Applying for an F-1 Student Visa
First, the good
news: the overwhelming majority of UWSP
F-1 visa applicants are successful and receive their student
visas. You will enhance your prospects for success by reviewing
the suggestions below and keeping them in mind as you move through the visa
Applying for an F-1 student visa to study at UWSP is a four-step process
which begins with your application for admission to study at UWSP.
This first step includes completing the UWSP application form and
submitting it—along with all required documentation and fees—to the UWSP
International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO). Once your application file
is complete, we will make an admission decision.
Upon admission to study at UWSP, the
ISSO will express courier an admission letter and an I-20 Form to you. Your UWSP
admission letter and I-20 are important documents: they tell both you and the
U.S. Consular Officer who will review your visa application that you have
satisfied UWSP’s admission requirements and been formally admitted to a program
of study at UWSP.
Step two in the visa application process is to pay the SEVIS I-901
fee. We strongly recommend you pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online using a
credit card. Be sure to print at least 2 copies of the online receipt to
show to Consulate staff during your interview and to keep with you when you
To pay online have your passport,
I-20, and a credit card available. Make certain your computer is connected to a
printer. Go to http://www.fmjfee.com/ and follow the “Proceed to I-901 Form
and Payment” link in the center of the page. More details about the fee, methods
of paying it, processing times, and frequently asked questions can be found at:
Step three is to schedule a visa interview at the nearest U.S.
The U.S. Consulate will not issue an
F-1 student visa more than 120 days before the program start date indicated at
item #5 on page one of the I-20. You may be able to schedule an appointment
before that 120 day period, but you will not get the visa approved until you are
within 120 days of your start date. You also need to be aware that you may not
enter the United States more than 45 days before the start date on the I-20, so
make your travel arrangements with that 45 day period in mind.
If you wish to learn where U.S.
Consulates are located, follow this link: http://usembassy.state.gov/.
Step four is the visa interview. While documentation requirements vary
by Consulate, at a minimum you must present the following items at your visa
||Your I-20 Form|
||Your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt|
application Form DS-160|
||Your passport valid for at least six months
after your proposed date of entry into the United States|
photo. Check with the Consulate for photo requirements.|
||A receipt for payment of the visa application
All applicants should be prepared to provide:
and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the
TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc.;
evidence which shows that you or those sponsoring you have sufficient funds to
cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended
student visa interviews are generally very brief. Avoid the temptation to
prepare a monologue. U.S. Consular Officers around the world are consistent on
this point: visa seekers *must* listen carefully to the questions posed and
respond to those questions candidly. Unfortunately, many visa seekers memorize a
script and insist on presenting their scripts regardless of the questions the
Consular Officer poses. Preparing a script is a natural temptation...but one we
strongly caution against. Be yourself, listen to the questions, and respond
honestly and directly. Be confident: you have much to gain and contribute as a
student sojourner in the U.S.
Most F-1 student visa denials are based on a lack of proof that you will
return to your home country when you complete your education in the United
States. You must never suggest that you want to live in the U.S. permanently or
that you want to work here for many years after you graduate. Emphasize all your
family ties, property, future jobs and ways that you will use your U.S. degree
when you return home. The second reason you might be denied a visa is proof that
your financial support will be there for the entire period of study in the U.S.
Your chance to work while an F-1 student will typically be limited to part-time
campus jobs, so you must show a strong funding source that will continue for as
many years as you are a student.
The visa approval process may take several weeks due to security checks, so
apply as early as possible and then travel in time to arrive at least one day in
advance of the program start date listed on your I-20.