Obtaining your Visa
After an I-20, every international student needs to pay a $200 SEVIS fee to apply for a student visa. The I-20 is an immigration form to document F-1 immigration status. To pay the SEVIS fee, go to the following website and fill out the form I-901 online: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ . Your I-20 provides information that you need to fill out the form I-901. Make sure to keep a copy of your SEVIS fee receipt.
After receiving your I-20 and paying the SEVIS fee, you must make an appointment with the American consulate to get your F-1 visa. The earliest that an F-1 visa can be granted is 120 days before the reporting date listed on the Form I-20. That means that you cannot make your appointment at the Consulate more than 120 days before you are starting school. Make sure to bring all of the documents listed below for your interview at the American consulate:
• I-20 form
• Valid passport
• Bank statement
• Acceptance letter from University of St. Francis
• High school transcripts and their translation
• Receipt of SEVIS fee (I-901 fee)
• Completed visa application
• Two 2×2 passport photos
• Receipt for visa application fee
For more information about required documents, including application forms and visa fee, please visit the website of the American Embassy in your country. Please also check: http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_5499.html
Checklist for applying for your student visa
1. Verify that all the information on your I-20 is correct.
2. Pay the $200 SEVIS fee and keep a copy of the receipt.
3. Apply for the F-1 student visa in the nearest American consulate in your country. For more information, please visit the American Embassy webpage in your country and follow the steps of application for the F-1 student visa.
4. Interview at the American consulate. Please make sure you have all required documents with you.
*** The IPO does not recommend purchasing your plane ticket until you have your student visa. Once you have your visa and purchase your plane ticket you MUST complete and return the STUDENT ARRIVAL FORM that was in your welcome e-mail. If you have any questions about this or need another STUDENT ARRIVAL FORM, please contact the IPO.
CROSSING THE AMERICAN BORDER
When you arrive in the US, you will be interviewed by an immigration official at your port of entry. You do not need to be nervous, just be sure that you have the following documents ready to show the officer:
• valid passport
• valid student visa in passport (except students from Canada),
• I-20 with a valid signature on the form
• financial documents (bank statement),
• Official Acceptance Letter from USF.
Please contact the USF’s International Programs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have ANY questions about entering the US.