It is important that you plan ahead when making the decision to attend a university in the United States. Once you are academically accepted to the university, you can proceed through the immigration process.
1) Decide how you would like to receive your documents.
- You will receive an official acceptance letter from the university via email and through the mail.
- You will also receive an email asking whether you would like your I-20 to be mailed by First Class (no charge) or Expedited mail (there is a charge for this service). Click here to read instructions on how to have your I-20 mailed to you.
2) Provide proof of financial resources
Make sure you have provided your verification of financial resources which will cover all of your costs for the first year. (You can see what the costs are for your particular program). You can show verification by providing the following:
The Affidavit of Support Form (a legal document that must be completed by the student’s sponsor and certified or notarized), OR an official letter from the bank stating that your sponsor has sufficient funds in the bank, AND;
An official bank statement from the sponsor.
3) Receive your I-20 or other immigration documents
Once proof of funding has been provided, the OIP will issue you a SEVIS* generated I-20 or DS-2019. This document will allow you to apply for a visa in your country at the United States Embassy or Consulate.
*SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System ) is a system used in the United States to keep electronic records of all international students in this country.
4) Visit your closest US Embassy for your Student Visa
Make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your area for a visa interview. You must complete an application for a visa and pay a fee determined by your local Embassy or Consulate.
You must also pay a SEVIS fee of $200 (F-1 visa) or, $180 (J-1 visa) at www.fmjfee.com with a valid credit card and a receipt can be printed once the transaction is completed. (Some countries in Africa are unable to use www.fmjfee.com and must apply through the mail for the SEVIS fee receipt).
The Embassy or Consulate will determine whether you are issued a visa to enter the United States.
Check out our What Happens Next? brochure for more detailed instructions on the visa process and the SEVIS fee.
Study in the States Website
Check out the new Study in the States website launched by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to help students understand the immigration process and how to achieve their goals of studying in the United States.