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International Student Services

Obtaining an F1 Visa

To come to the United States and study full-time, you must apply for and receive an F-1 student visa.

It is important that you understand the process for obtaining a student visa. There are many rules. It is important that you follow the rules and be prepared.

The Rules

1. Before your visa interview, you must pay the U.S. SEVIS Fee of $200. Be sure to print (and save) the receipt. The receipt is proof that you paid the fee. To learn more about the SEVIS Fee, go to:

2. Apply for your visa as soon as possible! Embassies and consulate offices process many visas. You might have to wait for an appointment. Learn more about the wait time at a specific embassy or consulate office here.

3. The person who decides whether to issue you a visa for study in the U.S. is called a “consul”.

4. Prepare for your visa interview.

5. The earliest the embassy or consulate office will issue your visa is 4 months before the start of your program (the date on your Form 1-20).

IMPORTANT – You must NOT use your student visa to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start of your program (the date on your Form I-20).