Applying for an F-1 or J-1 Visa
Make a Visa Interview Appointment
Once you have received your I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1), you will need to make an appointment for a visa interview. To find the US Embassy closest to your home, visit the U.S. Department of State website. Please review your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy. If any of the information listed on this form is incorrect, contact International Services immediately so that a new form can be processed, if necessary. Note: Your form I-20 or DS-2019 makes you eligible to apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, but it does not guarantee the issuance of the visa.The wait time to receive a visa appointment will vary by location, therefore you are strongly recommended to apply early. To view the current visa wait time at your local consulate, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html.Please DO NOT make a visa appointment prior to getting your I-20 or DS-2019. ISSS will not expedite I-20/DS-2019 process for this purpose.
Please DO NOT purchase your airplane ticket before you receive your visa.
Pay the Student/Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) Processing Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires all F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants seeking initial attendance visas from a U.S. embassy to pay a processing fee of $200 for F-1 students and $180 for J-1 students. This fee is charged to cover the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). For details regarding this fee please visit the I-901 Fee Processing Website.
The I-901 fee can be paid to DHS online or by mail. See the I-901 Website for more information. DHS will issue a receipt (I-797) upon payment. You will need your receipt when applying for an F-1 visa. The fee must be paid at least three business days before going to the U.S. embassy to apply for a visa. This will allow time for the fee to be deposited and payment recorded in SEVIS.
What You Should Bring to Your Visa Interview
1. Form DS-160: Nonimmigrant Visa Application
2. I-901 fee receipt.
3. Official acceptance letter from Georgia State University
4. Your I-20 or DS-2019
5. Passport valid for at least 6 months
6. Proof of financial support (F-1 students: These documents should match the information in section 8 of your I-20. These documents should not be older than 60 days.)
7. Your one page educational plan and/or goals
8. A list of your family who live in your home country. List their names, addresses, and places of employment. Also list any property or businesses you and/or your family may own. (The most common reason that student visas are denied is inability to prove non-immigrant intent. Therefore it is recommended that you bring any documents that will prove your intent to return to your home country after you complete your studies.)
Please remember to be professional in your appearance and responses to questions and maintain a positive attitude during your interview.
The visa officer at the embassy or consulate in your home country may request specific application materials. We recommend that you contact the embassy or consulate prior to your interview to ensure that you have everything needed for the issuance of your visa.
If your visa is denied, please contact ISSS as soon as possible.
Prepare the above information plus any additional documentation that demonstrates that you have been using the visa appropriately and have a valid need to re-enter the U.S. Some examples of this information are transcripts from all of the schools that you have attended, proof that you are currently enrolled, and any other documentation that shows that your intent has not changed.