Obtain Your Initial I-20
Before an Undergraduate or Graduate I-20 can be issued, the student must submit an Application for Admission to the Office of Admissions, be granted admission by the Office of Admissions, produce the required financial documentation, and pay the admission deposit.
After a student has been admitted and paid the admissions deposit, the Office of Admissions will have a DSO initiate an I-20 request. Once the Office of Admissions has initiated the I-20 request, the student will receive an email requesting their personal information, a copy of their passport, confirm biographical information, and financial documents.
I-20s for newly admitted Webber students will be mailed out by the Office of Admissions via UPS. Please contact the Office of Admissions to inquire about receiving your initial I-20.
Office of Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Document Requirements
Students must show they have liquid funds which will support them for at least the first academic year. Bank accounts not in the students’ name must be accompanied by a sponsor letter. Students who submit their sponsor’s financial documents without a sponsor letter will have the I-20 request denied and the I-20 process will be delayed.
You should contact the Office of Admissions directly to inquire about what materials have been received and what materials are missing to complete your file. The required documents are shown below:
- Financial documents must be less than 6 months old at the time the I-20 is issued. Statements and Letters issued more than 6 months from the date of issuance will be denied.
- Written in English, or accompanied by official notarized translation.
- Required elements of bank letters or bank statements (shown on chart below).
- Type of acceptable bank accounts: All funds must be liquid (shown on chart below).
- Sponsor Letter: when funds from someone other than the individual are included.
- When submitting multiple accounts a cover letter should be included. An example of the cover letter can be obtained from the Office of Admissions.
SEVIS and the SEVIS Fee
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a federal U.S. government database that maintains and manages data about international students and exchange visitors during their stay in the U.S. SEVIS is the system in which Webber International University issues the I-20 immigration document and updates and makes changes to international student information.
For more information about SEVIS, please see the U.S. Immigrant and Customs Enforcement website.
What is the SEVIS I-901 fee?
From the time that it was created, the maintenance of SEVIS was required to be financed by a fee paid by all international visitors to the U.S. Therefore, all international students must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before applying for a visa or entering the U.S. if no U.S. visa is required. For information on the fee and updated amounts, please see ICE’s website.
When must the fee be paid?
If an F-1 visa is required: The fee must be paid and processed at least three business days before going to the consulate to get a visa.
If a visa is NOT required because the individual is a national of Canada or Bermuda: The fee must be paid before entering the U.S.
How is the fee paid?
For information on how to pay the fee, please see ICE’s website.
I am currently in the U.S. Am I required to pay the fee?
If you maintain your F status and stay within the U.S., you are not required to pay the fee. F visa holders would be required to pay the SEVIS fee in the following situations:
- After leaving the U.S. for more than 5 months (F-1).
- If applying for reinstatement after being out-of-status for more than 5 months (F-1).
- If entering the U.S. with a new I-20 (with a new SEVIS number) because of a break in status.
What if I change to F-1 status in the U.S.?
You must pay the fee before submitting the I-539 application. You should include the receipt with the change of status application.
What advice can be offered for those who must pay the SEVIS fee?
- The Webber International University campus school code is MIA214F00236000 : you will need this number to pay the fee.
- Pay the fee on-line if possible, and print out the receipt. You will be required to present this receipt at your visa appointment in order to receive your visa.
- Take a paper receipt of the fee to the consulate and port-of-entry.
- Pay the fee as soon as possible.
SEVIS Help Desk
If you have a problem paying the SEVIS fee, you are able to e-mail the Student and Exchange Vistor Program to resolve the issue at fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov.
DO NOT apply for an F-1 visa if you are subject to the SEVIS fee and you have not paid the fee.
Apply for Visa
The U.S. State Department’s website has detailed information explaining the requirements for applying for an F-1 visa. You are eligible to apply for a visa up to 120 days before the Program Start Date listed on your I-20. Please note, wait times for visa appointments differ, so please plan accordingly based on the embassy or consulate where you will apply. You can find average visa wait times at the State Department’s website.
Note: You should not make your appointment with the U.S. embassy or consulate until after you have received your I-20 from Webber International University.
Preparing for Your Appointment
You will be required to complete the following steps before your visa appointment:
- Pay the I-901 “SEVIS Fee.” The easiest way to do this is through www.fmjfee.com, but you can do so by mail as well. To pay the I-901 fee, you will need your SEVIS Identification number (N000_ _ _ _ _ _ _) found at the top, right corner of your I-20. Make sure to bring your payment receipt to your visa application appointment.
- Complete the online Visa application (DS-160).
- Pay the Visa Application Processing Fee. Students from certain countries will also have to pay a Visa Reciprocity Fee.
During Your Appointment
You will be required to bring the following items to the Embassy or Consulate for your appointment:
- I-20 from Webber International University
- Passport (valid at least 6 months beyond your Program Start Date)
- I-901 Fee payment receipt
- Visa Application Fee
- DS-160 confirmation receipt
- Admission letter from Webber International University
- Verification of financial resources (this should be the same documentation that you sent to Webber International University)
- Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS score, for example)
During the appointment, you should be prepared to discuss your purpose of being in the U.S. Simply handing a Consular Officer your documents will not suffice; you should be able to explain your goals and objectives of your time in the U.S.
After Your Appointment
Once your visa is issued, check to make sure that all of the information is correct. If the spelling of your name, your date of birth, or country of citizenship differs from your passport, you could experience delays entering the United States. Contact the embassy or consulate if you
notice any errors on your visa.
Students may use the U.S. Department of State website to check their U.S. visa application status using an ‘Immigrant Visa Case Number.’
