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How to Apply for an F-1 Student Visa

You will often hear and read the term SEVP or SEVIS. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a program within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that manages the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is the internet-based system that maintains records of foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stays in the United States.


Receive your certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status Form I-20 (for F visa). You are receiving these instructions because you have just received your I-20 and are now ready to go on to:


Pay SEVIS fee. You must pay a SEVIS fee and fill out other visa applications forms prior to your visa interview. Go to the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website ( for complete information about paying your SEVIS fee. Follow the instructions carefully. For more information, you may also visit the Study in the States website for students ( Visa interview scheduling is done online or by phone at most U.S. embassies and consulates.


Schedule Your Interview and Apply for Your Visa (This step does NOT apply to Canadian citizens.) Refer to the U.S. nonimmigrant visa website to complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160). A listing of the fees for visa services can be located here.

It is best practice to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your study in the United States and that your name is spelled correctly and appears the same on all documents.

Be sure to have your Form I-20 and your SEVIS receipt.

Confirm with your embassy or consulate that you have the required documents and schedule your visa interview following the instructions on the website of your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

During the interview, be prepared to answer questions regarding ties to your home country, your English language skills, your academic background, the program in the United States to which you have been admitted, and proof of your financial ability.

How to Interpret Your Visa

how to interpret visa

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