Obtain a Student Visa to Study in the USA (PART 2)

Part Two:

This is our second post in our obtaining a student visa to study in the USA series. Your can read our first post here.

What is the Form I-20 and How to Receive it?

All F-1 visa category (and M-1) students that study in the USA need a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status". Once accepted into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program, international students will receive a Form I-20 from their designated school official (DSO). This will be one of the important Forms that you as the student should keep that safe as you will need it throughout your international student life.

Process to Obtain an I-20:
  1. Receive an I-20 application from the School via Email.
  2. Complete, Print, and Sign the application. 
  3. Recent Bank Statements from you or your sponsors showing that you are financially able to pay your school tuition, fees and life expenses for the years you plan on attending the school.
  4. Send a copy of your valid passport along with completed and signed I-20 application, and financial documents to designated school office (DSO) at the school you will be attending via Email.
  1. A payment called Term Tuition. Depending on the school you are attending, they will require you to pay the Term Tuition prior to receiving an I-20. It is usually one semester's tuition.
  2. None Refundable Visa application Fee ($160 as of today) that is required before you can make an appointment with the US Embassy.
  3. All payments can be paid by Credit, Debit card, Cash, Check, Money Order, or Wire Transfer.
Once I-20 application, supporting document, and payments are received, a designated school office (DSO) from the office of international student scholar service will email you a draft of your I-20. You must confirm that all the information is correct.

In order to receive the I-20 Form, you need to pay for the shipment of your I-20 using EShipGlobal(DHL or FedEx). Price depends on the country you live in. It will typically take about a week for you to receive the form.

Make an appointment at the US Embassy and Receive your F-1 Visa:
Once you have received the Original I-20 Form:
  1. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee For your I-20 online using your Name, Date of Birth, and SEVIS number that you can find on your I-20.
  2. Complete the DS-160 online.
  3. Pay $160 Visa application Fee.
  4. Find the US Embassy near you.
  5. Schedule an appointment online.
  6. Attend your appointment.
  7. Pick up your Passport with the Visa.
Most Documents you will need for this appointment:
  1. Your Valid Passport.
  2. The Original I-20 that you received from the school.
  3. Copy of your completed DS-160 Form.
  4. Additional Supporting Documents.
You can find out about Supporting Documents from the US Embassy website that you wish to attend for your interview.

If the Visa is granted, you are welcome to arrive up to 30 days prior to date on your I-20. If the Visa is denied you will be refunded for the Term Tuition from the school, but the Visa Application fee is nonrefundable.

In the next post I will write about what to expect upon your arrival at the port of entry of USA, how to get a job on campus while on the F-1 Visa and much much more... So check back often!

Hope this post is helpful and if you have any question, please comment below.