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After obtaining your visa documents, all students must pay a SEVIS fee. The Department of Homeland Security collects this congressionally-mandated fee to cover the costs of updating SEVIS, a system that enables the U.S. Government to maintain updated information on F and J visa holders.
To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, go to www.fmjfee.com. You will need your SEVIS number from your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. The SEVIS number is located on the upper right corner of the Form DS-2019 and upper left corner of the Form I-20.
Evidence of the SEVIS fee payment in the form of a receipt or a payment verification printout must be presented during your visa application interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate and at many U.S. ports of entry. Please have your SEVIS payment receipt ready upon entry and reentry to the U.S.
There are special instructions for students in, from, or born in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon and Gambia. Students from these countries cannot use a credit card to pay their I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor fee. Authorized payment options include check, money order or Western Union Quick Pay.
These special instructions also apply to a third party submitting the payment on behalf of a student in, from, or born in one of these countries. For detailed instructions on alternate payment methods, please visit the News page of FMJFee.com.
SEVP is not affiliated with SEVIS Express, a website collecting I-901 SEVIS Fee payments from students in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Cameroon. SEVP cannot confirm the website's legitimacy.
The DS-160 is an online visa application form that you (and your dependents, if applicable) must complete before applying for an F-1 or J-1 student visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside the U.S.
You may access the DS-160 on the U.S. Department of State website. After you have completed the DS-160, you must take these next steps below:
The U.S. Department of State has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions that may be helpful in completing the DS-160, including help for technical issues.
Receiving a visa document from Temple University (Form I-20 or DS-2019) does not guarantee that you will receive a visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate. In order to schedule an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate you will need to follow the instructions and required documents on the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate you will visit. While you can apply for a visa at U.S. embassy or consulate in any country outside the U.S., it is always better to apply in your home country.
You must bring the following items when you visit a U. S. Embassy or Consulate to you apply for a new visa:
ISSS also recommends that you bring:
The U.S. Department of State posts on their website current wait times for booking a visa appointment. Keep in mind that wait times can be quite long, especially over the busy summer months.
Note that your F-2 or J-2 dependents can book their embassy appointments independently from yours, if need be.
During your visa appointment, you will have a brief interview. You must be able to prove your eligibility for a non-immigrant visa (F-1 or J-1) by presenting financial information along with the rest of your documents. You should also be prepared to answer questions regarding the length of your intended stay in the U.S. and how you will use your academic experience gained in the U.S. when you return to your home country. Consular officials expect to see evidence of your ties to your home country, such as family, property, employment, bank accounts, etc. If the consular official determines that you are not eligible for a non-immigrant visa because you have not presented satisfactory evidence that you intend to return to your home country, they are likely to deny your visa application. There is usually no recourse to the visa denial unless you are able to present new information. You may also be asked to present evidence that you have maintained legal immigration status if you have worked, studied, or resided in the U.S. previously.
Additional points to consider when applying for a U.S. visa can be found here.
Visa processing times can vary widely. Depending on your field of study and your country of origin, you could be put through administrative processing, a form of security check, which could delay the entire visa application process. Please keep that in mind when applying for a visa.
If you hold an F or J visa status, the U.S. immigration regulations allow you to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your Form I-20 or Item 3 of your Form DS-2019.
You must review our Arrival in the U.S. information for the documents you will need to enter the U.S. with, as well as the details of the required ISSS registration.
Many U.S. Embassies are open now and issuing student visas! Please see https://www.usembassy.gov/. Once your appointment is scheduled, you can request an expedited appointment if need be. Contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate where you plan to apply for instructions on requesting an expedited appointment.
Each embassy has its own procedure for requesting an expedited visa appointment. You must submit the request following the directions listed on the site of the embassy where you will apply. If information is requested of you that Temple University can provide, please reach out to ISSS, and we will be happy to assist in providing such information.
You should continue with the SEVIS transfer instructions available at isss/future-students/sevis.html
We have received confirmation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that we may send Form I-20s to students electronically. Students may use the electronically-generated documents to apply for student visas and to enter the U.S., when entry is permissible.
Per guidance from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Forms I-20s are permitted to be sent electronically to the students. It is important that students retain this digital copy but also print a hard copy for their records, F-1 visa interview, and entry into the U.S.
You should check visa application requirements at the embassy where you will apply, but generally you will need:
Your I-20 or DS-2019 from Temple University.
Your valid passport.
A copy of your spring 2021 roster confirming that your classes are not all online or virtual. You can get a copy logging into TuPortal and printing out your roster.
The SEVP Broadcast message published July 24, 2020 confirming that initial students should be permitted to enter as long as they will pursue full course of study and that the course of study is not 100 percent online
When you are entering the U.S., you should be prepared to show the above documents as well as:
Your valid passport
Your valid F-1 or J-1 entry visa
No, your visa will remain valid until it expires. If you are required to defer your admission, you can still use your valid visa. See information about delaying your program here.
No, Forms I-20 issued electronically or with electronic signatures, as permitted and will remain valid until students have a need for an updated Form I-20.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance allows F-1 International students to be enrolled in a maximum of one class on line per semester.
F-1 students enrolled in classes for credit or classroom hours, no more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester, trimester, or quarter may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through distance education and does not require the student's physical attendance for classes, examination or other purposes integral to completion of the class. An on-line or distance education course is a course that is offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite, audio conferencing, or computer conferencing.
If the F-1 student's course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered to count toward a student's full course of study requirement.
To help ensure smooth entry into the United States, students and school officials should confirm the school on the Form I-20 matches the name of the school on the visa prior to arrival at a U.S. port of entry:
9 FAM 402.5-5(R)(1) Name of School and SEVIS ID
An initial F-1 visa foil must have the SEVIS ID and the name of the institution the student will initially attend. If student has been accepted by more than one school, the visa application will be considered only based on the Form I-20 issued by the school which the student will attend. The immigration inspector at the port of entry (POE) can refuse admission for a student seeking an initial entry with a Form I-20 from a school other than the one named on the visa or if the student indicates an intention to attend a different institution.