Student Visa Application

F-1 Visa: The F-1 visa is issued to full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program at an American institution. In order to apply for the F-1 visa, you need to have the I-20 form issued by the Office of Center For Global Engagement after you have been admitted to ISU and provided the required financial documents.

J-1 Visa: The J-1 visa is an exchange visitor visa issued to students at all academic levels. In order to apply for the J-1 visa, you need to have received the DS-2019 form. The DS-2019 is a two-page form that can be issued by the Office of Center For Global Engagement or the US government agency that is sponsoring you to study at ISU.

All international students should apply for a student visa if they want to study in the USA. A student visa is a permit issued by the US government to non-immigrant students to study in the country.

Indiana State University accepts students in two student visa categories: F-1 and J-1

How do you apply for a student visa?

In most countries, first-time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview. However, each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Please be sure to consult your local US embassy or consulate Web site for specific application instructions.

Students need to plan ahead to avoid having to make repeat visits to the embassy. To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, students are encouraged to apply for their visas several weeks before they plan to travel.

Required documents for visa application

All applicants for a student visa must provide the documents suggested below:

  • Form I-20 issued by ISU Office of Center For Global Engagement, if you are an F-1 student.
  • Form DS-2019 issued by ISU Office of Center For Global Engagement, if you are a J-1 student.
  • Completed nonimmigrant visa application form (DS-156) with photo for each person applying. These forms are available at the embassy or consulate.
  • Passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.
  • Receipt for the SEVIS fee (I-901). All international students applying for F-1 or J-1 visa must pay the SEVIS fee before they go to the US embassy or consulate. You can pay this fee on-line at: information about the SEVIS fee can found at the ICE web site above.
  • Receipt for visa processing fee: When you go to the US consulate or embassy to apply for your visa, you will first have to pay the visa processing fee. Once you pay the fee, you will be issued a receipt. Keep this receipt showing payment of the visa application fee for each applicant, including each child listed on a parent's passport who is also applying for a US visa, to present to the consular officer during the interview.
Applicants with dependents must also provide:
  • Proof of the student's relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates).
In addition, all applicants should be prepared to provide:
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended.
  • Scores from standardized tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, GMAT, etc. that are required by ISU.
  • Financial evidence showing that you or your financial sponsor who is sponsoring you has sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.
  • Any additional documents that might help establish your strong ties to your home country.

As you apply for your visa it is important to remember that you must provide the right documents, have the right reasons, and make a positive impression on the consular officer. Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

The Right Attitude
  • Speak in English - Practice interviewing in English with a native English speaker. Being fluent and confident will help you present your case better. However, avoid preparing a speech
  • Speak for yourself - Make your case yourself. Having your parents or others speak on your behalf does not make a good impression on the consular officer.
  • Be brief - Keep your answers and explanations short and to the point, as consular officers can only spend a limited amount of time with each applicant.
  • Be positive - Do not argue with the consular officer or come across as rude and sarcastic, even if you are denied a visa. Instead courteously ask the officer to suggest additional documents you could bring in order to overcome the refusal.
Some tips to demonstrate your intentions to return to your native country:
  • Convince the consular officer that the sole (not just "primary") purpose of your visit to the US is to pursue a program of study.
  • Outline your plans for when you complete your education and return to your country.
  • Document family ties, business interests, and assets in your home country.
  • Discuss your job prospects, upon completion of your US education, in your native country.