Documentation, Visa Application and More
Applying For Your F-1 Student Visa
Check with your Kaplan student services staff to see if they will be assisting you with this process.
- You must apply for your F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in China or another country. To connect to your closest U.S. embassy or consulate, click on the links below:
China: Beijing | 中文版 China: VPP Dalian | 中文版 China: Chengdu | 中文版 China: VPP Fuzhou | 中文版 China: Guangzhou | 中文版 China: VPP Harbin | 中文版 China: Shanghai | 中文版 China: VPP Kunming | 中文版 China: Shenyang | 中文版 China: VPP Nanjing (中文版) China: Wuhan | 中文版 China: VPP Nanning | (中文版) China: VPP Xiamen | 中文版 China: VPP Qingdao | 中文版
Documents Required for Visa Applications
FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION ABOUT APPLYING FOR THE F-1 VISA, PLEASE VISIT THE EMBASSY OR CONSULATE’S WEBSITE WHERE YOU WILL APPLY AS PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS OFTEN DIFFER BETWEEN CITIES. You will be required to submit at least the documents listed below and possibly more to complete the application for an F-1 student visa.
- Valid, undamaged passport (must be valid for at LEAST six (6) months into the future)
- Current passport-size photographs
- Valid SEVIS Form I-20 issued by UVM with your signature at the bottom
- If you are applying for an F-1 visa as a new student, you will also need to provide a receipt of the I-901 SEVIS fee payment of $200. The SEVIS fee is in addition to the visa application fee and can be paid online from most countries
- Proof that you have paid the visa application fee
- Proof of financial support
- Proof of admission to program of study
- Proof of non-immigrant intent (evidenced by strong ties to home country; see below)
- Original copies of your transcripts from the school you most recently attended along with certified English translations
- Results of any exams or tests you were required to take to gain admission to your school.
- Any other supporting documents you feel proves that you have the skills and background necessary to successfully complete your course of study.
- Non-immigrant visa application forms (confirm with your embassy or consulate which forms they currently use):
- Form DS-160 (an electronic form that is completed online)
The Importance of Proving “Non-Immigrant Intent”
F visa applicants must be able to prove non-immigrant intent to the U.S. consular officer. This means that you need to be able to convince the consular officer that you will be returning to your home country at the end of your academic program and that you have no plans to remain in the United States. You can do this by showing evidence of strong family and economic ties to your home country. This is even more important if you are applying for a visa after you have graduated, and are working in the U.S. on post-graduation optional or academic practical training.
Please be sure to carry the following documents with you on the plane and not in your suitcase:
- Immigration Documents: Your original I-20 form, passport and any other important legal documents from your home country that you may need.
- Financial statements: Your original financial documents such as personal bank statements, scholarship awards, and grants or loans.
- Credit card: Using a credit card to pay for things while you are getting settled will allow you to carry less cash with you. Be sure to contact your credit card company prior to departure to inform them that you will be abroad and which country or countries you will be traveling to.
- ATM card (bank card): If you will be drawing money from an account in your home country, you may wish to use a bank card to withdraw cash in U.S. Dollars after arrival from ATM machines. You will normally pay a small fee to the U.S. bank (around $2 per transaction on average), and possibly to your bank too, but you will get the most current exchange rates.
- U.S. dollars: Plan on carrying a few hundred U.S. dollars in cash ($200 to $300) in order to pay for immediate expenses like meals, transportation, or a telephone card. If you will be waiting for a wire transfer from your home country, it is a good idea to bring enough money for one month in the form of U.S. traveler’s checks as these can be replaced if they are lost or stolen during travel.
- Translations of your important documents in English (if possible): Including your travel insurance information, medical records, school transcripts, medication prescriptions, etc.
Arrival in the United States
Documents you need to carry with you:
- Passport with a valid F-1 visa
- SEVIS Form I-20
- Evidence of financial resources
- Name and contact information for Designated School Official (DSO) at UVM
- A pen
Forms you will complete on the plane prior to arrival:
The flight attendants will pass out Customs Declaration Forms (CF-6059) and Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) before you land at your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. The Form I-94 should show the address where you will reside: Office of International Education, Living/Learning B-162, 633 Main Street, Burlington, VT 05405. Complete these forms while you are on the aircraft and give them to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer upon your arrival. If you do not understand a form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.
After arrival, you will go to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. As you approach the inspection station and CBP officer, make sure you have:
- SEVIS Form I-20
- Completed Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record
- CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form
Like all entering visitors, you will be asked to state the reason you wish to enter the United States. You will also be asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the CBP Officer that you will be a student or exchange visitor. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school or exchange visitor program where you will enroll/participate (found on your I-20 form too!) Once your inspection is complete, the officer will:
- Stamp your SEVIS Form for duration of status (“D/S”) in the F-1 category
- Stamp the Form I-94 with the same information and staple it in the passport
Make sure that you put your documents back in your bag prior to leaving the terminal area so that you do not lose them or have them stolen. Also, if the CBP officer did not staple the I-94 card into your passport, please ask your international student advisor to do this for you. It is very important that you do not lose this card.
Last modified January 29 2013 10:44 AM