F1 Student Visa Application Information

1)  Accept your offer of admission

The first step is to accept your offer of admission by paying your $500 deposit!  From overseas, we recommend using flywire.com to pay your deposit.  If you are in the U.S., just contact us for other options.

2) Obtain your I-20

The I-20 is the immigration document issued by SUNY Geneseo that you will need to apply for your student visa.  Once your deposit is received, the ISSS Office will contact you if additional documents are needed. 

In order to issue your I-20 we must have a copy of your passport ID page and your financial support documents.  The financial support documents typically include a bank statement (from you, your parents, or a sponsor) and a financial support letter. Once these documents are received, your I-20 will be mailed to you by UPS. 

3)  Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

The SEVIS I-901 fee is a government fee that must be paid after you receive your I-20 and before you can apply for your visa.  The SEVIS I-901 fee will increase to $350 on June 24, 2019.  The SEVIS fee can be paid online at www.fmjfee.com.  Print your I-901 fee payment receipt and keep it with your I-20 as it may be needed in the future.

4)  Apply for your F1 Visa

We strongly recommend reviewing the travel.state.gov website for current forms, visa wait times, and more details on the visa application process.

F1 visas can now be issued up to 365 days before your program start date (listed on your I-20).  Please note, you cannot enter the U.S. until 30 days (or less) before your program start date.

  1. Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160.  You should complete the online form and print the confirmation page to bring to your interview.  
  2. Upload your photo to the online form DS-160
  3. Schedule an interview at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.  The process varies from country to country, so be sure to check your local embassy or consulate well in advance.
  4. Pay the Visa Application Fee:  The fee is currently $160.  Please check travel.state.gov for the most up to date information.
  5. Gather Required Documents
    1. Passport
    2. Completed Visa Application (form DS-160)
    3. Visa Application Fee Payment Receipt
    4. SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Receipt
    5. Photo
    6. Form I-20 issued by SUNY Geneseo
    7. Financial Documents: Bank statement and financial statement of support showing the ability to cover academic expenses listed on the I-20 for the first academic year.
  6. Additional Recommended Documents:
    1. Your SUNY Geneseo Admission Letter
    2. Any scholarship awards that you've received
    3. Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or other documents that show your academic history
    4. Standardized test scores (such as TOEFL, IELTS, and SAT scores)
    5. Any documentation confirming your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of your studies
  7. Attend your Visa Interview

5) Review the Preparing for Departure information on our website

6) Arrival in the U.S.

You may enter the U.S. with your F1 visa up to 30 days before the start of your program.  Upon arrival, you will pass through passport control and customs inspection.  Be sure to carry your I-20 and passport with you!  Do not put these documents in to your checked luggage as you will not have access to them before entering passport control.

Your electronic I-94 entry record will be created at the Port of Entry and can be viewed online anytime.  Your passport should be stamped with F1 and D/S.  If you do not see this stamp, check with a CBP official BEFORE leaving the customs area.

7) Have questions?  We're happy to help!  

While we have no control over the issuance of visas, we are happy to answer questions and give advice throughout this process!  Email isss@geneseo.edu for assistance.

Watch our webinar on How to Apply for your F1 Visa for more tips:



If your visa is not approved

Don't panic!  Do not challenge or argue with the visa officer.  Ask the visa officer politely if they have any suggestions for different documentation for you prepare for your future interview.  In many cases, a visa denial does not mean that you will never get a visa.  It may just mean that you need to prepare or bring different documentation with you.  Email isss@geneseo.edu for suggestions.  

If you are unable to get a visa in time for your intended intake, let us know.  We can defer your admission to a future semester if you would like to try again.