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Applying for an F-1 Visa

In order to study in the United States, all international students are required to have an F-1 student visa. It's a good idea to begin applying for your F-1 visa as early as possible, to ensure that you will be able to arrive on time and be eligible to register for classes as CSUSM. This basic information will help you prepare to apply for an F-1 visa. 

Step 1:

After you have been admitted to CSUSM, you'll receive an I-20 form from the ALCI. You will need this form in order to pay the $350 USD SEVIS fee online at Print two (2) copies of your receipt. Please visit our SEVIS Fee Requirement page for more information.

Step 2:

Follow the U.S. Department of State’s visa instructions to apply and schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa. Before your interview, you'll need to complete the following items:

  1. Online Nonimmigrant Visa ApplicationForm DS-160 – Learn more about completing the form. You must: 1) complete the online visa application, 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview, and 3) pay the $160 visa application fee.
  2. Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

Step 3:

Pay the visa application fee when completing your application and schedule a visa interview at the U.S. Consulate. Follow the U.S. Consulate's instructions regarding what to bring to your visa interview. Generally, students will need the following documents:

  1. A valid passport
  2. The Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
  3. The application fee payment receipt
  4. Copy of SEVIS fee receipt
  5. A passport photo
  6. A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status (Form I-20)

Step 4:

Go to your visa interview. In addition to any required documents, bring any information that proves that you will return to your home country after you complete your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or a job in your home country when you return. Do not prepare a speech in advance; it is important that you answer the Consular Officer's questions truthfully.

Step 5:

After your visa interview, contact the ALCI.  You need to let the ALCI know whether or not you received a visa. 

Need more detailed information on obtaining an F-1 visa? For additional information on applying for a student visa, please go to the U.S. Department of State website.