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International Student Services

Applying For a Visa

Applying For F-1 Foreign Student Or J-1 Exchange Student Visa

U.S. visas are divided into two categories: immigrant and non-immigrant. You will be applying for a student visa, which is a non-immigrant visa.

To receive a student visa, you must convince the U.S. government officials that you intend to return to your home country after completing your education. Be prepared with a short, clear answer that explains how getting an education in the U.S. will help you achieve your career goals when you return home. You may only have a minute or two to convince the immigration officer, so be ready!

Apply for a U.S. visa through your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Each Embassy or Consulate has different procedures for applying for a student visa. Check its website for more information. Be sure to follow the instructions on how to apply for a student visa. You want to begin this process at the earliest date allowed. Find the link to your embassy or consulate at: in new window).

The U.S. embassy or consulate in your country will have instructions of exactly what it needs to see and exactly how your information must be submitted. These are some of the documents it might ask for:

  • I-20 (F-1 students) or DS 2019 (J-1 exchange students)
  • Valid Passport (good for at least one year or more)
  • Proof of Finances
  • Transcripts of prior educational institutions
  • Proof of English proficiency (not required if conditionally admitted)
  • SEVIS I-901 application fee receipt
  • Embassy/Consulate visa processing fee
  • Statement from local police department indicating no arrests or convictions
  • Medical statement from your doctor
  • J-1 Exchange students might need a list from their current institution of approved Chico courses

Before your visa interview, be sure to pay the SEVIS I-901 application fee. You must take your receipt to your appointment. More information is available in new window)

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