Step 1 : Issuance of I-20

After a student has been accepted to a school in the U.S., the family must:

  • sign and return the enrollment contract
  • submit the enrollment deposit
When the contract and all required documents and payments have been received, the International Student Coordinator will register the student with SEVIS and issue an official I-20. The completed I-20 form will then be sent via express mail to the student.


Step 2 : Payment of SEVIS I 901 Fee

The easiest way to pay the fee is to pay online:혻 It is important to remember:

  • You will need your I-20 or DS-2019 to fill out the form.
  • Pay the fee by credit or debit card onLine or check or money order.
  • Print the receipt if paying online. Get a receipt if paying by mail.
  • Bring this receipt with you to the consular interview.


Step 3 : F-1 Visa Application

Once the student has received the I-20, the student is then able to schedule an appointment with the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country to apply for an F-1 visa.

  • You may not make this appointment date more than 90 days prior to the registration date listed on your I-20.
  • Expect 2-3 weeks to get an appointment with the U.S. agency and as long as 3 months to receive approval for the visa.
  • With this in mind, U.S. schools usually cannot issue an I-20 later than July 30th and the school expects a student to obtain a visa in time to be on campus by the start of the school year in August.
  • If a student is required to participate in the Summer ESL Program as a contingency of their admission to U.S. school, he/she should start this process at least 2-3 weeks earlier.
  • It is always advisable to contact the U.S. agency in your home country regarding timelines for obtaining a visa.


Step 4 : Documentation & Consular Interview

Following is a list of documents you should take with you to the U.S. consulate or embassy. However, always confirm with the U.S. consulate or embassy which documents are necessary

  • Completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application, (Form OF-156), which can be obtained from the U.S. consulate or embassy, with photo.
  • Completed I-20 from U.S. School. Do not bring I-20셲 issued from other schools that you do not plan to attend.
  • I -901 fee payment receipt
  • Passport, which must be valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S.
  • Letter of acceptance from the school and Visa supporting letter from the school.
  • One passport sized photograph.
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the school, such as the SSAT, ISEE, TOEFL or SLEP.
  • Grades from the past school year.
  • Financial documentation that shows sufficient funds to cover the cost of tuition, room and board, books, and other related expenses: letter of financial assistance from the school and bank statements and/or other letters of financial support.
  • Proof of business ownership, or ownership of property in your home country.


Occasionally students will be asked to provide additional information. In order to avoid multiple trips, you should be prepared to show other information such as official school transcripts and standardized test scores.


The purpose of the consular interview is to enable the consular officer to determine the student셲 academic interests and English language proficiency. It is also to ensure that the applicant is a legitimate candidate for a student visa and that they do not intend to immigrate to the U.S. Although there is not a set list of questions, applicants should be prepared to answer a variety of questions related to why you wish to study in the U.S., why you are interested in a particular school and the documentation you have provided.

  • Parents should go to the interview with the student.
  • Be neatly groomed and nicely dressed.
  • Be very familiar with the school you are going to attend. Bring the school셲 catalog with you if you have one. Be prepared to answer questions like:
    • Why do you wish to study at this school?
    • Who is the headmaster? Who is the admission director?
    • What will you study?
    • How large is the school?
    • Where is it located, and how will you travel there?
    • Is it a boys, girls or co-ed school?
    • In what country will you go to college or university?
    • In what country will you work when you are finished with your education?
  • Do Not claim that you want to live and work in the United States.
  • Do Not go to the interview with incomplete information.
  • Be aware that F-1 students may not immigrate to the U.S., and are expected to return to their home country when they have completed their studies.


Step 5 : Visa Approval/Denial

If the student visa application is approved, you will be given an F-1 visa stamp in your passport. The stamp will indicate when the visa will expire, the number of entries permitted into the U.S., the type of visa and other important information. When you travel to the U.S. you will bring with you the I-20, your passport, visa and any other important documents.


If your visa is denied, you will receive a letter indicating why. This is not a final denial of entry into the United States. You should collect the additional information needed or requested and make another appointment for review.



Please reference the following websites for further information:

For general information regarding visas or the visa application process:


For specific information regarding consulates and embassies worldwide (i.e. addresses & hours of operation) go to the following link and choose your country of origin:



17 Arcadian Ave., Suite 207
Paramus, NJ 07652 U.S.A.
Tel.201.845.9322 Fax. 201.845.9353