Apply For Your Student Visa
What is SEVIS?
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. The Department of Homeland Security known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) administers SEVIS. Its purpose is to monitor students and scholars in the U.S.
Preparing for Your F-1 Visa Interview
Preparing for an F-1 Visa interview is vital if you plan to enter the United States for the first time to study. To learn about bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to continue your studies, renewing your visa or applying for your Student Visa, please visit the U.S. Department of State online.
How to Obtain Your F-1 Visa
Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about getting your F-1 International Student Visa. For a list of U.S. Consulates and Embassies near you, please visit usembassy.state.gov/.
Your Next Steps
When you receive your I-20 Form from St. John's, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate instructions for scheduling your F-1 Student Visa Interview.
Apply for your Student Visa as far in advance as possible. Though many consulates suggest making your appointment no more than 90 days from your intended travel date, some consulates can make earlier arrangements for your interview.
You will need to complete the following forms:
- The DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form.
- The DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant.
- The DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application - if you are a male between the ages of 16 and 45.
To pay the Visa Application fee, follow the instructions on your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate's Web site. If your I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004, and is marked for “initial” attendance (see #3 on your I-20 Form), you also need to pay the $100 SEVIS fee.
To Pay Your Fee By Mail
Please follow these steps:
- Obtain Form I-901: “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants.”
- Download the form at FMJfee.com or request it by phone at 1-800-870-3676 (inside the US).
- Complete Form I-901. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form.
- Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on U.S. banks only) in the amount of $100 USD, payable to “The Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
- Mail the completed I-901 and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
- You should receive a Form I-797 Receipt Confirmation Letter by mail within three (3) days of the fee's processing. Make copies of this receipt letter and keep them with your other important immigration documents.
To Pay Your Fee Online
Follow these steps:
- Find Form 1-901 at FMJfee.com.
- Complete the online form and provide necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 Form.
- Print a copy of your online receipt.
- Make copies of your receipt to keep with your other important immigration documents.
Bring your receipt for fee payment to your interview. If you lose the receipt, the Visa Officer may be able to view your payment history on his database.
If you are transferring from another school, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent Visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a Visa within the last 12 months, you do not need to pay the $100 SEVIS fee.
At Your Interview
Remember to bring the following items with you to your Visa Interview:
- A passport valid for at least six months.
- Form I-20 (sign the Form under Item 11).
- Your official University Admission letter.
- Completed Visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157).
- Two 2”x 2” photographs in the format prescribed at travel.state.gov.
- A receipt for your Visa Application fee
- A receipt for your SEVIS fee. (If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the Consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the Consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.)
- Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
- Any information proving that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
Note: Many foreign banks can issue checks or money orders drawn on a U.S. bank. Therefore, you may obtain a check from 1) a bank chartered or operated in the United States; 2) a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. bank; or 3) a foreign bank that has an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.
During your interview, remember to remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions openly and honestly. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:
International Student & Scholar Services Office