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Applying for F1 Visa

One of the more important aspects of this preparation is obtaining your F-1 Student Visa. The F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning your intend to return to your home country. This section of our website is designed to assist you, as a first time student, to understand the process and guide you through it successfully. (CANADIAN STUDENTS are NOT required to apply for a visa; however, it is essential that you are processed properly. Please visit the section specifically for Canadian student requirements.)

STEP 1:

Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1 student visa. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov/.

STEP 2:

After you receive an I-20 form from the school that you want to attend, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa. Be sure to use the I-20 of the school you plan to attend. The I-20 and visa must match on initial entry. 

 It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.

STEP 3:

Complete the forms listed below. These forms can be found on the internet or at your local Embassy/Consulate.

(a) DS-160 Online Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (The DS-156 paper form may still be used in some countries) Information about this form is available at http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4230.html.

(b) DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant

(c) if requested, DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application. (Typically this form may be required for males between ages of 16 & 45.)

Please follow the instructions on applying for F-1 visa from at your US Embassy – they will have the most up to date information!

STEP 4:

Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site.

STEP 5:

If your I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004, and is marked for “initial” attendance (see #3 on your I-20 form), you will also need to pay the SEVIS fee.  The fee is processed when it is received by DHS.  Mailing the SEVIS fee does not constitute payment. If you mail your payment rather than pay on the Internet, it can take a considerable amount of time for payment to be received and for you to receive a receipt by return mail. Please take that into consideration when deciding on your payment method-check, online, or Western Union. For more information on the fee, please refer to the section “How do I pay the SEVIS Fee” or “What is the SEVIS Fee” on this website.  Please hold onto this receipt as it is an important immigration document and you will not be able to request additional copies.

You must bring the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview.

 PLEASE NOTE: If you are applying for an F-2 dependent visa or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee.  Talk to your International Student Counselor for more information if you are re-applying after a denial.

STEP 6:

Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:

(a) A passport valid for at least six months

(b) Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)

(c) School admission letter

(d) Any required supplemental forms (DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)

(e) Two 2”x 2” photographs in the prescribed format (see the travel.state.gov website)

(f) A receipt for the visa application fee

(g) A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.

(h) Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.

(i) Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions to you openly and honestly.

The visa officer may ask you several questions to determine the authenticity of your application. These questions should be easy to answer. Questions could include: what are you studying, why have you chosen that major, why do you want to study in the United States, how do you plan to use this education when you return to your home country, and what are your ties to your home country. Studying in the United States is an investment of your time and money. You should be able to explain how you came to this decision to study and why you chose Broome Community College specifically. Remember, we offer full time English-As-A-Second Language in addition to degree coursework so don’t worry about your English skills. You have the required English for admission to our programs. Your English level for coursework will be determined at placement testing upon arrival. Most importantly, be confident and prepared but do not memorize answers to possible questions-just speak honestly.

They may also ask about housing during your studies.  You should be familiar with our housing information so you can properly answer this question during the interview.

STEP 7: 

Contact Angela LaRosa, your International Student Counselor, at larosaam@sunybroome.edu with any questions or concerns.

If you are denied your F-1 visa, please get the following information before leaving the embassy interview:

  • Reason for denial;
  • Name of officer;
  • Date, time and location of interview; and
  • When you can re-apply with additional supporting information.

Then contact me by email with all of the above information as soon as possible. There may be an opportunity to provide additional information or clarification in a timely manner to still allow you to attend that semester or the following semester.