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Visa and Travel information

All non-immigrant visitors are required to have a valid visa (*except Canadians) in their passport to be allowed entry into the U.S. visa requirements are subject to change, contact your local U.S. Consulate for visa application instructions.  Locate a US Embassy near you:

 An appointment for a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad may be required.

▪       Visas cannot be issued inside the U.S.

F-1 Visas

 Do the following to get an F-1 entry visa:

  1. Obtain I-20 (F-1) from Lindsey Wilson College (LWC), make sure everything is correct then sign and date it on the first page.
  2. Check the current wait times for visa appointments and issuance in your city.
  3. Pay the SEVIS (I-901) Fee if applicable.
  4. Make a visa appointment and go to an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Canadian Citizens 

*Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa to enter the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1, but must still pay the SEVIS Fee present their I-20 or DS-2019 at the U.S. port of entry. However, if the visitor has "Landed Immigrant" status in Canada, a U.S. visa is required to enter the U.S.

Visa Appointments

Read the U.S. Department of State website for more information about the visa application process and Temporary Visitors to the U.S. 

Visa Wait Times

Since visa appointments are limited and visa processing times can be lengthy, make the appointment as early as possible. Consulates will generally accept appointments up to 120 days prior to the start of studies. There may be long waiting periods for appointments, especially May through August. However, consulates may give priority to F-1 student applicants, if requested.

  Visa Interviews

  When going to the visa interview, bring:

  ▪       Passport (valid at least six months into the future)

  ▪       Certificate of Eligibility I-20 (F-1)

  ▪       Proof of admission (or proof enrollment for current students) or Lindsey Wilson College appointment letter

  ▪       Evidence of financial support

  ▪       Visa application forms and fees

  ▪       SEVIS Fee Receipt

  ▪       Students on OPT or STEM OPT must also bring an unexpired EAD card and a job offer letter or employment verification letter.

  Some consulates may require additional documentation, so check the consulate website for visa application instructions. Visa application forms and fees can be found on the consulate website.


The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a U.S. government system that manages data and application processes for F-1 non-immigrants in the United States. If you are beginning a new program in the U.S., you are required to pay a one-time fee before you may obtain an F-1 visa and enter the United States. The SEVIS fee is in addition to any visa fees you may be required to pay at a U.S. consulate. F-2 dependent family members are not required to pay the fee. This fee is not a College fee and provides no funds or services to the College.

Fee Payment

▪       Fee payment information can be found at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

▪       Payment and receipt of the fee must be made before a visa can be issued by a U.S. consulate and entry to the U.S.

  ▪       Payment of the fee must be made at least 3 business days prior to making an application for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate.

  ▪       Citizens of Canada and certain islands exempt from visa requirements must pay the fee at least 3 business days prior to entering the U.S. at a U.S. port of entry.

  ▪       The fee cannot be paid at a U.S. consulate or at a U.S. port of entry. (Note: Some consulates in China and India may be able to collect the SEVIS fee together with visa fees. Please contact the U.S. consulate for fee payment information.)

Methods of Payment


  1. Online payment can be made at U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    Payment can be made by Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Please note: Individuals who were born in, are legal permanent residents of, or citizens from the following 5 African countries cannot use this payment option: Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria.
  2. Complete the online form (I-901) as instructed.
  3. Enter your name exactly as it appears on your I-20.
  4. Enter the SEVIS ID number on your I-20 (found in the upper left corner above your surname).
  5. Print the online receipt after completing the payment form.

 By Mail

Read the payment instructions and download Form I-901 (pdf). Be sure to allow adequate mailing time to send the fee payment and to receive the payment receipt.

  Western Union

  Read the payment instructions for Western Union payment at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Select the instructions according to whether you are making payment inside or outside the U.S. and whether you are an F or J student at the bottom of the page.

  Your Payment Receipt

  ▪       After paying the fee, you can print your payment confirmation from the website. If paying online, be sure to print the receipt at the end of your transaction.

 ▪       Make and keep extra copies of your SEVIS fee payment receipt. You should keep your receipt for your entire period in the U.S.

  ▪       Present a copy of the receipt with your visa application at the U.S. consulate and at the U.S. port of entry. Carry the receipt with you during any future travel into the U.S.

  ▪       F-2 and J-2 dependent family members should present a copy of the receipt when applying for F-2 or J-2 visas and when traveling into the U.S.


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