F-1 Visa Interview

All students (except students from Canada) who wish to enter the U.S. to study as F-1 students will be required to bring their Form I-20 and several other documents to appear for a visa interview.

Follow the steps below to obtain your F-1 visa:

  1. Pay the $350 SEVIS fee (I-901 fee)
  2. Complete the State Department‘s online nonimmigrant visa application (DS-160). Print out and keep the DS-160 barcode page.
  3. Pay the $160 visa application processing fee. Find country-specific information on USEmbassy.gov.
  4. Visit USEmbassy.gov to determine where you will apply for a visa. Learn about scheduling a visa appointment and requirements specific to its location. Please note that your F-1 visa will only be issued within 120 days of your program start date.
  5. Gather the following documents for your visa interview appointment:
    • Passport (valid for at least six months beyond the date of travel to the U.S.)
    • DS-160 confirmation page with your application ID number
    • Form I-20
    • Wesleyan admission letter
    • Receipt of $350 SEVIS fee (I-901 fee)
    • Financial documents (financial aid award letter, your scholarship letter, or letter of support from you/your family stating you have sufficient funding to study in the U.S.)
    • Evidence of your nonimmigrant intent (as discussed below)

Preparing for your visa interview:

Most nonimmigrant visas require you to establish that you are going to the U.S. for a temporary purpose only, such as pursuing an academic degree, and do not intend to stay permanently. You need to show that:
  • you will keep a residence abroad and expect to return there
  • you have personal, professional, and financial ties to your home country

Some examples of this might be evidence that you own a car or other physical property in your home country, community involvement, and immediate/extended family remaining in your country.

If you are unable to prove that you intend to return to your home country, the consular officer has the right to deny you an F-1 visa. If your visa is denied, please contact the Wesleyan Office of International Student Affairs (oisa@wesleyan.edu) as soon as you receive written notice of denial.

Applying for an F-1 Visa outside of one's country of citizenship:

It is possible to apply for an F-1 visa in a country other than the country from which you hold your passport. This is called applying as a “Third Country National.” While most embassies accept applications from Third Country Nationals, not all do so. You should check the website of the embassy at which you plan to apply for the visa to see if they accept applications from "Third Country Nationals."

There are risks in applying for a visa in a country other than your own. Since the F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, the embassy official must determine if you are planning to immigrate to the U.S. and judge the likelihood of your returning to your home country once your program in the U.S. is complete. Officials in other countries will probably not be familiar with your country of citizenship and may not be comfortable in making this determination. 

For current F-1 students: If, for any reason, you are denied a visa while you apply for a new F-1 visa as a Third Country National, you would not be able to re-enter the U.S., even if your current F-1 visa had not expired. (The visa denial would in effect invalidate your current visa.) Therefore, we advise students not to apply for a new visa as a Third Country National unless there is a real need to do so.