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Apply from Overseas

If you are applying for an F-1 Student Visa from your home country, you will begin by selecting a school in the U.S. where you want to study and applying to the school. You may also want to begin looking into housing information at this time. If your application is accepted you will obtain Form I-20 from the DSO (Designated School Official) and pay the I-901 SEVIS receipt. You will be added to the SEVIS database with an individual ID number.

Becoming part of the more than 640,000 international students studying in the United States is exciting! F-1 Student Visa is here to inform you about applying for and maintaining your F-1 Student Visa status. This site provides information on changing your visa status and transferring to a new school while studying on your visa. For a list of the terms and definitions associated with F-1 Visa an F-1 Visa index is provided. Be sure to also check out the useful links page for other sites dealing with student visa and international education.


Documents for Student Visa

  • Your Form I-20
  • SEVIS I-901 receipt
  • Signed passport (must be valid for 6 months after entry into the US)
  • Transcripts or diplomas from current or previous institutions
  • Program of study description
  • Accommodation information
  • Evidence of funds to cover tuition and living expenses for either the length of your study or one year, whichever is shorter.
  • Your local US Embassy/Consulate might require additional form DS-160. They are available online or at your local embassy/consulate.

Documents required at Port of Entry

  • Your Form I-20, signed by the DSO of the school you will attend
  • Your I-94
  • A valid visa containing your SEVIS identification number and the name of the school you will be attending (BIR)
  • Financial documentation
  • A valid passport

Once you are granted a U.S. entrance visa, notify the school of your expected arrival date, and obtain a new I-20 if the dates have been deferred. Also, be sure to confirm your housing and transportation arrangements in advance of your departure from your home country. Keep in mind that you can enter the U.S. no more than 30 days before your program start date.

The Customs and Border Protection inspector will stamp your Form I-20 and Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record Form) after determining that you are eligible for entry. This document is proof that you entered the U.S. legally. You should keep the Form I-94 safe throughout your stay in the U.S.