How to Obtain a Student Visa

Receive and Review Acceptance Materials

After completing the online application, you will receive an admissions decision letter, available online, sent to the email used in your application. At that point, you will be able to “Accept Offer” and confirm your placement for the upcoming semester.

After you have been accepted, the OIE will be in contact with you to follow up on the visa application process. Using the materials, you have submitted, including your: 1) international student profile form, 2) a copy passport, and 3) financial statements verifying that you have sufficient funds available to provide for, at minimum one year of your education at SCSU, our office will send the I-20 and your acceptance material to your home address along with a scanned copy of the I-20.

You may use that information to begin scheduling a visa appointment.

It is crucial that you carefully read and review your I-20 and acceptance materials. All information should match your demographic information, such as your name and date of birth, as it appears on your passport.  If it does not match, that information will need to be corrected before you attend your visa interview.

Check Passport Dates

All applicants for the F-1 Student visa must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after entry into the U.S.

In some cases, you may need to renew your passport before applying for the F-1 student visa.

Pay the SEVIS (I-901) Fee

Before applying for an F-1 visa, you must pay the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. Canadian students (who don't need a visa to enter the United States) must also pay this fee.

The easiest payment method is online, but you can also pay by mail or Western Union.

The SEVIS I-901 fee is $350.00 and is non‐refundable. However, in the unlikely instance that your visa application is denied, you may reapply for a new F‐1 within 12 months without having to pay a new SEVIS fee. If you choose to transfer your record, either between universities or advancing a degree level, you will not need to pay the I-901 fee again. The SEVIS I-901 fee stays with the SEVIS record via your SEVIS number. Anytime you receive a new SEVIS record with a new SEVIS number, you must pay the fee.

Apply for Visa at the Local Embassy or Consulate

After paying the SEVIS I-901 fee and receiving the I-20 number, you will be able to go online and schedule a visa interview. The visa interview will determine whether or not a visa will be granted.  Students are advised to schedule the visa interview as soon as they are able up to 120 days prior to the start date. Check the Consulate or Embassy's website for application instructions. The US Department of State lists appointment and processing wait times.

Helpful tips to remember when applying for an F-1 Visa.

After applying and receiving the visa students should contact Michael Schindel at to confirm that they have been issued a visa and notify the office of travel plans.

Travel to the U.S.

After receiving the visa, F-1 students are eligible to travel to the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20.

Make Sure You Have the Following Items with You

  • Passport, valid for at least six months from entry date
  • Proof of SEVIS I-901 fee payment (receipt or Form I-797)
  • Admission letter from Southern Connecticut State University
  • Original financial documents proving sufficient funding, as reflected on your I-20
  • Medical records: certificates of immunizations and vaccinations, and any prescriptions or necessary medical documents
  • Documents demonstrating intent to return to your home country the U.S. once you've completed your studies at SCSU
  • Contact information for the OIE – (203) 392-5454 to reach the International Student Advisor during regular business hours or (203) 392-5375 to reach Campus Police in an after-hours emergency.

Pass Through Immigration at U.S. Port of Entry

After arriving in the U.S., you will pass through Customs and Border Control and be meet by a Customs and Border Protection agent. You should be prepared to show documents and answer questions about program of study, family ties, and intent to return home. Verify that the US entry stamp in your passport is clear and shows your status (F-1) and duration of that status (D/S). Read more about getting to the united states.