Pre-Arrival Information

Pre-Arrival Information

In order to be admitted entry into the U.S., you must obtain an F-1 visa in your passport.

Obtaining an F-1 Visa

Students may apply for an initial visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate as early as 120 days prior to the program start date listed on Form I-20. For detailed information, visit the U.S. embassy website. Wait times vary at each embassy.


Please take the following documents to your visa appointment:

  1. Valid Passport
  2. SEVIS I-901 payment confirmation receipt
  3. Signed I-20
  4. Admit Letter
  5. Affidavit of financial responsibility along with supporting financial documents
  6. Scholarship Award Letter (If applicable)
  7. Loan Letter Documentation (if applicable)
  8. Additional documents listed on the embassy/consulate website 

How to Pay the SEVIS Fee

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee from students applying for an F-1 visa. The SEVIS fee is in addition to any visa application fees. You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three business days prior to applying for your visa. We recommend you apply and pay the fee online by credit or debit card; however, you can also apply using the I-901 form and pay by mail with a check or money order. 


Note: At this time, the SEVP is unable to accept SEVIS I-901 fee payments by credit card from students residing in the following countries: Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Gambia and Nigeria. Students in these countries must pay the SEVIS fee by cashier’s check, money order or Western Union Quick Pay. 

Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement; however, the SEVIS payment, Form I-20 and documents listed above are required.

Social Media Questions on Form DS-160

The U.S. Department of State now includes questions regarding social media on Form DS-160. The mandatory question is applicable to most visa applicants and reviews the applicant’s social media platforms from the last five years. You will be asked for your username for all referenced social media platforms; however your password will not be requested.