U.S. Entry Visa

U.S. Entry Visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State and are obtained at U.S. Embassies or Consulates abroad. The visa application must be presented during a scheduled interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

  • If you are entering the U.S. for the first time, you will need to apply for a U.S. Entry Visa.
  • If you are a continuing student and your U.S. Entry Visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new one in order to return to the U.S. from abroad.

Where To Apply

  • A student applying for a visa should consult the documentary requirements of the individual embassy or consulate at which they will be applying.
  • Dependents will need to show proof of the relationship to the primary visa holder, e.g. marriage and/or birth certificates.
  • See the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application for instructions on completing the form.
  • It is recommended that a student apply for a U.S. Entry Visa in their home country.

Visa Stamps

The U.S. Entry Visa is a stamp placed in your passport.

  • Once your visa application is approved, the consular officer will issue a stamp in your passport.
  • The purpose of the U.S. Entry Visa is to gain entry into the U.S.
  • The expiration date on your F-1 visa stamp has no bearing on your immigration status and permission to remain in the U.S.
  • If you maintain your status, you may stay in the U.S. and travel domestically with an expired visa.
  • You must obtain a new U.S. Entry Visa in order to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad.

F-1 Specific

You must establish non-immigrant intent, i.e., prove that you have ties to your home country such as family, property, or employment, and plan to return after your program ends.

An F-1 student must:

  1. Pay the SEVIS fee.
  2. Bring the SEVIS fee payment confirmation (that can be printed from the fee website) to the interview.
  3. Be prepared to show that they have adequate funding.

F-2 dependents are not required to pay the SEVIS fee.

An F-1 students with the same SEVIS ID is not required to pay the SEVIS fee again.

Your U.S. Entry Visa (F-1) may be issued no earlier than 120 days before the program start date on the I-20.

New F-1 students and their dependents may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the program start date on the I-20.