Getting Your F-1 Student Visa | Accepted International Students
Before you begin the visa application process, you must have the following documents:
- Form I-20 (Sent to you in the mail from Carroll University after you have been admitted.)
Your I-20 document is required when applying for an F-1 student visa at an American Embassy or Consulate and for entry into the United States. This I-20 has been produced by the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is an acknowledgement that your record is in the SEVIS system. The form includes your SEVIS ID number, which is the number in the upper right hand corner above the bar code (usually starts with an N). As you continue your experience at Carroll, you will be reporting status maintenance (through the Office of Global Education) to SEVIS.
- SEVIS Fee Receipt
All new students coming in F-1 status must pay a $350 SEVIS fee prior to applying for your visa. Please review the SEVIS Fee Payment Information page for more information.
- Additional I-20 Forms
If you have family members traveling with you in F-2 status, Carroll will mail an I-20 for their use. Each F-2 dependent should have his or her own I-20 form. Each F-2 dependent I-20 is issued their own SEVIS number but an additional SEVIS fee does not need to be paid.
Applying for Your Student Visa
You must apply for your visa well in advance of your arrival. Obtaining a student visa can take several weeks or even longer, depending on your home country.
To apply for a U.S. visa, you will need to present the following documents at the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest to you:
- Your Form I-20
- The SEVIS Fee receipt
- A copy of your financial support documents, i.e. evidence that you have sufficient funds to meet the expenses of studying at Carroll, e.g. bank statement.
In addition, the application for a U.S. visa requires you to present:
- A valid passport
- Passport-size photographs
- Completed visa applications forms (Visa application forms are available on individual consular websites.)
An application fee and an interview will also be required.
There have been (and continue to be) changes in the visa application process and these changes are usually reflected on the consular websites.
Find a U.S. Consulate or Embassy >>
Canadian Citizens: Canadian citizens do not require an entry visa to enter the U.S. from Canada, but do require an I-20, passport, financial documentation and proof of SEVIS fee payment and must follow certain procedures. Please review the Important Information for Canadian Students page for more information.
- The U.S. Department of State has instructed U.S. consulates that they may issue an F-1 visa no more than 120 days in advance of the program start date. However, an application for an F-1 visa can be submitted more than 120 days in advance of the I-20 start date in order to accommodate long processing times. Check the website of the consulate where you will apply for a visa for detailed instructions.
- You must pay particular attention to the starting date noted on this document (Item #3), as you must enter the U.S. by this date. If you cannot enter the U.S. by this date, please get in touch with OGE.
- In addition, you may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the starting date noted on the I-20 Form. If you try to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20, you may not be permitted to enter the U.S
- Finally, it is possible that the expiration date on your visa does not match the end date of your degree program. If your visa expires before you complete your degree program, you will apply for a new visa on your first trip outside the US after your current visa expires.
Consulate Questions, Visa Delays or Denials
If the U.S. Consulate has any questions regarding your studies at Carroll University or if your visa application is delayed or denied for any reason, please contact International Admission at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262.951.3137.
In advance of your interview, you are encouraged to review the following:
Visa appointments are very short and questions vary. It is important to come prepared to your interview, ready to answer questions about Carroll University, the major you intend to study, and how campus life is structured at Carroll. We encourage you to review the resource we have sent in your admission package, entitled “Ten Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa,” published by the Association of International Educators. While published in 1997, these general points provide good guidance and still are relevant today. Here are some of the facts you may want to prepare for your interview:
- What is the exact name of my major?
- How many credits will I need to take to graduate with my intended degree?
- Which classes will I be taking during my degree?
- In your hard copy acceptance package, the Office of Global Education included your program worksheet and your optional four-year plan. These documents can be used to show what you plan to study at Carroll. We encourage you to read these documents and send any questions or concerns to email@example.com.
- How many students attend Carroll? How many international students?
- What do I enjoy about Carroll's community and campus? What fits my personality?
- Why do I want to study in the United States?
- How will I finance my education?
- Bring your financial documents to your appointment
Here is a list of important documents to bring to your appointment:
- Interview appointment letter
- Passport (make sure it is not expired)
- Two passport photographs
- Translations to any documents not in English
- I-20 document
- Acceptance letter and financial aid award
- Bank documents to show finances
If you are looking for more information, visit the Department of State’s Interview Preparation website.