F-1 Students

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Before You Arrive in the U.S.

Foreign students need to contact the U.S. consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence and schedule a visa interview. The consular officer overseeing the interview will verify that the applicant:

  • has paid the SEVIS fee;
  • is in possession of a properly completed Form I-20 signed by a designated school official;
  • has sufficient funding;
  • is sufficiently proficient in the English language; and,
  • has an intention to return to the home country after completing the program.

If the consular officer is satisfied with the information provided during the interview, a F-1 visa stamp will then be affixed to the applicant’s passport.

If your spouse and/or children intend to reside with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee.

Note: You may not enter the U.S. more than 30 days prior to the start date shown in section 5 on your Form I-20.