Congratulations on your admission to Irvine Valley College! Now that you have been admitted to IVC, you will need to apply for the F-1 visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your home country. Please review the information below as it will assist you in this process.
Contact EducationUSA to Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation
The U.S. government hosts education centers around the world that provide helpful information to international students. Pre-Departure Orientations provide helpful information about the visa process, life in America and how to prepare for your departure. Although not required prior to your arrival in the United States, a pre-departure orientation can be very helpful to answer your questions. To find your local EducationUSA advising center, please visit: https://educationusa.state.gov/.
SEVIS Fee Payment
Before you apply for the F-1 visa, you must first pay the SEVIS fee which is currently $350.
SEVIS (Student Exchange and Visitor Information System) is the internet-based program used by the US government to monitor F-1 visa students in the United States. This fee is not an IVC fee, but a fee required by the US government.
The SEVIS fee must be paid by all F-1 visa applicants prior to the visa appointment. The fee can be paid online, by mail or at Western Union offices that offer the Quick Pay service. Visit www.fmjfee.com for more information about the SEVIS fee.
To pay the SEVIS fee by credit card (recommended):
- Visit www.fmjfee.com and complete the I-901 form. The school code for IVC is LOS214F01465000. Your SEVIS ID can be found on your I-20 and begins with the letter "N".
- Pay the SEVIS fee using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express card.
- Print a copy of the online receipt. You will need to bring this with you to your F-1 visa appointment.
If you will pay the SEVIS fee by mail or by Western Union, please visit www.fmjfee.com for instructions.
F-1 Visa Application Appointment
To find your nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate: www.usembassy.gov
For general information about F-1 visa applications: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html.
NOTE: Canadian citizens do not need to apply for the F-1 visa to enter the U.S. but must still pay the SEVIS FEE and present their I-20 at the U.S. Port of Entry.
Steps to Apply for the F-1 Visa:
- Contact your local US Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1/international student visa.
- After you receive an I-20 from the school, follow the US Consulate/Embassy's instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 visa. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible.
- Complete the required application form (DS-160). Most US
Embassies/Consulates now require that you complete and submit the visa application form and photos on-line. Please consult the US Embassy/Consulate in your country for specific instructions.
- Pay the visa application fee by following the instructions on your local US Embassy/Consulate website.
- Pay the required SEVIS fee. See www.fmjfee.com for more information about the SEVIS fee. You must bring a copy of the SEVIS fee payment receipt to the visa interview.
- Prepare and bring all items as indicated on the US Embassy/Consulate website to your visa interview. Typical required items include: passport, Form DS-160, Photo and Form I-20. Additional required documents may include: bank information, transcripts or English test scores. Please consulate the US Embassy/Consulate website for specific lists of required documents as this could vary by country.
- Remain calm and answer all of the Visa Officer's questions to you openly and honestly.
Printed from NAFSA: Association of International Educators; Department of State website and www.ice.gov.
After your F-1 visa is approved, you may enter the United States 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on your I-20. Please refer to the "Earliest Admission Date" listed on your I-20.
Visa Wait Times
The visa application processing time is different at each Consulate; please apply early in order to ensure that you have enough time to obtain your F-1 visa and arrive in time for our mandatory orientation program.
Some consulates may require a security clearance on your visa application. This means that your visa may be approved but can’t be issued until the security clearance is finalized. This usually takes two weeks to two months so plan accordingly.
Visa Approved or Denied
If your F-1 visa request was approved, a stamp will be placed in your passport and you will be notified how to pick-up your passport. The name of your school will be written on your visa. You must attend the school indicated on your initial F-1 visa; if you decide to attend a different school, you must re-apply for a new visa.
If your application is denied, you should ask the visa officer for the specific reason why. You may apply again only if you have new evidence to support your application.