Applying for a visa
Key information for international students
Non-US citizens and visitors from a foreign country are required to apply for a non-immigrant visa to enter the US. As an incoming NAU international student or scholar, you must have an F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport to be allowed entry into the US. Before applying for a student or an exchange visitor visa, you must be accepted by an SEVP approved US institution. You must also have your I-20 or DS-2019 from the US institution in which you intend to study before you apply for a visa. Follow the steps below to pay your SEVIS I-901 fee and apply for a visa.
SEVIS I-901 fee
After you receive your immigration documents–either a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019–from NAU, you can start the visa application process by paying your SEVIS fee. All F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors must pay the SEVIS fee. Please note that you must pay the SEVIS fee at least three business days BEFORE your visa interview.
Who should pay the SEVIS fee? Accordion Closed
Before applying for a visa, the Department of Homeland and Security requires all new F-1 students, J-1 students, and J-1 scholars who are entering the US for the first time to pay a SEVIS fee. The SEVIS fee is separate from the visa application fee which you will pay later on before your visa interview. For more information on who must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, please refer to the Homeland and Security website.
*Continuing students do not have to pay the SEVIS fee when they apply for a visa to return to the US. Find more information on who is exempt from paying the SEVIS fee at the SEVIS FAQ site.
*Dependents of F-1 and J-1 students (F-2 and J-2 visitors) are not required to pay the SEVIS fee.
When should I pay the SEVIS fee? Accordion Closed
We recommend that you pay the SEVIS fee immediately upon receipt of your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019. You do not need to pay the SEVIS fee to schedule your visa interview, but you must pay the SEVIS fee at least three business days BEFORE your visa interview.
How can I pay the SEVIS fee? Accordion Closed
Proof of your I-901 SEVIS fee payment Accordion Closed
After you pay your SEVIS fee, make sure to print out a receipt as proof of your I-901 SEVIS fee payment. This receipt is one of the important documents you will need when you go to your visa interview.
Applying for a visa
After paying the SEVIS fee, you should complete the online nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) and schedule an interview. The US Department of State recommends that you print the DS-160 form confirmation page and bring it with you to your visa interview.
Find information on the visa interview requirements, application fee, and the required documentation on the State Department’s website.
Find helpful tips for visa applications and interviews on the Study in the States website.
Scheduling your visa appointment Accordion Closed
An F-1 or J-1 visa appointment can be scheduled up to 120 days prior to your program start date at NAU. You must schedule an appointment with the US embassy or consulate in the country where you live. To find the closest embassy or consulate, refer to the US Embassy’s website. See the visa appointment wait time in your city on the government travel page.
Preparing for your interview Accordion Closed
Check your country’s US embassy or consulate website to know what documents are required for your interview. Generally, the following documents are required by the US embassy:
- Passport (valid at least six months after your period of stay in the US).
- Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Application fee payment receipt.
- The online Form DS-160 requires that you upload your photo while completing your application. If you fail to upload your photo online, you must bring a printed photo to your interview. Make sure that your photo follows the requirements of the US Department of State.
- Your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 signed by you and NAU.
- Your admission letter from NAU.
- Evidence of financial support.
- SEVIS fee receipt.
Receiving your visa Accordion Closed
Processing your visa might take some time, so make sure that you schedule your visa interview well in advance of your travel date. Some visa applications may require administrative processing that will require additional processing time after the visa interview date, and could delay your arrival to the US. If this happens to you, be sure to contact us at email@example.com to discuss deferring your admission and arrival dates. The status of your visa application can be tracked on the Department of State website.
Once you receive your visa, be sure to check it carefully for errors to avoid any delays or complications while entering the US. If you find any errors, contact the US embassy immediately.
Visa denials Accordion Closed
The approval or denial of visa applicants is governed by the US law. Your visa application will be denied if the consular officer finds that you are not eligible. In the case of a visa denial, you will be notified of the reason. Please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the reason type if you receive a denial.