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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.
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.
As an applicant for a temporary, non-immigrant visa to enter the United States, you must bring your Passport, Form I-20 or DS-2019, SEVIS fee receipt, DS-160 confirmation page, proof of funding, and any additional documentation required by the individual U.S. embassy or consulate you visit when you present your application to the consular official.
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.