Applying for an F-1 Visa

After remitting the SEVIS fee, you will then take the fee receipt, the I-20 Pfeiffer sent you, your passport, and all proof of financial support ability to the United States consulate or embassy that has jurisdiction over your place of residence abroad.  During your interview (required) with the consular/embassy official, you will need to demonstrate that:
  1. You are a bona fide student.  The officer will look at your educational background and plans in order to assess how likely you are to enroll and remain in college until graduation.  Be prepared to discuss the reasons you chose a particular college, your anticipated major, and your career plans.  Bring school transcripts, national examination results, and SAT or TOEFL scores.
  2. You have sufficient funds to cover all expenses while in the United States.  The U.S. government needs assurance that you won’t drop out of school or take a job illegally.  Provide solid evidence of your sponsor’s finances especially sources and amounts of income.  This assures the consular officer that adequate funds will be available throughout your four-year college program.
  3. You have a residence in your home country to which you intend to return.  Are your ties to home so strong that you will not want to remain permanently in the United States?  Consular officers are required by the U.S. State Department to consider all applicants for visas as having the intention to remain in the United States  after completing their studies unless and  until applicants convince the consular officer that they do not.  Overall, you must be able to show that your reasons for returning home are stronger than those for remaining in the United States.  You must demonstrate sufficient economic, family and social ties to your place of residence to ensure that your stay in the United States will be temporary.  Economic ties include your family’s economic position, property you may own or stand to inherit, and your own economic potential when you come home after completing your education.  The consular officer may be impressed to see evidence of your career planning.  
If the consular officer approves your application, he will stamp an F-1 visa on a page of your passport.
Next, you must apply at a port of entry for admission to the United States by:
  1. presenting a passport (valid for at least six more months)
  2. presenting a an F-1 visa which has Pfeiffer listed in the annotation (if you are a new student and in initial status)
  3. producing the I-20 issued by Pfeiffer and signed by you
  4. showing evidence of financial support and supporting documentation
  5. convincing the immigration inspector that you are qualified in all ways to be admitted as an F-1 student
If the immigration inspector approves your entry into the United States, you will be issued an I-94 Form which indicates:
  1. the date and place of entry
  2. your status (should be F-1)
  3. an unique 11 digit identification number
  4. D/S or “duration of status” (means you are admitted to the United States for the length of time required to complete a specific program; this completion date is indicated on the I-20. If your I-94 does not have D/S, contact someone in the International Center immediately.
The inspector will stamp the top page of your I-20.  NOTE: this is a very important document. You will need your I-20 anytime you travel outside the United States.  Page 3 of this form must be signed by a DSO in the International Center at least every 12 months, preferably every 6 months, especially if you will be traveling outside the US.
Once you arrive on campus, it is very important that you bring your passport, I-94, I-20, and SEVIS fee receipt to the International Center so that we can make copies for your student file.