Applying for a Visa
Procedure to apply for a student visa for the United States.
Study in the States Website
The primary website where the US government posts information for international students is called Study in the States. Please visit this website to educate yourself about the visa application process and what you must do once you are inside the United States to maintain valid F-1 Degree-seeking Student immigration status or J-1 Exchange Student immigration status. It is your responsibility to learn about your academic program at DePauw without any problems. Our ISS staff will help you understand your immigration requirements and provide important support throughout your four years at DePauw.
Paying your SEVIS I-901 Fee
All new students are required to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee of $200 ($180 for exchange students) before scheduling a visa interview at a US Consulate or Embassy in their home country. Several payment options are available. The most convenient one is to pay online by using a credit card. Please visit the following page on the Study in the States website to pay your SEVIS I-901 fee http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/paying-your-i-901-sevis-fee.
When entering the US, you will be required to present the payment receipt for the SEVIS I-901 fee to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official, in addition to your passport and I-20 Certificate of Eligibility (for F-1 Degree-seeking Students) or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility (for exchange students). Therefore, make sure that you carry these three documents with you. Do not pack these documents in your checked luggage.
Student visa application process
After receiving your I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility, read through the entire document carefully, and then sign and date on Page 1. By signing your immigration document, you agree to comply with all the terms and conditions listed there. Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, make an appointment for a visa interview as soon as possible at the US Embassy or Consulate nearest to you. Visa processing times vary widely depending on the embassy or consulate, so please visit the US Department of State website to learn about the application process at your US Consulate or Embassy. Begin preparation of the required materials as early as possible in order to ensure a timely arrival to campus in August.
You will need to take the following documents to your visa interview. Each US Embassy or Consulate may require that you provide additional documents, so check your US Embassy’s or Consulate’s website to confirm exactly which documents it will require. Usually, the following documents are required to apply for a student visa:
- I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility student immigration document
- Passport valid for at least six months from the day of your interview
- Financial documentation
- Letter of admission from DePauw University
- SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
When the visa is granted, it is stamped onto the passport.
Arriving at the Port of Entry
When you arrive to your “port of entry” (the first airport you reach during your travel to the United States), you must present the following documents to the immigration officer:
- A valid passport with a valid student visa
- I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility
- SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
- Any other requested information, such as financial documentation or admission letter
After examining these documents, the immigration officer should enter all relevant data into the SEVIS system and return your documents to you. Be sure to keep all of this documentation in a safe place—it is your responsibility to have all required, original immigration documents in your possession, as well as to maintain photocopies of important and old immigration records. Be sure that you have contact information for ISS staff with you during your travel, and call us if you experience problems or delays.