Obtaining Your Visa

It is important that you understand the student visa procedures in order to get all of your travel/immigration transactions settled, and arrive safely in the United States.  For more information check the official Department of Homeland Security "Study in the States" website here.

This process includes getting a form I-20 from Fresno State, securing appropriate application forms and interviews, as well as providing supplementary documents.  Allow extra time in your planning.  Visa issuance may take several weeks but some take even longer.  While individual experiences differ, these are the basic steps you should follow and what you can expect throughout the process.

Make an Appointment

Visit http://usembassy.state.gov to find a link to obtain an F-1 visa. Visa application procedures vary somewhat among embassies and consulates, depending on local needs. In most countries, you will need to make an appointment. This can be done by phone, mail, online, or in person, depending on the circumstances of your country. Wait times for appointments may be long.  Schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

The Department of Homeland Security ( http://www.dhs.gov) charges a fee for all new F-1 and J-1 applicants. This fee is required under SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) and is used to cover costs of program operations.

SEVIS I-901 Fee

Information concerning the SEVIS I-901 fees can be found at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website ( http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm).

Who must pay this fee:

F-1 students and J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to pay a fee before applying for a visa. The fee cannot be paid at the port of entry. The SEVIS fee is in addition to any other application fees.

Exemptions and Special Cases:

F-2 and J-2 dependents are exempt from the SEVIS fee. J-1 visitors whose DS-2019s are issued by the U.S. government are also exempt.

Visa Appointment


For additional information on how to have a successful visa appointment click on the 10 tips for a successful visa appointment above.