Initial F-1 Visas

At this point, you must have been issued your Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status – For Academic and Language Students. Please print your name, sign, and date it in BLUE INK as soon as possible.

If you follow the instructions that we have outlined below, you should be successful in getting your student visa and in arriving in the United States without difficulty.

Now that you have been admitted and issued your Form I-20, the next step is to apply for your F-1 student visa.

Here is what you need to do step by step:

    1. Pay the U.S. SEVIS I-901 fee and print out the receipt by going to this link: This fee is required for ALL international students who want to study in the United States.
    2. Please visit and complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160). Print out the DS-160 barcode page and bring it with you to your visa appointment. This form is required.
    3. Make an appointment via the website for your visa interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country with jurisdiction over your place of residence.

      Please note:

      • Some U.S. Consulates have mail-in processes. It is always good to confirm by checking the U.S. Consulate’s website you will be using to determine if you must attend an in-person visa interview or if you must use the mail-in procedures.
      • F-1 student visas can be issued up to 365 days in advance of the start date of a course of study.
      • U.S. government officials require evidence to prove that you qualify for the F-1 visa.
    1. Original Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status
    2. SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
    3. DS-160 barcode page (confirmation page with application ID number on it)
    4. MRV Fee Receipt (the payment for the actual visa)
    5. Valid passport (valid at least 6 months beyond intended stay)
    6. One 2X2 Photograph
    7. Original letters of acceptance and financial aid from Champlain College
    8. Original financial documents (less than 2 months old)
    9. If your first language is not English, Official test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, etc)
    10. Official transcripts and diplomas
    11. Proof of ties to your home country (photographs of your family, bank statements, letters of future employment after schooling, etc – anything that you can show that substantiates that you will be returning to your home country after your program is completed in the U.S.)
    • Be brief and answer questions directly.
    • Keep a positive attitude during the interview.
    • Be ready to explain why you want to come to the U.S. to study at Champlain College. For example:
      • Why do you want to study in the U.S.?
      • Why did you choose Champlain College?
      • What career will your studies prepare you for back home?
    • You must convince the Consulate Officer that you do plan to go back home to stay after you complete your studies. This is the number one reason for visa denial! Present documents that show you have “ties” to your home country, which will force you to return to your home country. These “ties” are usually social, economic, and/or family.
    • Practice your English. Your interview will be in English. You will be required to speak it and show your English test scores (i.e. TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, etc scores).
    • Please check the visa to make sure that all data on the visa is correct.
    • If your visa is denied, send an email to and attach a copy of any written reason for the denial you may have been given.
    • DO NOT plan to enter the United States earlier than 30 days before your program start date indicated on your Form I-20.
    • DO NOT pack your immigration documents in your suitcase.

Entry to the U.S.

We are looking forward to your arrival at Champlain College! If you follow the instructions outlined below, you should be able to enter the United States without difficulty.

  1. IMPORTANT! DO NOT come earlier than 30 days before your program start date indicated on your Form I-20. You risk being denied entry or being admitted as another visa category (i.e. Visitor instead of a Student).
  2. DO NOT arrive later than the program start date without our permission.
  3. DO NOT pack your immigration documents in your suitcase.
  4. Text on WhatsApp using this phone number in case of emergency: +1-802-318-0365.
  5. All international students entering the U.S. will receive an electronic I-94. This is your STATUS inside the U.S. After entering the U.S., in order to check that you have been placed into the correct status (“F-1 D/S”), please click here.
  6. Have your documents ready to show a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer. You will be asked to show your passport, F-1 student visa, Form I-20, and financial documents when you are going through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspection.
  7. Be prepared to explain why you are coming to the U.S. The CBP officer will ask a few questions about your purpose for coming to the U.S. Please be prepared to tell them why you are coming to study at Champlain College.
  8. If you do not have your I-20 and you are issued an I-515A, please email Jessa Karki,, as soon as possible so that she can work to fix your status. An I-515A only allows you to stay in the U.S. for 30 days.
  9. You may be asked to go to secondary inspections. This is normal – do not worry.
  10. Please report to the Office of International Student Services (Skiff Hall, Room 204) soon as you arrive at Champlain College. Please bring with you the following documents for inspection:
    • Passport (s) with current F-1 Student Visa
    • Original Champlain College Form I-20
    • Original Forms I-20 from any other U.S. schools that you have attended

F-1 Visa Renewals

Entry visas can only be issued outside of the United States. If there are no extenuating circumstances, Champlain College recommends that you renew your F-1 student visa in your home country.

We also strongly encourage you to:

  • Apply and schedule an appointment in advance before you leave the U.S.
  • Double-check the U.S. embassy website for the country where you will be renewing your visa to confirm their process (visa interview required or mail-in visa application opportunities) and identify what documents are required.

Standard documents necessary for renewal:

  • Valid Passport (at least 6 months into the future)
  • DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Current Form I-20 (updated with new finances and endorsed for travel)
  • All previous Forms I-20
  • New proof of funding
  • Transcripts from Champlain College and any other previous institutions
  • Proof of compelling ties to your home country
  • Letter from your P/DSO in support of your renewal
  • SEVIS I-901 receipt (from your first visa interview)
  • Any fees that might apply and receipt for them