"To prepare for your interview, be calm and have all your documents organized.”
- Student from Ethiopia
"Be sure you know how the student visa process works. Follow up and get involved if you have questions.”
- Student from Argentina
STEP 1: Receive your certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status: either Form I-20 (for F or M visa) or Form DS-2019 (for J visa).
To apply for a visa, you must first have received a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. The U.S. academic institution or program sponsor will provide you with the appropriate form only after you have:
Been admitted to a SEVP-approved institution or accepted in an exchange program.
Provided evidence that you can meet all the costs of the program.
The academic institutions that admit you will send you a Form I-20 (for F or M visa) or Form DS-2019 (for J-visa) depending on the visa that matches your study status.
STEP 2: Pay SEVIS fee
You must pay a SEVIS fee and fill out other visa applications forms prior to your visa interview. Go to the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website for complete information about paying your SEVIS fee. Follow the instructions carefully. For more information, you may also visit the Study in the States website for students.
STEP 3: Schedule Your Interview and Apply for Your Visa
Refer to the U.S. nonimmigrant visa website to complete the required application forms.
It is best practice to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your study in the United States and that your name is spelled correctly and appears the same on all documents.
Be sure to have your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and your SEVIS receipt.
During the interview, be prepared to answer questions regarding ties to your home country, your English language skills, your academic background, the program in the United States to which you have been admitted, and proof of your financial ability.