International Admission > Student Visas > Applying for a Student Visa

Applying for a Student Visa

​​​​​Complete the following steps AFTER​ receiving your I-20 from DePaul.

Please check and verify all information listed on your DePaul University Form I-20 is accurate and printed correctly. This includes your name as it appears in your passport, your program of study, the length of study, your previous school's name if you are a transfer student, country of birth, country of citizenship, date of birth, and financial information. If anything is listed incorrectly, please contact your admitting unit immediately to make a correction.

After you review your Form I-20 for accuracy, immediately sign and date the student attestation on the first page.

Each international student issued an initial status Form I-20 is responsible for paying the required SEVIS I-901 fee. To pay this fee, please go to the SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Website.

What is SEVIS?

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) acts as the bridge for government organizations that have an interest in information about foreign students. It is designed to help the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State better monitor school and exchange visitor programs and F, M, and J category visitors. SEVP administers the F (academic) and M (vocational) visa categories, while the US Department of State manages the J exchange visitor program. SEVP uses web-based technology known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to track and monitor schools and programs, students, exchange visitors, and their dependents while they are legally enrolled in the US education system. 

SEVP collects, maintains, and uses the information to ensure that only legitimate foreign students or exchange visitors gain entry to the United States. The result is an easily accessible information system that provides timely information to the US Department of State, US Customs and Border Protection, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

All non-immigrants coming to the United States for the purpose of studying must obtain an F-1 student visa necessary for travel to the United States. This document can be acquired at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in your home country or residence and is placed in your valid passport. International travelers who are citizens of Canada or Bermuda and meet all necessary requirements are eligible to travel to the US without a visa. Please visit the US Department of State - Bureau of Cultural Affairs for information on this process.

Visa Wait Times

Visa wait times for interview appointments vary by location and season, so you should apply for your F-1 visa early. Review the interview wait time for the location you will apply for your visa here

Complete the Online Visa Application

1) Complete the online visa application, and

2) Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.

Schedule Visa Interview

You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another US Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

Required Documentation for Your Visa Appointment

  • Passport valid for travel to the United States. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo - You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160
  • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status, Form I-20
Additional documents may be requested to establish your qualification. Be prepared to present the following:
  • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
  • Scores from tests required for admission, such as the TOEFL
  • Standardized test scores required by your US school
  • Your intent to depart the US upon completion of your course of study
  • How you will pay all educational, living, and travel costs

Attend Your Visa Interview

A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under US law to receive a visa. After your visa interview, the consular officer may determine that your application requires further administrative processing. The consular officer will inform you if this is required. After the visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality), and make arrangements for the return of the passport and visa to you. Review the visa processing times link to learn more.

A Visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa only allows a foreign citizen to travel to a US port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. Your travel ability is dependent on the type of I-20 issued to you. Please review the specific requirements for your I-20 type:

  • Initial Status I-20: Students with initial status can enter the US no more than 30 days prior to the program start date indicated on your I-20. 
  • Transfer Pending I-20: Students with a transfer pending I-20 can travel within and enter the US with no limitation prior to your program start date listed on your I-20. 
  • Change of Educational Level I-20: Students with a transfer pending I-20 can travel within and enter the US with no limitation prior to your program start date listed on your I-20. 

When you arrive, you must have the following documents in your possession: 

  1. Valid passport for at least six months in the future
  2. SEVIS Form I-20
  3. Valid F-1 Visa
  4. DePaul University Letter of Acceptance (recommended)
  5. Documentary Evidence of Financial Support (recommended)

Additional Resources