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Student Visa


Read your Form I-20 or DS-2019

Once you have paid your enrollment deposit, you will receive a Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) form with your ID number and visa instructions. For F-1 visa applicants, this is a Form I-20. Make sure all the details of the form are correct—especially that your name matches your passport.

When you receive your I-20, contact the U.S. Embassy in your home country to make an appointment for an F-1 Visa Interview. Do NOT make an appointment until you receive your I-20. We are NOT responsible if you miss your visa interview date because you made an appointment before receiving your I-20 Form.

Check your passport dates

Your passport expiration date should be at least six months from your arrival date in the US. For example, if you come to the US September 1, 2016, make sure your passport is valid until March 1, 2017, or later.

Pay the SEVIS (I-901) fee

Before you can apply for your visa, you must pay the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. Canadian students (who don't need a visa to enter the United States) must also pay this fee.

How to pay:

The easiest payment method is online, but you can also pay by mail or Western Union.

The SEVIS I-901 fee is $200.00 and is non‐refundable. However, in the unlikely instance that your visa application is denied, you may reapply for a new F‐1 or J-1 visa within 12 months without having to pay a new SEVIS fee. If you choose to transfer your record, either between universities or advancing your degrees, you will not need to pay the I-901 fee again. The SEVIS I-901 fee stays with your SEVIS record via your SEVIS number. Anytime you receive a new SEVIS record with a new SEVIS number, you must pay the fee.

Apply for your visa with your U.S. Embassy or Consulate

You'll apply for your visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate closest to you. Apply as early as you can so you have plenty of time for the interview and processing—in many cases you can apply 120 days prior to your academic program start date shown on your I-20 or DS-2019. Check the Consulate or Embassy's website for application instructions. The US Department of State lists appointment and processing wait times.

Once you have applied and received your visa, please contact Michael Schindel at to confirm that you have been issued a visa and notify the office of your travel plans.

Travel to the U.S.

When you have received your F-1 or J-1 visa, you can arrange your travel. You can enter the US as early as 30 days before the program start date on your I-20 or DS-2019 (but no earlier).
Document checklist

Make sure you have the following items with you at all times

  • Your passport, valid for at least six months from your entry date
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (receipt or Form I-797)
  • Admission letter from Southern Connecticut State University
  • Original financial documents proving sufficient funding, as reflected on your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Medical records: certificates of immunizations and vaccinations, and any prescriptions or necessary medical documents
  • Documents demonstrating your intent to return to your home country the U.S. once you've completed your studies at SCSU
  • Contact information for your student advisor in case you need to call. (Call 203 392-5454 for an advisor on call.)

Pass through Immigration at your US port of entry

Once you arrive in the US, you'll go through Immigration and speak with an officer. Be prepared to show your documents and answer questions about your program of study, your family ties, and your intent to return home. Verify that the US entry stamp in your passport is clear and shows your status (F-1 or J-1) and duration of that status (D/S). Read more about what to do when you arrive in the US.