Getting Your Visa
There is a lot of information and steps that are important in both getting and maintaining your visa.Most of what you need to know can be found here. For those seeking a visa to study at Lane for the first time, we are happy to offer free visa advising appointments over Skype, and in certain countries, even in person. See our Tips for a Successful Visa Interview page to review and sign up!
What to do with your new I-20
- Review your I-20 to make sure all information is correct. Your name and date of birth should match your passport. Contact us at email@example.com if corrections are necessary.
- Print, sign and date your new I-20 under item #11.
If you are a new student entering the U.S. on an "initial" I-20
- Carry important documents with you, including a valid passport, valid F-1 visa, I-20, Lane notice of admission and evidence of financial resources.
- If you do not have a valid F-1 visa to enter the U.S., please schedule a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. See information on Visa Application and Renewal.
- You can enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date noted on your I-20 (see item #5). If you are not able to arrive by your program start date, contact us immediately so we can send you a new I-20 with a new program start date (this often will be for the following term).
If you are transferring from another U.S. school
- If you received a "Transfer Pending" I-20 (see item #3), you can re-enter the U.S. at any time before your program start date noted on your I-20.
- If you are not traveling out of the U.S. before transferring to Lane, your new I-20 will not be issued until after you have registered and reported for classes at Lane.
- You must enroll in the next available term, or within 5 months of your last day of attendance at your previous school, whichever is sooner.
What is SEVIS?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS is the electronic, internet-based system of record-keeping for international students. The system is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) used by schools, embassies, and immigration services to monitor students' visits in the U.S. Regulations require that the system be self-funded and in September 2004 DHS began collecting a fee. The $350 fee is paid by new students who use an I-20 to enter the U.S. in F1 visa status.
Who has to pay the SEVIS fee?
If you received an "initial" I-20 (see item #3).
F1 students who leave the U.S. for five months or more and then re-enter the U.S. in F1 status.
Individuals who are in the U.S. and wish to change to F-1 student status from another nonimmigrant status.
F1 students who fall out-of-status for more than five months and apply for reinstatement.
If you received a "Transfer Pending" I-20 (see item #3)and still hold a valid F1 visa, you do not need to pay a new SEVIS fee, but if you are renewing your visa you may be required to pay the fee.
When do students pay the SEVIS fee?
The fee is paid after receiving the form I-20 from the school which the student will be attending. You will need your SEVIS ID# from your I20 to pay the fee.
The fee should be paid at least 3 business days before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa interview. You need to bring your receipt showing proof of paying the SEVIS fee to your visa interview.
Canadian students must pay prior to applying for F1 status at a U.S. port of entry.
For individuals applying for a Change of Status in the U.S., the fee is paid prior to submitting their status change application.
How do students pay the fee?
The fee may be paid electronically by completing Form I-901 online and using a credit card.
The fee may be paid by a check or money order payable in U.S. currency along with the I-901 form.
Western Union's "Quick Pay" service collects the fee in local currency.
Most non-U.S. citizens who wish to study in the United States will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa.
A new F-1 visa can only be acquired at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the United States. It is not possible to renew a visa by mail or in person within the United States. Every U.S. Embassy has different visa application procedures; most now require appointments for visa processing. You should contact the US Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply for your visa for additional information or to set up an appointment if required. Please plan ahead! There is a wait time at most embassies for appointments and before a visa can be issued.
See the State Department Student Visa page for more information.
Anyone applying for an F-1 visa must "prove" to the satisfaction of the Consular Officer that he or she does not intend to immigrate to the U.S. It is important to bring supporting documents to provide evidence of your intent to return to your home country such as: proof of family ties, ownership of property in your home country, a job in your home country, etc. More information about this proof of non-immigrant intent can be found under the "Tips for a Successful Visa Interview".
In addition to the visa application fee, first time F-1 applicants (and some renewing applicants) are also required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee (see Pay SEVIS Fee information sheet).
The advisors in International Programs are preparing for your arrival and are eager to help you. If you have any questions regarding your immigration documents or other arrival matters please contact us.