What is Needed to Apply for a Student Visa

It is very important to enter the United States with the proper visa.  You must apply for an entry visa stamp in your passport so that you can enter the U.S. in student status.  F entry visas can only be obtained outside of the United States at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  To apply for an entry visa, follow these steps:

1.     Pay the SEVIS fee

Most new students must pay the SEVIS fee before applying for an entry visa or entering the United States.  This fee is assessed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is not administered by the UW-Superior.  For more information about how to pay the fee, visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/

2.     Locate the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country

Embassy and consulate information is available on-line at www.travel.state.gov or at www.embassyworld.com.

3.     Schedule an appointment for your visa interview

Your local embassy or consulate will have specific instructions for scheduling an appointment.  Keep in mind that waiting times for an appointment can be lengthy (up to several weeks or longer), especially during the summer months.  Schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your visa documents.  Approximate visa wait times at consular locations can be found at the Department of State website.

4.     Prepare documents for your visa interview

All visa applicants must provide the following documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at the time of the application:

Valid passport;


Documented proof of financial support for at least one year;

Proof of SEVIS Fee payment (receipt);

Visa application forms (available from the U.S. Embassy/Consulate); and

Any other documents requested by your embassy/consulate.

5.     Practice for your visa interview

See Ten points to remember for a visa interview.

Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens are eligible to enter the U.S. without obtaining an entry visa in their passport.  However, Canadian citizens must obtain an I-20 or DS-2019 and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the U.S.  Upon entry, you must present to immigration your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, proof of financial support for at least one year, and proof of SEVIS payment.

Importance of name consistency

To avoid problems or delays in obtaining your visa and entering the U.S., ensure that all of your immigration documents reflect the same name, exactly as it appears in your passport.  Do not use "nicknames" or shortened names on any of your documents, including your passport, I-20 or DS 2019, entry visa stamp, I-94 card (completed in the airplane before your arrival), and any additional documents that you acquire after your arrival in the U.S.

Deciding between multiple schools

You MUST attend the school that is indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019 that you use for your visa application.  If you received more than one visa document (I-20), you should NOT apply for a visa until you are certain which school you would like to attend.  Once you have made a decision and applied for your visa, return any unused I-20s or DS-2019s to the school or agency that issued them to you.

Questions about your documents

If you have any questions about your I-20, or if you need to correct or change any information on your documents, contact  international@uwsuper.edu.

Major:  The major field of study listed on your admission letter and the major field of study listed on your I-20 may not appear exactly the same.  This is due to a coding discrepancy and is not a cause for concern.

Visa Denials

If your visa is denied, ask the consular officials to provide you with a written explanation of the denial, and then contact the Office of International Programs international@uwsuper.edu for assistance.