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Visa Information and Checklist

Having an I-20 alone does not grant you any status in the United States. The I-20 is only a "certificate of eligibility" for an F visa. Your visa is the key to legal entry to the United States.

You can download all necessary visa forms at the U.S. consulate's website.

Plan ahead so that you will have time to attend your visa interview and get your visa before classes start. You are encouraged to apply for your visa 60 to 90 days before you plan to travel.

Visa Application Checklist

  • A passport valid for at least six months after the date you plan to enter the United States
  • Form I-20 from EWU (received after your application to Eastern is complete and you have been accepted)
  • A receipt showing you paid the required SEVIS fee
  • Official financial documents showing you will be able to pay for expenses while in the United States
  • Evidence of English proficiency (often scores from tests such as the TOEFL or IETS)
  • Evidence of intent to return home after completing studies (often a written statement explaining why you want to study in the United States and why you will return home)
  • Visa application Forms: DS-156 and DS-158, and any forms required by the U.S. consulate in your home country (forms are available from U.S. consulate websites)
  • Photographs of each applicant
  • Visa processing fees for each applicant
  • Any extra documents required by the U.S. consulate in your home country

More Information

In some cases, the U.S. consulate officer may have additional requirements. It is not possible to say exactly what evidence you may need to convince the official that you will return home because applicants' circumstances vary greatly.

The following links will take you to specific information prepared by the U.S. government about the visa application process:

U.S Embassies Abroad

Fees for Visa Services

Visas for Third-country Nationals in Canada/Mexico

Visa Denials

Visa Photo Requirements


Homeland Secruity: Study in the States

You may also find this link helpful. It was created by an organization that works to help international students study in the United States.

NAFSA: 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

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