Guide to Obtaining an F-1 Visa
Instructions for non-Canadian International Students:
Once you have been admitted to St. Lawrence University and have completed all the appropriate paperwork, you will be issued a Form I-20. Once you receive your I-20, you can file your VISA application. Students who have a valid F-1 visa from a previous school may be able to use the same visa. When you travel to the US, carry your old school's I-20 with you as well. You can check with your local US consulate or embassy to be sure you can use the same visa. See below for a list of requirements and other pertinent information.
Required Documents: Please review the documentation guidelines for your US embassy or consulate. Each embassy/consulate may have unique requirements. In order to assure that you receive your visa in a timely manner, it is critical that you make sure you have all the documents and materials required by your US embassy or consulate at the time of your interview. When you are reviewing the embassy/consulate website, please make sure you look to see the documents required of ALL applicants as well as those for F visa applicants. You can find the website for your appropriate US embassy or consulate at http://www.usembassy.gov/. New students can apply for their visa 365 days in advance of session start date and will be allowed to enter the US 30 days before the session start date (orientation).
List of documents:
- Form I-20 issued by St. Lawrence University. It has all the pertinent information such as your SEVIS ID, program information etc.
- Completed Form DS-160 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) which must be completed by you online prior to scheduling your appointment. You will find instructions for using the form and a link to the form on your embassy’s website.
- Nonimmigrant visa processing fee: Please visit your US embassy or consulate website for exact instructions on paying your fee and the required currency and amount. Some embassies/consulates require on-line payment of fees in advance of your interview. You can find the website for your appropriate US embassy or consulate at http://www.usembassy.gov/. If you pay your fee online, you will need to bring with you your MRV receipt.
- Pay your SEVIS I-901 fee. You can pay your SEVIS fee and obtain a receipt by paying the fee using the following website: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html. In order to complete the online form and receive your receipt, you must have information from your I-20 and a form of payment. If you have already paid, the SEVIS fee, you can go to the site and print the receipt.
- Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future.
- One 2”x2” (5cmx5cm) photograph. Information on nonimmigrant visa photograph requirements is included in this packet.
- Proof of ties to your country of residence and your intention to return to that country after completing your education.
- Proof of funds to pay for your attendance/visit at St. Lawrence including award letter, bank or other financial statements.
- Additional documents such as transcripts, test scores etc. may be requested.
Instructions for Canadian International Students:
Canadian citizens do not need a visa to study in the U.S. When you cross the border to study you will need to enter as a F-1 student and if asked, you have to be able to provide the officer at the port of entry the following documents.
- An original I-20 issued to you by St. Lawrence University.
- An unexpired Canadian passport that is valid for at least six months into the future
- Receipt for your SEVIS I-901 fee. You can obtain your receipt by paying the fee using the following website: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html. In order to complete the online form and receive your receipt, you must have information from your I-20 and a form of payment. If you have already paid, the SEVIS fee, you can go to the site and print the receipt.
- Proof of funds to pay for your attendance at St. Lawrence including bank or other financial statements.
- Proof of ties to Canada and your intention to return to Canada after completing your education
EducationUSA Advising Centers
You are strongly encouraged to contact the closest EducationUSA Advising Center. These centers are located in 450 locations in almost every country around the world. Many offer a pre-departure orientation featuring current students from your country who are studying in the US. Many of the EducationUSA Advising Centers can also assist you with preparations for and the actual process of obtaining your visa at US embassies and consulates. To find your closest EducationUSA Advising Center, please visit https://educationusa.state.gov/find-advising-center .