The F-1 student visa is issued for full-time study in the U.S. In order to apply for the F-1 visa, the prospective student must receive a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, Form I-20 A-B. The immigration specialist in the Office of the General Counsel at Bucknell University is responsible for all immigrations matters related to F-1 and J-1 students. It is this office that verifies whether or not a student has demonstrated the ability to pay tuition and living expenses.
Process for Applying for Your F-1 Visa
- Send your enrollment deposit for $500USD, which will hold your place in your class and will be listed on your billing invoice as a credit.
- Once your deposit has been received and processed, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and International Student Services will generate your I-20 document and mail it to you along with more information on transportation, arrival, and international orientation. The I-20 states the beginning and expected completion dates of study, the level of study, the field of study and the school that you will be attending. The I-20 is required in order to apply for an F-1 visa. The form is called "SEVIS" I-20 because it is catalogued on a centralized computer database called Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
- Make sure that your passport is up-to-date and renew it if it is going to expire within the next six months.
- Pay the SEVIS fee. This is a fee that all F-1 and J-1 visa applicants must pay before they attend their visa interview. The fee is $200USD and instructions on how to pay the fee will be included with your I-20 form. You must have your I-20 form, which contains your SEVIS identification number, before you can pay this fee. For more information, see www.fmjfee.com.
- Begin making your travel arrangements. Some airlines will make advanced reservations without issuing your ticket. || For information on transportation from the airport to Bucknell, please see http://www.bucknell.edu/shuttles.
- Make an appointment and attend your visa interview. If you are not sure if you need an appointment or what the procedures will be, please make sure that you check the consulate instructions for your home country or the country in which you plan to attend your visa interview. This may take a long time in some areas, so make your appointment early. You can find information about U.S. embassies and consular sections at http://usembassy.state.gov/.
- Here are some Tips for Preparing for Your Visa Interview (pdf), courtesy of NAFSA, Association of International Educators.
- Register to attend International Student Orientation. This orientation is mandatory for any student on a U.S. visa.