Obtaining a Visa

If you are an international student interested in entering the United States to study full time at an accredited college or university, you will need a student visa. You are considered an international student if you:

• were not born in the US and
• are not a citizen OR
• do not have a green card granting you permanent residency status in the US

To obtain the necessary visa, you must submit a DS-156 Form, as well as an I-20, to the United States embassy or consulate in your country of citizenship or permanent residency.

For visa application forms, go to the US Department of State. You can also check current visa wait times for your country online.

You will also need to present a valid passport, evidence of financial support and any other documents required by the embassy or consulate.

Check with your respective US Embassy before you apply, since requirements might differ from embassy to embassy.

In addition to completed and signed application forms, you must prepare the following documents when applying for a visa:

  • JWU Admissions Acceptance Letter
  • A passport, valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry to the US
  • One passport-sized photograph (37x37mm) showing full face (without head covering) against a light background
  • A receipt for the visa processing fee
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt
  • All three pages of I-20 form, signed by the applicant and a school official on the first page
  • Proof of financial support (such as bank statement, scholarship letter or graduate assistantship appointment letter) that clearly shows that you or your financial sponsors have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses
  • Proof of binding ties to a residence in your home country that you have no intention of abandoning
  • F-1 applicants with dependents must furnish the relevant marriage and/or birth certificates as proof of the relationship.
    For more information, consult F-2 Dependents.

Keep a copy of all paperwork for your records.

You may find the following nonimmigrant visa tips (329K PDF) helpful as you go through the application process.

Student Visa Tips

Ten points to remember when applying for a nonimmigrant student visa for entry to the US. read more