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Visa Requirements

Students accepted to Lindsey Wilson College will be issued an I-20 form to apply for the F-1 student visa. You should bring your I-20, acceptance letter, financial documentation, and valid passport (at least 6 month) to the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a visa.

** Due to U.S. visa processing delays, we encourage all students to apply as soon as possible.

How to Get Your F-1 Visa

  1. Verify I-20 Information. When you receive your I-20 from Lindsey Wilson College, please check all information on your I-20 for accuracy. If you find an error, please inform us immediately.
  2. Signature. If everything is correct, sign on item 11 in the I-20 and date.
  3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee of $200: This fee must be paid before you go to your F-1 visa interview. This SEVIS fee is NOT a visa application fee, which is $160.
    There are three ways to pay the fee:
    1. By Internet using a credit card,
    2. Western Union agencies,
    3. Postal mail to the SEVIS I-901 Fee Office. Instructions for completing the I-901 Fee.

      By Internet: This is the quickest method: after paying the fee, be sure to print out the receipt of payment, so that you can take it to the US Consulate for a visa interview.A hard copy of the receipt will be sent to you at a later time. For your visa interview, you can show either the internet receipt or the hard copy.However, the hard copy might not be delivered in time for the interview.

      By Western Union agencies:
      Many students in African and European countries may find this method easy since they can pay by their own currencies and can get the receipt of payment immediately.

      By postal mail payment:
      Click the paper Form I-901 PDF and read the instructions, fill out the form, and send the check by mail. It will take a long time to get a receipt back.
  4. F-1 Visa Checklist: Visa requirements are subject to change. Please contact your local U.S. Consulate for visa application instruction for obtaining the F-1 visa. Locate a U.S. Embassy near you.

    The following documents are needed for visa interviews.
    1. Passport valid for at least a six months time period
    2. SEVIS I-20 issued by Lindsey Wilson College
      • Complete Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160 "Consular Electronic Center Application From" 
      • Print out and bring your one-page DS-160 confermation 
    3. Proof of having paid the SEVIS fee ($200)
    4. Evidence of financial ability to meet expenses
    5. Evidence of English ability sufficient for course of study
    6. Evidence of intent to depart the U.S. after completion of studies
    7. Machine readable Visa (MRV) surcharge fee (Visa Application Fee, $160)
    8. Photograph (2x2)
    9. Visa reciprocity fee (if applicable)
      U.S. Department of State's Visa Service information


Understanding Your U.S. Entry Visa

To be allowed into the U.S., all nonimmigrant international visitors (except Canadians) are required to have the proper visa stamp placed in their passports. "Nonimmigrant" means there is no intention of staying in the U.S. permanently. Visas are obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Visas cannot be obtained within the U.S., since it is an "entry" document only.

People come to the U.S. for many different reasons, and the type of visa you request should match the purpose for your visit. Visa types are classified using an alpha-numeric system. For example, a visitor coming to study in the U.S. may be given an "F-1" or "J-1" student visa classification. A person coming to the U.S. for travel may be given a "B-2" visa, otherwise known as a tourist visa.The sample here shows what a tourist visa looks like:

F-1 Visa details

What is the purpose of the visa?
The visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and present yourself to a U.S. Immigration Inspector. The Inspector will ask you some questions about your intentions for coming to the U.S. and check to make sure you have the appropriate visa. Once admitted, you will be given electronic Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) access information sheet so that you will be able to get a print out of the from I-94 later when you need it later.  

At a port of entry,  a U.S. immigration inspector will no longer give you a small white paper card, the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.  Instead, you will receive the information sheet as to how to access your electroniv From I-94.  Here is its access page:  This document, not your visa stamp, indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the U.S. and proves that you arrived in the country legally.

On the I-94, the inspector writes either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If you are a student, "duration of status" means that you may remain in the U.S. as long as you are enrolled full-time and your I-20 (F-1) or DS 2019 (J-1) has not expired. You are required to keep the I-94 card for the duration of your visit, so make sure to keep it in a safe place so it doesn't get lost.

Admission Number
Each form I-94 has an eleven-digit admission number printed on the upper left corner of the card. You may need to use this number for social security and employment purposes, but it is not a number you need to memorize. In fact, you will get a new I-94 number each time you re-enter the U.S.

Departure from the U.S.
As you prepare to board your flight to depart the U.S., you will be asked to surrender your I-94 to the airline representative who will in turn deliver it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The USCIS will record the date of your departure for future reference. Any time you return to the U.S. you will receive a new I-94 for that particular stay.

If you lose your I-94
Contact your Adviser if you lose your I-94. The Adviser can give you forms, instructions and advice about replacing the I-94.

Visa expiration and Your Length of Stay in the U.S.
Although a visa has an expiration date, it does not determine how long you can remain in the U.S. (a visa is an ENTRY document only). Once you are in the U.S., there are other factors that determine your length of stay. International visitors coming to the U.S. as F-1 students are generally allowed to remain for the length of their academic programs.

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