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How to apply for a Student Visa (F1 visa)

The United States welcomes overseas students who wish to study in the US. The most common visa category for students is the F-1 visa. To apply for an F1 visa, you need to receive an I-20 document form from the school. You are able to apply within 120days from the program starting date. Once you receive an I-20 form from us,go to the U.S Department of State website, select your country, and then click the link for visa information.

The following documents are required
for an F1 visa interview

  • I-20 Form
  • Valid passport (Validity date – at least six months beyond your registered program)
  • DS-160 (you need to create the form over internet ∗see below)
  • SEVIS I-901 (∗see below)
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • Evidence of your educational background ( Transcripts , Diplomas, Degrees, or certificates from schools you have attended)
  • Financial documents
  • Photo (Please see the photo requirements))
  • Visa appointment confirmation

1Complete DS-160

The DS-160 form is a required document for the F1 visa interview. You will need the following documents to complete your DS-160.

  • Passport
  • Photo (Please see the photo requirements )
  • Travel schedule (if you have already made a travel itinerary)
  • If you have travelled to the United States in the past,
    you will have to have the dates of your last five visits to the United States readily available.
  • SEVIS ID number (Located on your I-20 form).

You must write all your answers in English. While you have to answer all the questions in English, translations of questions are available in many languages from the drop-down menu. Before starting, you can also learn more about the I-160 form. Click here

  1. To create your DS-160 form :Click here
  2. From the drop down menu, select the location where you will be applying for an F1 visa.
  3. Click “Start an application”. Here you will see your application ID. Please print it.
  4. Answer “Security Question” at the bottom then click continue.

2Pay $200 “SEVIS Fee” (I-901)

Each student who applies for a student visa is required to pay a fee to SEVIS. This fee is non-refundable.The SEVIS fee does not replace the visa fee.

How to pay the “SEVIS Fee”

  1. If you are a citizen of any of the following countries, you must pay by money order,Western Union, Quick Pay or certified check drawn at a U.S bank account:
    Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia.
    Citizens of all other countries have the option to pay by credit card.
  2. You will need a receipt of the payment. Print your confirmation of payment.
    During this process, you will be required to enter your SEVIS ID.

Please click here to make a payment
Click “Form I-20” at the bottom to start the process

3Pay $160 for your visa interview

Review the instructions on how to pay through the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply.

4You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview
at the U.S embassy or consulate in your country.

You should make your visa interview appointment as soon as possible once you have completed steps 1 through 3 listed above.

Please note : Your stay in the United States is temporary.

5Receive your passport with an F1 visa status.
Contact your school official and inform them of your travel schedule.

6Enter the United States prior to your ESL program’s start date.