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F-1 & J-1 Students - Visa Application

All F-1 and J-1 students who are currently abroad** will need to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in their passports before coming to the U.S. (Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a visa stamp, but must present their valid passport, valid I-20 or DS-2019 and receipt for payment of the SEVIS fee when applying for admission to the U.S.).


  • The U.S. Department of State offers a list of embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions and their visa application procedures.
  • Information about visa wait times is available here. Note that the visa wait time is an estimate and subject to change without notice.
  • Plan to schedule your visa application appointment at least one month in advance, and in many cases, applications must be scheduled many months in advance.
  • Some students may be subjected to a security check, which may delay visa issuance, sometimes considerably.


Preparing for Your Visit to the Consulate for F-1 or J-1 Visa



  • F-1 and J-1 applicants must also pay the SEVIS fee prior to their visa applications.
  • Once you pay the fee, print out the receipt to take to your visa interview.


Your F-1 or J-1 visa application must include:

  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by U.Va.
  • Forms DS-160 (You should complete this form electronically and printed.)  Review the U.S. Department of State’s Electronic Visa Application Forms Instructions Page.  Print and keep the DS-160 barcode page.
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your planned arrival in the U.S.
  • Any previous passports with U.S. visas or entry stamps
  • Passport style photograph attached to Form DS-160
  • Evidence of payment of the SEVIS fee
  • Evidence of payment of the visa application fee and any visa issuance fees
  • Evidence of financial capability
  • Evidence that you do not plan to immigrate to the U.S.
  • Note: Do not assume that this list is comprehensive. Some consulates may require additional documentation.

**If you are in the U.S., and will change your visa status to F-1 or J-1 without departing the country, please click the instructions here.