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You have your I-20 - what's next?

Your visa interview:

The next big step is preparing for your visa interview.  If you have not already made an appointment, you need to make one soon.  Be prepared for a long wait during busy travel months.  You can also check estimated wait times for a visa interview appointment in different cities here:

Visit your country embassy’s website for specific information and required materials to apply for your nonimmigrant student visa and set your visa interview appointment.  A list of embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions can be found at .

The following is a list of common requirements as a guide - this is NOT an official list.  Always follow the requirements listed on your country’s embassy’s website for up-to-date and accurate information.

  1. Valid Passport: If your passport will expire less than 6 months from your planned arrival in the United States, or is damaged, or you do not have a blank page for a visa, please get a new passport before your interview.
  2. One Photograph: See your country’s specific embassy’s website for photo requirements.
  3. Original Receipt for Visa Application Fee: See your country’s specific embassy website for more information on amount and how/where to pay.
  4. Completed Visa Application Forms: Most are now online in electronic format and many embassies/consulates, only accept the electronic version.  
  5. Completed SEVIS Form: I-20 properly completed and signed by both the Designated School Official (DSO) and the applicant. Name on form must exactly match the name in your passport and have been entered into the SEVIS system by the U.S. academic institution.
  6. SEVIS Fee Receipt: This I-901 SEVIS Fee can be paid online at  
  7. Proof of Finances: Proof that you can support yourself during your entire stay in the U.S. without working.

The consular officer may request additional information if needed, such as proof of ties to country, résumé, or official transcripts.

Please note that your visa cannot be issued more than 120 days before the program start date listed on your I-20.  In addition, you may not enter the USA more than 30 days before this program state date, so make your travels plans accordingly.



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