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F-1 Visa Checklist

Applying for F-1 Visa status can involve multiple steps and documentation. Below you will find detailed information about the steps you need to take, the documents that need to be completed and the various ways you can pay your fees.

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How to Apply for an F-1 Student Visa

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply.

1) Pay the SEVIS fee

A United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule requires F-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee of $350 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Information System (SEVIS). The following information specifically addresses fee issues for F-1 students.

The fee must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for your visa, the fee can be paid to the DHS by mail, online, or through Western Union and must be accompanied by a Form I-901. It can be paid by you or by a third party, inside or outside the US.

Fee payments should be entered into your permanent immigration (SEVIS) record but it is strongly recommended that you retain a copy of your fee receipt (form I-797) to use as needed.

If you have been accepted to more than one institution and paid the fee using the SEVIS ID number of an institution you will not be attending, you will not have to pay the fee again. Bring the I-20s of both the school for which you paid the fee and the school you will be attending, as well as your SEVIS fee payment receipt, to the consulate or port-of-entry (if you are applying for a visa, you should bring both of the I-20s back to the consulate)

If your F-1 visa application is denied the SEVIS fee will not be refunded. However, if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.

2) Apply for a visa from your local embassy:

Find the website for your embassy by clicking here. Follow the instructions provided by your local embassy to apply for a non-immigrant F-1 student visa. Usually you will need to do the following:

  • Fill out a DS-160 non-immigrant visa application
  • Pay a visa application fee.
  • Schedule an appointment to go to the embassy for a visa interview
  • Gather documents for the interview that include:
    • Passport, valid for at least six months;
    • Your I-20 issued by Franklin University
    • Your admission letter from Franklin University
    • 2 recent passport-size photos, 2 by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm), color on a light background with head centered in the frame;
    • Supporting documents showing evidence of strong ties to one’s home country.
    • Your receipt of payment for the SEVIS fee.
    • Financial documents to prove you can support yourself in the USA.

*See our suggested tips for having a successful U.S. Consular Interview, by clicking here

Additional Information

  • We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • Students who are outside the United States, and who have not been attending classes for five (5) months or more, should apply for a new student visa to reenter the United States.
  • Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.