Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Lynchburg! We are excited about the opportunity to have you join our wonderful and vibrant community here in Lynchburg, Virginia. There are many things for you to consider in preparation for your arrival to the United States and your transition. We encourage you to read through the student visa information that describes what steps you need to take in order to meet important requirements and also includes general information on how to best prepare for your arrival. The University has a Fall International Student Orientation that all new international students attend prior to the start of classes, and we look forward to meeting you in person when you arrive!
Applying for Your Student Visa
Applying for your student visa can be an intimidating and complicated process as there are several very important steps that must be followed. Remember to follow each step carefully and be calm and professional in your approach to U.S. officials. If you do, you will find that your chance of success will increase. The information contained in this section will explain the most common steps applicable to students. Please contact ISS if you have any questions regarding any of these steps, or any other travel issues.
- After being accepted by University of Lynchburg and confirming your intent to enroll, a Form I-20 or DS-2019 will be mailed to you. You will need this document to apply for your student visa at the U.S. Embassy.
- Pay the SEVIS Fee.
- Schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
- Prepare for the visa interview.
- Attend your scheduled visa interview at the U.S. Embassy.
- Enter the U.S. on your student visa no more than 30 days before your program start date. You will also need your passport and your immigration document (I-20 form or DS-2019) at the Port of Entry. Remember to carry these documents on the plane with you and do not pack them in your checked luggage.
- The I-901 SEVIS Fee is mandated by Congress to support the program office and the automated system that both keeps track of students and exchange visitors and ensures that they maintain their status while in the United States. Each student or exchange visitor issued an initial Form I-20 or DS-2019 on or after September 1, 2004 is responsible for paying this fee to SEVP.
- Pay the fee before you go to your visa interview at a United States embassy or consulate. The I-901 SEVIS Fee payment does not have to be completed until you appear for the interview. You can schedule an interview before you make the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment. However, you must allow at least three business days for the payment to be received and verified.
- Print and keep your receipt as you will need this at your visa interview and when you travel to enter the United States.
- SEVP Fee processing website
- SEVIS Fee Frequently Asked Questions
- SEVIS Fee Payment Tutorial
- After you pay the SEVIS Fee, you can schedule your appointment at the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
- Make Visa Appointment: In order to secure your nonimmigrant visa, you must visit the U.S. Consulate or Embassy nearest your home town in your country of residence. For example, if you live in the northernmost part of Chile, and the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy is in La Paz, Bolivia, you may not visit that office. You will need to travel to Santiago for your visa request. Click on the highlighted text to navigate to find a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country.
- The U.S. Consulate or Embassy in every country has different requirements for visa applications (though the requirements are fairly universal, there may be slight differences from country to country). Some require appointments while some take only walk-in applications. Others will require a background check and fingerprinting, which can take several months. It is important that you contact the Consulate or Embassy as soon as possible to make arrangements for your appointment.
- You may be required to complete the DS-160 visa form and pay the associated fees for your visa. Be sure to print and keep the DS-160 confirmation barcode page.
An interview is required as part of your visa application. Interviews are typically very short (approximately 2 minutes). You will want to be prepared to answer questions such as:
- How long do you plan to stay in the United States?
- Why do you want to study in the U.S. instead of your own country?
- What do you plan to study?
- Be ready to explain connections to your home country, and your plans to use your U.S. education in your home country once you complete your program of study.
It is important that the visa application is filled out completely and correctly. If a question does not apply to your situation, write in N/A (Not Applicable). This shows the consular officer that you have read the question, but that it does not apply your situation. Additionally, all supporting documents must be in English or have an English translation.
What to bring with you to the visa interview:
- Your valid passport
- Form I-20 or DS-2019
- A receipt indicating you paid the SEVIS fee
- Required photo(s)
- Proof of visa fee payment
- U.S. nonimmigrant visa application forms
- LC admission letter
- Proof of English proficiency
- Proof of financial support (i.e. bank statement)
- Evidence of ties to your home country (i.e. familial or financial)
- Any other documents required by the embassy or consulate