F-1 visa may work on campus and participate in academic internships. There are also possibilities for work after graduation to further knowledge and gain experience in a students graduating major. Please contact our International Resource Coordinator for more information.