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Applying for Visa

Applying for an F-1 or J-1 Visa

Applicants for non-immigrant visas usually apply in person at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. Consular office, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.  If you cannot apply for your visa from your home country, please contact an International Student Adviser so that we can advise you further.

Each U.S. Embassy and Consulate has specific instructions for scheduling an appointment. Waiting times for an appointment can be lengthy, up to several weeks or longer, especially during the busy summer months, so please schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your visa documents.

Information about U.S. visa application procedures and requirements may be obtained through the U.S. State Department Visa Services website.

Required Documentation

  • Certificate of Eligibility
    • For the "F" applicant, a Form I-20 from Earlham
    • For the "J” applicant a Form DS-2019 from Earlham
  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160
  • A passport valid for at least six months after the Program Start Date on your I-20 or DS-2019
  • A digital photo that fulfills the digital photo requirements
  • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee (see below) and any other related visa application fee; these fees must be paid in advance of your visa appointment. Proof of payment may be a receipt that you may print immediately if you pay the fee online, or the printed receipt I-797 that will be sent to you through the mail.

Visa applicants should also be prepared to provide the following:
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previously attended institutions
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the institution (TOEFL, SAT)
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to meet educational expenses

Each Embassy or Consulate may have additional requirements as well. To learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review instructions specific to your Embassy, and much more by visiting the Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.

Please note: Your F-1 visa is permission to enter the U.S. If you have a multi-entry visa, you may depart and re-enter the U.S. until the expiration date on your visa. You may only renew the visa from outside the U.S. However, if you are in the U.S. and intend to remain in the U.S. it is not necessary for your visa to be valid. Your visa does not need to be valid in order to depart the U.S.

Before submitting an application for a U.S. visa, we encourage you to view the website “10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa."


I-94 - (Arrival and Departure Record)

To access your I-94, complete the following online form. The I-94 shows that you have been legally admitted to the U.S. and keeps track of your U.S. arrivals and departures. You must submit a copy of your I-94 to CGCE every time you re-enter the U.S. Submit a copy of your I-94 to CGCE now.

It is a good idea to keep all of your documentation together in a centralized and safe place. This location should be a place where you can access your documents at all times.