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International Student Visa Process

SCIT is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified college. Foreign students who are accepted into our program are eligible to apply for a F-1 Student Visa. Below we break down the steps to obtain a student visa.

Step 1: Passport

  • If you do not currently have one, you must obtain a passport from your country of origin. It will be required for the proceeding steps. The procedures for doing this will vary from country to country. Some countries may have extended wait times for obtaining a passport, please be aware that any delays in obtaining a passport will delay your entry into the United States and as a result your start date at SCIT.

Step 2: Complete Form I-20 and Pay Fee

  • When you are accepted into SCIT you will be electronically issued a Form I-20. You must complete this form.
  • Once you have completed Form I-20 you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. This can be done online here. Please remember to print and save your receipt, you will need to show proof of payment later during your interview process.

Step 3: VISA Application

  • Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application here.

Step 4: U.S. Embassy or Consulate interview

  • Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular officer, and to schedule an interview. You can find a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates here, with links to their websites where you can find information about scheduling a visa interview appointment. If the embassy or consulate at which you apply informs that you must have a visa interview, the visa application process cannot be completed until you appear for an interview with a consular officer.
    • You will need to bring the following documents to the interview:
      • Completed Form I-20
      • Passport
      • Completed Copy of the SCIT International Student Application
      • Supporting Financial Documents (Bank Statements, etc)
      • SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Receipt
      • Any Other Documents Requested by Local U.S. Embassy or Consulate

Step 5: Travel to the U.S.

  • When the VISA is approved you can fly to the United States up to 30 days before the official start date listed on the Form I-20. Upon arriving to the United States at a U.S. port of entry (airport in most cases) you will meet a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer who has the authority to admit or deny your entrance into the country. The Form I-20 must be presented as well as a valid VISA and passport. You should also have your SCIT acceptance letter, evidence of financial support (bank statements, etc), as well as the name and telephone number of the SCIT Designated School Official (DSO), which will be given to you by SCIT.
  • A CBP officer may direct you to secondary inspection and interview you further to determine if you may enter the United States. If you do not have all your documents or if the officer cannot verify your information, they may deny you entry into the country or issue you a Form I-515A. If you receive a Form I-515A, you must work with your DSO to respond to it within 30 days. For more information on Form I-515A visit here.

Step 6: Check-in to SCIT

  • You must contact your Designated School Official (DSO) immediately after entering the United States.
  • You must contact the DSO again when you arrive at SCIT, no later than the program start date listed on the Form I-20.

Step 7: Maintain VISA Status in the U.S.

  • To maintain F-1 Student VISA status you must:
    • Pass all your classes. In the event that the school is too difficult you must talk to your DSO.
    • In the event that you think you will be unable to complete the program by the end date listed on the Form I-20, talk to your DSO about a possible program extension.
    • You must be a full time student, on course to complete at least one academic year (7 months of study) during the course of one calendar year.
  • More information on maintaining status can be seen here.

External Resources