Checklist for obtaining an F-1 student visa
- Apply early for you F-1 visa as there can be lengthy waiting periods (Canadian citizens do not need a visa, but must use the I-20 document when clearing customs).
- Pay SEVIS fee. You will need to pay this before you go to the U.S. embassy or consulate. The F-1 fee is $200USD. For more information on who needs to pay this fee or to pay online, visit https://www.fmjfee.com/index.html
- Make Appointment with US Embassy or US Consulate in your home country. To learn more about obtaining a US Visa, visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1270.html
- Bring Required Documents to your visa appointment:
- I-20 Form - provided by Concordia's Office of Admissions
- SEVIS Fee receipt
- VISA application fee receipt - fee schedule can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1263.html
- DS-160 Nonimmigration Visa online application
- Passport - Valid for 6 months after you expected entry date into the U.S.
Tips for your Visa Appointment
Consider your visa appointment as an interview. Business attire is appropriate. Remember the F-1 VISAs are Non-Immigrant VISAs. An F-1 VISA is issued to person(s) intending to return to his or her home country. You will need to prove to the VISA Officer that you will return home after your course of study is over.
Ties to Your Home Country
Under US law, applicants for non-immigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore show you have reasons to return to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the US.
Ties to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family or fiancé, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments or bank accounts. The interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country.
Have a few sentences in mind that express how you intend to use your degree at home after you finish your program.
If you or your family owns property, take the deed or the lease. If your family owns a business, take letters from a bank describing the business. Bring something that shows your family resides in your home country. If you have a brother or sister who studied in the US and then returned home, you could take a copy of the sibling's diploma and a statement from their employer showing that they have returned home.
Remember: There is no magic explanation which can guarantee visa issuance. Each applicant's case is different.
Anticipate the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do not prepare speeches. If you are coming to the U.S. solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
The financial documentation you bring should represent liquid assets in an amount that is at least as high as the dollar figure indicated in item number 8 on your I-20. Be prepared to explain that all of those funds will be readily available to you during your studies in the US. Your visa application is stronger if at least part of your financial support comes from your home country, even if most of it comes from the US.
Make sure the country of origin for each piece of financial documentation is clear. If your financial documentation does not already show the date that each account was opened, obtain a letter from the bank official with this information, if possible.
EducationUSA Advising Centers
Education USA and Fulbright advising centers generally charge no or a very modest fee for assistance, and we encourage you to join and take advantage of these services. Their educational experts are familiar with the visa application process and can help you save time and money. However, be extremely wary of any other advisers or consultants proposing they can obtain a visa for you for a fee.