Student Visa Process

Any international student planning on studying in the U.S. must fulfil the requirements for a student visa. The guide below will direct you through the important steps of obtaining a student visa:

  1. Acceptance
    The very first step on your journey to studying at WIU is to get accepted. Please see the International Admissions site for more information.
  2. Form I-20
    In order to apply for a student visa at a U.S. embassy you need a form called I-20. The form I-20 is issued by WIU once you are accepted and submitted some important documentation. You need to submit the following documents before the Admissions Office can issue the Form I-20:

    • Certification of Financial Responsibility – read the instructions carefully and complete the form. The I-20 is issued based on the information on the form, so make sure it is completed correctly and in its entirety.
      2015-2016 Certification of Financial Responsibility
    • Bank Letter or Statement – you need to prove that you have sufficient financial funds to pay for your first year of studies at WIU. A table on the Certification of Financial Responsibility will tell you the amount you have to prove in the bank letter. If you receive any athletic or academic scholarship from WIU, you can subtract that scholarship from the amount of funds required.
    • Sponsor Statement of Support – if the account shown on the bank letter or statement is not in your name, we require the Sponsor Statement of Support to be completed by each personal sponsor.
      Sponsor Statement of Support
    • Passport – submit a copy of your passport
    • Deposit – there is a $1,000 deposit due before we will issue the I-20. The deposit is only refundable in case of visa denial.

    Upon receipt of the required documents, we will issue the I-20 and ship it to you via UPS. Make sure to sign the I-20 as soon as you receive it. The I-20 is a very important document. Do not lose it and carry it with you at all times during your travel to the US.

  3. Visa Interview
    In order to study in the U.S. international students are required to apply for a student visa at an U.S. embassy or consulate. Below is a basic overview of the steps you need to take to receive a student visa. Make sure to check the U.S. embassy/consulate website in the country where you live for details.

    • Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (Form DS-160) and upload an electronic photo.
      Nonimmigrant Visa Application
    • Schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. Be aware of lengthy waiting times.
    • Pay the non-refundable visa application fee.
    • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
    • Collect the necessary documents for the visa interview. Review the list of required documents. This is just a guideline. Please be sure to visit your U.S. embassy website for detailed information.
      Documents Required for Visa

    Hopefully your visa interview will be successful and you will receive your passport with the F-1 visa stamp in the mail within a few days. However, in some cases administrative processing can take up to several weeks. In case of visa denial, you can either try again or submit proof of the denial to WIU to receive the deposit refund. The visa does not guaranteed entrance into the U.S.

  4. Travel to the U.S.
    When you get ready to travel to the U.S. make sure you have the following documents in your possession and are prepared to present them to the immigration officers at the port of entry.

    • Passport & Visa
    • Signed I-20
    • SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Receipt
    • Contact Information for WIU
    • Acceptance Letter

    Your entry into the U.S. is dependent on the review of the documents by the immigration officers.


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