How to Get Your F-1 Student Visa

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

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

Here is how you start the visa application process:

  1. Pay the U.S. SEVIS I-901 fee and print out the receipt by going to this link: You will need to present this receipt at your visa appointment. 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 porcedures.
  4. F-1 student visas can be issued up to 365 days in advance of the start date of a course of study.
  5. U.S. government officials require evidence to prove that you qualify for the F-1 visa.

This is what you need to have with you when you go to the visa interview/what to prepare for your mail-in procedures:

  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 letter of acceptance 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.)

Tips for a successful visa interview:

  • 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).

Important notes after your visa interview:

  • After your F-1 Student Visa is issued and before you leave the embassy/consulate, please check the visa to make sure that all data on the visa is correct. Check that the name on your visa matches the name in your passport and that it shows that it is an F-1 visa. If these items are incorrect, please ask for them to be fixed at the US Consulate.
  • If your visa is denied, contact us with complete details of what was said and what documents you presented with your application. Please send an email to and attach a copy of any written reason for the denial you may have been given. If you were denied based on 214(b) grounds, you did not present enough evidence regarding your "ties" to your home country.
  • 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.