Obtaining a Student Visa (F-1)

After you obtain the I-20 document from your school, follow the steps below:

  1. Pay the I-901 fee ($200); if possible do it online and print out the receipt
  2. Search online for the US embassy in your area (http://www.usembassy.gov)
  3. Go to the “Visa” menu and choose “Non-Immigrant Visas”; you need to apply for an F-1 visa
  4. Fill out DS-160 (https://ceac.state.gov)
  5. Apply for additional country-specific instructions (If anything, it will be listed on your country’s U.S. embassy website)
  6. Schedule an interview appointment
  7. Pay the visa application processing fee ($160) also known as an MRV fee

What to Bring to the Visa Interview

  • I-20 paper (sign your name at the bottom of the first page)
  • Receipt of I-901 fee payment
  • Form DS-160, electronic application for non-immigrant visa
  • An MRV fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee ($160)
  • Passport which is valid for at least six months.
  • A support letter from Moody’s International Student Office to U.S embassy
  • One photograph (two-inch square)
  • An acceptance letter from the Moody Admissions office
  • Proof of financial documents (bank statements, affidavit of support, etc.)
  • TOEFL score report, if any
  • Country-specific requirements, if any
  • Any documents that demonstrates your "non-immigrant intent" such as proof of ties/residence in a country outside the U.S., property ownership paperwork, a letter from your employer guaranteeing job when you return, oath of return, if any

Tips for a Successful Visa Interview

F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa. The visa officer may start the interviewing process with the assumption that you have an immigrant intent, so your job is to prove and explain that you do not plan to stay in the USA after your study, and that you plan to go home and work in your country.

Think ahead of time of how to answer the following questions:

  • What proves you are ready to study in English? (Show TOEFL score)
  • Why do you want to study in the USA? (your major)
  • Why at Moody versus another school?
  • How are you going to afford your education?
  • What do you plan to do after you get a degree at Moody?

Practice the answer to these questions in front of a mirror and with another person. Find out from the Internet what other additional documents/questions that the visa officer from your country likes to ask for the student visa interview.

Dress up for the interview. Try to remain calm and confident during the interview (too much nervousness may cause the visa officer to think that you are lying). Some visa officers will only give you a verbal interview and not review your document, so it is important for you to communicate well and concisely. It may only last five minutes.

In case that you do not get the visa the first time, contact the International Student Office, and we will help you prepare for the second interview. Some students (depending on the country) get a visa in their second or third attempt.

More Resources

International Student Office