IEC Teachers and Staff International Student Life

The U.S. F-1 Visa Process for International Students

November 10, 2017

The U.S. F-1 Visa Process for International Students

For many, one of the first steps to beginning life as a student in the U.S. is getting the F-1 student visa. The process can seem confusing, but with IEC@DVC to help you, you will be able to complete the process easily! Here is the F-1 visa process for international students entering IEC@DVC.

The U.S. F-1 Visa Process for International Students

#1: Submit the completed IEC@DVC application

You can complete the application online or download the PDF version

#2: Receive the SEVIS I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from IEC@DVC

This is a document that you will receive after IEC@DVC receives and processes your application. Keep this original document in a safe place: you will need it to enter the U.S.! (Also important to note: you must use the original–not a copy–of the document to enter the U.S.)

If you have questions regarding the processing time, contact IEC@DVC.

#3: Pay the SEVIS fee online and print the receipt

The SEVIS fee must be paid online through the U.S. government website. This is not a visa fee: this is a separate fee that all foreign students must pay. Read the Frequently Asked Questions page of the SEVIS website or contact SEVIS at +1 703 603 3400.

#4: Complete the DS-160 visa online application

The DS-160 is a visa for people who are not planning to immigrate to the United States (but who are planning to stay in the U.S. for a long period of time). You can apply here

#5: Secure your appointment at the US embassy or consulate

You must make your own appointment (the U.S. embassy will not contact you to make an appointment). To find your closest embassy or consulate and make an appointment, visit the official list of U.S. embassies and consulates.

#6: Attend the visa interview at the US embassy or consulate

Remember to bring all of the paperwork (including the I-20) that you need to your interview. Also remember that you must tell the interviewer exactly why you want to go to the U.S. Remember the name of your school and program and be able to express what you will be studying.

If you have specific questions about your interview, contact your embassy or consulate. If you need some tips for your interview, contact IEC@DVC.

#7: Receive your passport with the F-1 visa stamp

Congrats! Remember: between Step #6 and Step #7, there might be some time that you do not have your passport. It’s important not to schedule travel during this time.

#8: Enter the US no more than 30 days before your program start date

Many students want to arrive before their program so that they can get settled in the U.S. Remember: you can arrive no more than 30 days before your program start date.

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