Create your future. Shape your world.
A passport is a government's (or other competent authority’s) permit to leave and re-enter the country of issuance. You must have a valid passport to obtain a visa for the United States, and you must maintain a valid passport throughout your entire stay in the United States.
This is proof that you are entering the U.S. as a student or exchange visitor. Please keep this with your passport. You are required to keep all original copies of form I-20/DS-2019 throughout your stay as an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor, longer if you exit and return to the U.S. in any capacity other than as a tourist.
Applicants for non-immigrant visas usually apply in person at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. Consular office, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
Each US Embassy and Consulate has specific instructions for scheduling an appointment. Waiting times for an appointment can be lengthy (up to several weeks or longer) especially during the busy summer months, so please schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your visa documents.
Information about U.S. visa application procedures and requirements may be obtained through the U.S. State Department Visa Services website.
Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review instructions specific to your Embassy, and much more by visiting the Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.
Please note: Your F-1 visa is permission to enter the U.S. If you have a multi-entery visa, you may depart and re-enter the U.S. until the expiration date on your visa. You may only renew the visa from outside the U.S. However, if you are in the U.S. and intend to remain in the U.S. it is not necessary for your visa to be valid. It is also not necessary to renew your visa in order to depart the U.S.
Before submitting an application for a U.S. visa, we encourage you to view the website “10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa."
Persons wishing to enter the U.S. as a student or exchange visitor must pay a fee prior to their visa application appointment ($200 for F-1, $180 for J-1). The fee is nonrefundable, regardless of whether the visa is issued. This fee is your responsibility; Earlham does not pay this fee on your behalf.
There are several options available for paying the SEVIS I-901 fee including online payment using a credit card, payment by check or money order in U.S. dollars, or payment at a participating Western Union office in local currency. If none of these options is readily available to you, please contact IPO. If you do not pay online, the SEVIS fee must be paid in sufficient time for you to receive receipt by mail prior to your visa appointment. Detailed information on paying the SEVIS I-901 fee can be found at www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/.
The I-94 is given to you at the airport when you arrive in the U.S. and shows that you have been legally admitted. It is often stapled to your passport and contains an eleven digit Admission Number. DO NOT LOSE THIS FORM. If you need to apply for an extension or change of status, practical training or other regulatory changes, you must submit your I-94 to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
When you enter the U.S., the ICE representative should stamp your passport, I-20 and I-94 and write "F-1 D/S" or "J-1 D/S" and your date of entry on the I-94 document. The D/S written on your I-94 means "duration of status.” This indicates that you are allowed to remain in the United States as long as you maintain your F-1 or J-1 student status. The admission number on your I-94 will be entered on your I-20 or DS-2019. If the officer writes anything other than F-1 D/S or J-1 D/S on your I-94 document, please see a member of the IPO staff as soon as possible.
It is a good idea to keep all of your documentation together in a centralized and safe place. This location should be a place where you can access your documents at all times.
Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019)
Applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa
Additional visa requirements
The SEVIS I-901 Fee
I-94 - (Arrival and Departure Record)