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Getting Your Visa

Attain Your F-1 Visa

While the paperwork and authorizations may seem overwhelming, a study experience in the United States at Urbana University provides a lifetime of rewards. The F-1 visa is the most popular visa provided to students coming to the United States to enroll in an academic program or complete a English as a Second Language (ESL) program. You must maintain full-time status if you are using an F-1 visa to enter the United States.

Make Sure You Meet Visa Qualifications

You’ll need to demonstrate you have the resources to support yourself financially during your stay in the United States. Since the expectation is that you will return to your home country within 60 days of completing your studies, you must show that you intend to maintain strong ties to your foreign residence.  

Applying for your Visa

Follow Us: The Path to Your  F-1 Visa

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply.

  1. Submit the information to Urbana University required to generate and ship your I-20. Once the University has determined that your application is complete and you are academically eligible, they will issue an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa. 
  2. Pay your SEVIS (I-901) fee at To pay your SEVIS fee, you will need Urbana University’s school code (003133) and your SEVIS ID number, which is available after your I-20 is generated.

3. Apply for a visa from your local embassy. The application process will include completing a DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application and a successful in-person interview.

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

Let Your Determination and Your Confidence Guide You

Be concise
Keep in mind that all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on those impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Maintain a positive attitude.

Know the program and how it fits your career plans.
Be able to explain why you chose Urbana University and how studying in the United States. will relate to your future professional career when you return home. Be ready to explain why you want to study that particular program in the United States.

Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview.

Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point. Do not bring family members with you to the interview. The officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.

Do not concede, under any circumstance, that you intend to work in the United States after completing your studies. While many students do work off-campus after their graduation, this work is incidental to their main purpose for coming to the United States

Ties to your home country
You will need to show strong ties in your home country that will insure your return home after your education in the United States. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not.  You must be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your homeland: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.

Documents to bring to the interview
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents that you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. For more information on the list of websites for U.S Embassies and Consulates, visit

Bring all documents needed to the interview. The following is a list of required documents or evidence:

  • I-20 from Urbana University
  • Letter of acceptance
  • Original financial documents (bank statements on bank letterhead and stamped by the bank)
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Evidence of intent to depart the U.S after completion of studies
  • Photograph (check with embassy for specific dimensions)

You can find more information about the F1-visa at

If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstance, be employed or study on F-2 status in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States.

If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied.

Visa denial
If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.

Additional Information

Keep This Important Information in Mind

 Additional Information

  • We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • Students who are outside the United States, and who have not been attending classes for five (5) months or more, should apply for a new student visa to reenter the United States.
  • Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

 Spouse and children

  • Your spouse and unmarried, minor children who intend to reside with you during your study may apply for an F-2 visa. Urbana University must issue them an individual Form I-20, which is required to apply for their visas. You must provide proof of relationship.
  • Your minor children are permitted to attend school in the United States while accompanying you

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