Obtain Form I-20 for F-1 students or Form DS-2019 for J-1 students: Once you have been accepted to the University and have proven that you have the available financial means necessary to fund your studies, you will need to request a Form I-20 or DS-2019 from ISS. This form will allow you to apply for an F-1 or J-1 student visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
Pay SEVIS I-901 fee: After you receive Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee is used to pay administrative costs associated with the SEVIS computer system. This fee can be paid in a variety of ways, including online using a major credit card. F-1 or J-1 students will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee prior to their visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
Detailed information on the fee and the various payment methods can be found at: SEVIS Fee Information Page
Schedule your visa interview: You cannot get a visa more than six months before your I-20/Ds-2019 start date. In some countries, an appointment can be scheduled online. Others will need to do so by telephone. Before going for your visa interview, you should be aware of all documentation that is required by the specific Embassy/Consulate you will be visiting. Procedures and practices vary from country to country, so make sure that you check the Embassy/Consulate’s Web site prior to your visit.
Please keep in mind that you can apply for the visa as soon as you receive your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. You are advised to apply as early as possible to avoid any delays caused by a large number of students applying at once, background checks, etc.
Make initial entry into the U.S. Once you have obtained your F or J visa, you may make an initial entry to the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
If you are denied a visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate, you should contact the Center for Immigration Services and Support (ISS). Please keep in mind that the office can only provide limited assistance on such matters, but we will attempt to do everything possible to assist you. It will be helpful if you email firstname.lastname@example.org your visa denial notification so that we can review it and determine the best way to assist you.