Eastern Florida State College | F1 Visa: The I-20 & Sevis Process

Obtaining an F-1 Visa:
I-20 and SEVIS Information

Once you have been admitted to Eastern Florida State College, you will need to take the steps outlined in the accordion below to obtain an F-1 Student Visa.

Note: In order to obtain the most current and accurate information on the visa application and interview process, international students should review the website for the U.S. Consulate/Embassy where they will schedule the visa interview.

Click to step to reveal details

Step 1:  Obtain your I-20 from EFSC

Once you have been accepted to EFSC, you will receive your acceptance letter and your I-20 Form. The I-20 is a multi-purpose document issued by a U.S. government-approved educational institution certifying that a student has been admitted to a full-time study program and that the student has demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. The I-20 is officially titled the “Certificate of Eligibility” because it allows an individual to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Step 2:  Pay the SEVIS fee

Every international student who wishes to begin an “initial” program of study is required to pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SEVIS fee must be paid with information from your EFSC-issued I-20 Form. You must print the fee payment receipt to present at your visa interview and at the U.S. Port of Entry. 

Step 3:  Make a visa interview appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate (Includes interview tips)

When you go to the visa interview you must bring the following:

  • Original I-20 and EFSC Acceptance Letter
  • Passport valid 6 months into the future
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Visa application forms and fees
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt

Visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information about the visa application process and Temporary Visitors to the United States. Some consulates may require additional documentation, so check the consulate website for visa application instructions.

Interview Tips

In addition to providing the required documents and showing ties to your home country, making a positive impression on the consular officer is critical in the visa interview process. Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

  • Be brief - It is important to understand that interviews are typically about five minutes in length; because of this, it is best to keep answers and explanations short and to the point.
  • Speak in English - Practice interviewing in English with a native English speaker - being fluent and confident will help present the case. However, avoid preparing a speech.
  • Speak for yourself - Make the case independently. Having parents or others speak on a student’s behalf does not make a good impression on the consular officer.
  • Be positive - Do not argue with the consular officer or come across as rude and sarcastic, even if the visa application is denied.

Step 4:  Arrive at a United States airport and clear customs at U.S. Port of Entry with necessary documents

Official Arrival Date: You must arrive in the United States by the date indicated on your Form I-20. You may arrive in the United States no more than 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20.

You must bring the following:

  • Original I-20 and Acceptance Letter
  • F-1 student visa stamp in passport
  • Valid passport
  • Financial documents consistent with I-20

Reminder: To obtain the most current and accurate information on the visa application and interview process, international students should review the website for the United States Consulate/Embassy where they will schedule the visa interview.

 

 

International Online Application

International Application Checklist

International Transcript Information

View Academic Calendar

Application Deadlines

For Prospective F-1 Visa Students

Term Outside the U.S. Inside the U.S.
Fall:
Mid-Aug.
June 15 July 15
Spring:
Early-Jan.
Oct. 15 Nov. 15
Summer:
Mid-May
Feb. 15 Apr. 15

The application deadline is the date the online application AND all supporting documents must be received by the College in order to process your admission for the desired term. Applications received after the deadline are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Contact iss@easternflorida.edu for information

View deadlines for all other non-immigrant visa holders (not F-1)