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Applying for the F1 Visa

How to apply

Step 1: Obtain an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility)
As an international student, you will generally need to apply for a visa before entering the US.  Once you have applied to the college, you will receive an acceptance letter and an I-20 request form, which you must then return to City Tech with the appropriate documentation requested.  If the International Student Services Office has determined that you have sufficient funding to support your studies in the US, you will be forwarded an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).  This does guarantee the issuance of the visa.   

Step 2: Schedule an appointment with the US embassy
Locate your US embassy at

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS fee
You may pay the SEVIS fee at

Step 4: Prepare for your interview

  • Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
  • A passport valid for at least six months
  • Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)
  • School admission letter
  • Completed visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
  • Two 2x 2 photographs
  • A receipt for the visa application fee
  • A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may
  • be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
    Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the United States. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

NAFSA - 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa
10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa

F-1/J-1 Rules & Regulations
Students who come to the US under a nonimmigrant classification of “F-1” or “J-1” are required to follow certain regulations in order to keep their legal status in the country.  It is your responsibility to understand and follow these rules as they apply to your status.  The most important rules for F-1 or J-1 are as follows:

  • You must attend the institution you have been authorized to attend on your I-20/DS2019. 
  • Upon arrival into the US, you must report to the Office of International Student Services.  Bring copies of you passport, I-94 and the stamped I-20/DS2019.
  • You must pursue a full course of study each semester during the academic year.  Full time enrollment at City Tech is 12 credits per semester.
  • Do not pursue employment without proper authorization. 
  • Report any changes from one program or educational level to another (associates to bachelors).
  • Apply for program extensions at least 30 days before the completion date on your I-20 (item #5 of the I-20) or DS 2019 (item #3 of the DS 2019). 
  • Report any change of address within 10 days of change.
  • Do not attempt to change your major without discussing it with the Office of International Student Services first.
  • If you are a student transferring from another college, you must process your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 no later than 30 days after your previous school has released your record or 15 days after the start of classes, whichever date comes first. 
  • Notify the Office of International Student Services before transferring to another institution or taking a leave of absence. 
  • Always keep your passport valid. 
  • You must have health insurance that meets US State Department requirements if you are a J-1 visa holder.


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