Student Visa Information
U.S. consulates and embassies will not normally issue visas more than 90 days in advance of the "report date" (see below) on your I-20. You should not plan to apply for your visa before June 1, since that will be about 90 days in advance of your report date. We try to process your I-20 forms as quickly as possible, but you may not receive them until May 20 OR LATER. A visa appointment on or after June 1 is probably the safest choice to ensure that you will have received your I-20 in time. In addition, please keep in mind that you MAY NOT ENTER THE U.S. MORE THAN 30 DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE REPORT DATE on your I20, so plan your travel accordingly.
Several standard items are required for the application:
- Form I-20 (or DS-2019 for J students): You will need a form I-20 (or DS-2019 if you are a J student), which we will mail to you in a timely fashion, normally in mid- to late-May. Alternatively, these forms may be provided by a sponsoring agency, if you have one. You must sign the form under Item 11.
- School admission letter
- SEVIS fee receipt: The US Government now requires students to pay a $200 fee to register with SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). We will send a letter along your form I-20 explaining how to pay this fee. If possible, you should file and pay on-line via the SEVIS fee website. This site will also answer many of your questions, and you can track your payment and receipt. You must keep the receipt you receive and be able to produce it when you apply for a visa. Print the electronic receipt from on-line payment as proof of payment for your interview.
- Receipt for visa application fee (if required)
- A current passport valid for at least six months
- Evidence of financial support for the period of time and amount indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019 form
- Proof of permanent residence outside the United States
- Two, 2"x2" passport-type photographs
- A nonimmigrant visa application: forms DS-156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application), DS-158 (Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants), and, if applicable, DS-157 (Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, required for males only)
If a visa application interview is required, remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer's questions openly and honestly.
The "Report Date"
If you encounter any problems obtaining your visa, contact Allen Harrison at Hamilton College, or the agency that issued the I-20 or DS-2019.