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Guidance for your F-1 visa application

The F-1 visa is a student visa that will be issued by the U.S. government that grants permission to travel to the U.S. border and request entry for the purpose of studying. The following steps outline what you will need to do.

NOTE: Students who are already in the U.S. will not have to complete this process. Canadian citizens are excluded from requiring a visa for entry as an F-1 student, but must pay the I-901 Fee as listed below in step #4.

Students can apply for this visa by following this process:

  1. Receive unconditional admission to the university.
  2. Submit documents on your E-Services Check List. If you have not received your final transcript and proof of degree, in some cases you can submit these upon arriving to campus.
  3. Receive a Form I-20 (“Certificate of Eligibility”) from the university. The I-20 form has information regarding you and UHCL. If everything is accurate on the I-20 form you need to sign it on section 11 of the document.
  4. Pay the I-901 fee utilizing information from the I-20. The I-901 fee is charged for all initial entry F-1 students and should be paid at least 3 days before the visa interview. The fee is currently $200 USD
    • Click here to make your payment
    • Click here for answers to commonly asked questions about the I-901.
  5. Review the procedures for applying for a visa and schedule an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The procedures vary from country to country. Click here for a link to embassies and consulates’ websites. You should make your appointment no earlier than 120 days before the start date of your program on your I-20. We recommend that you schedule an interview in the morning.
  6. Gathers all required documentation and prepare for the visa interview. It is recommended that you bring with you:
    1. Your valid passport and previously issued passports
    2. One recent (within the past six months) passport size photograph with a white background.
    3. Visa application confirmation page with barcode called DS-160
    4. Visa application fee receipts
    5. Certificate of Eligibility called an I-20
    6. Recent financial documentation proving you have enough funds for your time in the U.S.
    7. Proof of I-901 payment – you should receive or print out a receipt after you pay the I-901 fee as listed in #4 above
    8. Admission letter from UHCL
    9. Previous educational history records
      1. transcripts (mark sheets)
      2. diplomas/certificates
      3. standardized test scores (Ex: TOEFL/IELTS scores or GRE/GMAT scores)

    Note: Some embassies/consulates may require additional documentation so check with the individual embassy for clarification on what documents are required.

    Click here for more information.

  7. Attend visa interview and if granted a visa the embassy or consulate will inform you as to when and how they will return your passport with your F-1 visa.

This process is also outlined at

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