What exactly is a Visa?
A visa is a document that is placed into your passport and allows you to request permission from an immigration office at a port-of-entry (usually at an airport) to enter the United States. The visa itself does not guarantee admission into the U.S. because all other documents must be in order. The procedure to enter the U.S. is covered in further detail below. If you violate the terms of your student visa, you will fall out of status and may become subject to immigration sanctions.
F-1 (Student) Visa: The F-1 visa is the most often used visa by international students to study at an accredited U.S. college, university, or English language institute. Students on F-1 visas come to the U.S. with the intent to obtain a degree.
J-1 (Exchange) Visa: The J-1 visa is used for educational and cultural exchange programs. Student on a J-1 visa typically come to the U.S. to study for a shorter period of time—one to two semesters.
You may apply for your student visa up to 90 days prior the start date on your I-20/DS-2019. Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country in person or by accessing their web page to determine the application procedures. A high percentage of student visa applications are approved in most countries. Careful planning and attention to detail will help you avoid problems with the issuance of your student visa.
Visa Application Steps
1) Confirm admission to Truman State University via the Acceptance of Admission Offer
2) Receive your I-20/DS-2019 and Admission Letter
3) Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (F-1 $200; J-1 $180)
- SEVIS fee: http://www.fmjfee.com
- Keep receipt or print-out of payment for proof that you paid the fee for your visa interview.
- You may have received an I-20 or DS-2019 from several schools, but you should only pay the SEVIS fee and apply for a visa with the I-20/DS-2019 of the school you are planning to attend.
4) Schedule a visa appointment/interview
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates can be located via http://www.usembassy.gov/.
- Appointment wait times can vary. We encourage you to make an appointment as soon as possible.
- You may not receive your student U.S. visa more than 90 days before the start date on your I-20/DS-2019.
Organize your supporting documentation so that it can be logically presented without hesitation. Do not bring unnecessary papers with you to the interview unless you are prepared to present them to the consular officer. Start preparing the documents early as some documents may take time to generate.
The following is a list of documents that are required or may considerably enhance your chance of obtaining a student visa:
- I-20 or DS-2019 (required)
- Passport (required)
- Visa Appointment Fee Receipt (required)
- SEVIS Fee Receipt (required)
- DS-160 Form (required)
- Truman Acceptance Letter (required)
- Bank statements (required)
- Proof of English proficiency – e.g. TOEFL, SAT, IELTS (highly recommended)
- High school and college transcripts (highly recommended)
- High School Graduation Certificate (recommended)