How to Get Your Student (F) Visa

As an F-1 visa student, you are required to schedule a visa interview and receive your F-1 visa before you can enter the US and attend our program. You are encouraged to apply for your visa as soon as you receive your International Gateways I-20 and Acceptance Letter. Allow several weeks for planning and getting an appointment for the visa. For more information, refer to the instructions on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply for your F-1 visa. 

  1. Applicants for a student visa must provide the following items when they go to the Embassy for the interview.
    • Passport
    • SEVIS I-20 and SEVIS fee receipt
    • International Gateways Acceptance Letter
    • Form DS-160 – Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
    • Two photos (see requirements here)
    • Financial documents in English to show how you will pay for all educational, living, and travel costs.  The embassy official might need evidence that there are no restrictions on the transfer of funds that would prevent the funds from being made available during the projected stay.
    • Proof of your relationship to your spouse and children if you are married and/or have children.
    • Additional documents may be required. Please check with the embassy or consulate where you will apply for your visa.
  2. How to prepare for your visa interview:

    The visa interview will be conducted in English, so make sure that you listen carefully to all questions that the official may ask you.

    • Show that you have strong ties to your home country and that you will return to your home country after you complete your studies in the US.
      • You have a residence in your home country
      • You intend to return to that residence
      • You intend to leave the US when your course of study is completed
    • Prepare for reasons why you want to study English in the US.
      • Why is it important for you to know English?
      • Do you intend to study another subject / degree program once you have finished your English program? If so, which subject?
      • How will you use English when you return to your home country?
    • Do NOT say you want to go to the US just because:
      • Your friends are there;
      • You like American movies or some other unimportant reason;
      • You have family in the US.
    • An official may see 200 applicants per day. They do not have a lot of time to discuss your application, and they have to make a quick decision. You can make a good impression by being prepared and keeping your answers short and to the point.
  3. What to do if the official refuses to give you a visa:

    It is not possible to say exactly why you have been refused a visa, because applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.

    • Maintain a positive attitude. Do not argue with the consular official if you are refused a visa. Ask them for the reason why you are refused a visa and if possible, try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
    • Think again about your ties to your home country: family relationships, job, home or farm ownership, other commitments. Is there any additional evidence that you could present? Did you explain your situation clearly? Did you answer all the questions?
    • If your visa is denied, you can re-apply for another interview. If so, you should prepare additional evidence to show how your situation has changed since the first interview. Some students who are denied a visa are able to pass the interview on the second or third try.

    You can learn more about the visa application process at the Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States website.