F-1 students are required to pay a $200 SEVIS fee directly to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by completing the Form I-901 online or by mail within the first fifteen days of the start of the semester. The SEVIS fee should be processed by DHS at least 3 business days prior to your consular interview.
A prospective F student with a country of citizenship or country of birth of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia or a student from any country who is unable to pay with a credit card, must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. For more information visit the SEVIS fee processing website.
Students who do not require a visa to enter the U.S (e.g. Canadian), you are still required to pay the SEVIS fee. The SEVIS fee should be processed at least 3 business days prior to applying for admission at a U.S. port-of-entry.
The following steps are a guideline for obtaining an F-1 visa.
- If you are outside of the U.S., you must schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate nearest your residence abroad. Student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States earlier than 30 days before your start date. Visit the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs to locate the U.S. or Consulate in your country.