Administrative processing may be required of an applicant for a variety of reasons: a “hit” during a name check; being a national of certain countries; studying/researching a field on the Technology Alert List (TAL); or based on the “intuition” of the interviewing consular.
Webber International University and the Office of Admissions are not able to assist with any process expeditions. Administrative processing can take anywhere from 2 weeks to several months.
Name check: every applicant for a visa must undergo a name check through the Consolidated Consular Database (CCD). If the applicant’s name matches a name in the database noted as a “problem,” administrative processing may be required.
Nationality: being a national of particular countries may also require administrative processing. National may mean the applicant has dual citizenship, was once a citizen of certain countries, or was born in one of those countries. The only way to avoid this is if proof of renunciation of a particular citizenship is in writing.
Technology Alert List (TAL): many of the fields of study listed on the TAL are broadly stated, which results in a number of administrative processing cases. Detailed and concise explanations of the specific research that the applicant will engage in may decrease the need for administrative processing, if the research is clearly not of strategic importance.
Institution: consular officers are asked to use their own impressions to request administrative processing if they are at all unsure of whether it is necessary or not.
Travel to the U.S.
You may not enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the program start date on the I-20 form. You should make your travel arrangements with this date in mind.
Canadian citizens do not need a visa, but simply present the I-20, SEVIS fee receipt, financial documentation, and proof of admission to Webber to the immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry. A passport may be required depending on your method of travel. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State’s travel pages.
Your I-20 does not require a travel signature for your initial entry into the U.S. However, you need a travel signature for subsequent trips. A DSO cannot sign your document for travel and reentry to the U.S. until you have registered full-time for your first semester. Do not plan to travel outside the U.S. after your first entry unless you will be able to register first and obtain a travel signature.
SEVIS Transfer Students
If you are changing schools within the U.S. and transferring your SEVIS record to Webber, there are visa and travel policies unique to your situation.
- You can travel with your current F-1 visa and Webber I-20, even if the visa has your previous school’s name on it, as long as the visa is not expired and you are not outside the U.S. more than five months between academic programs.
- It is recommended that transfer students wait to receive a Webber “transfer complete” I-20 before traveling outside the U.S. as the “transfer complete” I-20 is issued with a travel signature from a DSO.
Late Arrival for New Students
A DSO, nor any other school official, cannot give students “permission” to arrive late or write a letter (or update the SEVIS record) indicating a later program start date or late arrival date. Although the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspector at the US airport might permit you to enter if you arrive a week past your Program Start Date, we strongly recommend that you do everything to arrive on time. If your visa is not approved on time or you will arrive to Webber after the Program Start Date, you must defer your admission to a future semester.
If you think you will be arriving late, on or after the first day of classes, please know this may jeopardize your F-1 status. Please contact International Student Services (ISS@webber.edu) for guidance.
Students who arrive late are required to maintain full-time enrollment throughout the semester. Please note, no reduced course loads will be approved for students who are not able to enroll in the right classes or for academic difficulties. New students should be prepared to attend classes while settling in since they missed the required orientation for students.
Immigration Documentation Verification
All new students are required to submit immigration documentation in order to verify that the student is eligible to start their academic program at Webber. You must show passport within 15 days of arrival to the U.S. to a DSO for verification.
U.S. Contact Information
The U.S. Government requires by law all internationals on F-1 visas to keep the following contact information on file with the government and report changes within 10 days.
Update your local address, phone number, and alternate email address by contacting a DSO through the Webber International Student Services email address (ISS@webber.edu).
If you live in one of the residence halls, please confirm your room assignment with a DSO via email. You must do this for any room changes that you make, even if you remain in the same residence hall.
U.S. Phone Number
If you have a U.S. phone number, please provide your number to a DSO. If you do not have a U.S. phone number, you must provide your foreign phone number.
International Student Meeting and Orientation
All international students are required to attend the international student meeting at the beginning of each semester. This meeting is to help you navigate visa and immigration issues and help you maintain good F-1 visa status. The international student meeting dates and times will be emailed to the student email address issued by Webber.
The Office of Student Life’s orientation schedule for the whole student body is separate from the international student meeting. You must attend the orientation and the international student meeting. The Office of Student Life will provide you with advice on housing, transportation to campus, campus life, student activities, and campus resources. Plan to attend both!
Registration and Tuition, Fees, & Other Charges
Students are hereby officially notified that the registration and enrollment process is not complete until all tuition, fees and other charges are paid in full. Failure to pay could result in a loss of registration and jeopardize your F-1 visa status for failure to enroll.
Tuition and fees are payable in full to the Business Office before the start of each semester. Payments will only be accepted in US dollars. Payments of tuition and fees may be made by cash, wires, money order, or credit card including Master Card, Visa, American Express and Discover.
Wire instructions can be obtained from the Business Office (email@example.com). The wire confirmation is required to be presented for proof of funds in order for the student to be cleared and the registration and enrollment process to be completed.
Payment plans are NOT available to international students. All tuition and fees are payable prior to the beginning of each semester.
If a student is travelling to the United States and will arrive outside of our business operating hours, they MUST get clearance PRIOR to arrival in order to be permitted to move into the dormitory. No dormitory keys will be issued to any student who has not paid in full. Alternate arrangements will need to be sorted out by the student until their account is paid in full.
As an F-1 visa student, you are required to attend your classes and make good progress towards your academic program of study.
The I-20 is your “initial entry” document; this means that you can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the start date printed on the I-20. You must arrive to school on or before the program start date. The program start date will change from semester to semester. You may not arrive to campus at your leisure. Make your travel plans accordingly.