Applying for an F-1 Student Visa
- ILI will send you an acceptance packet containing your I-20, receipt for your I-901 SEVIS fee payment and other documents. Please check to make sure everything is correct (name, birthdate, etc).
- After you receive the acceptance packet, complete the DS-160 (online visa application)and pay the $160 fee.
- Schedule your visa appointment atthe U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you. You must bring the following documentation to the interview:
- Form I-20
- Printed Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Passport valid for at least six months after you plan to enter the United States
- Two-inch by two-inch photo of yourself
- Receipt for your $160 visa application fee payment
- Receipt for your I-901 SEVIS fee payment
- Copy of your proof of finances (and sponsor letter if needed)
During your interview, the Consul will be determining whether you are telling the truth, whether your finances are in order and whether you will be returning home, because of strong family ties and/or employment, after you have finished your studies in the United States. Here are some suggestions to help you prepare for your interview:
- Each U.S. Embassy Consul is responsible for issuing visas. Make sure you visit the website of the U.S. Embassy where you are applying to get the most recent requirements necessary. The U.S. Embassy’s website is http://usembassy.state.gov
- Make sure that you know why you are coming to the United States. Why did you choose the International Language Institute? What will you do after your English program at ILI?
- In your folder have a cover page and on this page have a typewritten statement on why you are coming to the United States and what your educational goals are. This should be the first thing that a consular office sees.
- Make sure that you have all your financial documents in order proving that you or a sponsor has enough money to take care of you while you are studying in the U.S. Include these documents in your folder.
- Be aware of job prospects and the job market for when you return home. If possible, visit companies that might be willing to hire a person with your experience and could write a letter for you. If employers or prospective employers can write letters that say “with good English skills, a person like this could have a good chance at getting a job with us”, then you have a better chance of obtaining a student visa. If you are planning on returning to your country to continue your education, it is a good idea to have a letter from that school stating how useful and beneficial English study in the U.S. would be.
- During the interview talk about what your educational goals are and not “how you have always wanted to live in the U.S.” or “how you hope you whole family can come later”.
- Do a practice interview with a friend. The friend can be the consular officer. Make sure that the interview lasts no more than three minutes.
You can also find more help and resources here: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/start-here
For Additional Help Obtaining Your Visa
You can also get additional help by contacting an advisor at the EducationUSA offices in your country. To find the office nearest you visit:
Transferring from Another School Within the United States
ILI must have the following documents before we can issue you an I-20:
- A completed ILI Intensive English Program application (click on the green APPLY NOW! button on the right of this page)
- Proof of financial support
- A copy of your I-20 from your current or previous school
- Copy of your passport photo page and visa stamp
- Completed Transfer In form