Obtaining A U.S. Visa

Applying for a Student (F-1 or J-1) Visa

Before you apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa you must have the following items:

Immigration Form: Form I-20 for F-1 | Form DS-2019 for J-1

 The appropriate form will be mailed to you from Brown after you have been admitted. Your immigration form is required if you are applying for an F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and for entry into the U.S. The I-20/DS-2019 is issued from the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and has an identifying SEVIS number that starts with the letter "N" listed above the bar code on the form. This form is acknowledging your plans to study at a specific school in the U.S. - in this case Brown. 

If you have a spouse or unmarried minor (under age 21) children who will accompany you during your program at Brown University, you will receive additional Forms I-20 (F) or DS-2019 (J). Family members that are eligible and receive these dependent forms will have to apply for the appropriate F-2 visa or J-2 visa. 

SEVIS (I-901) Fee receipt

Once you receive the I-20/DS-2019 documents, you will be able to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This is a mandatory fee and you will need a copy of the payment receipt in order to apply for your visa. Dependents apply for F-2/J-2 visas are not subject to this fee requirement. For further information about the SEVIS fee payment click here.


Applying for a Student Visa

Once you have the required documents listed above, you will need to follow the below steps to obtain the visa:

  1. Check the website of your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to find specific application information and information regarding additional documentation required to support an F-1/J-1 student visa.
  2. Complete DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site.
  3. After the visa application is completed, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1/J-1 student visa. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
  4. Attend visa interview in person, if required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 


Prepare and Bring the Following to the Visa Interview:

  • A passport valid for at least six months
  • Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11) or DS-2019
  • School admission letter
  • Printout of completed visa application (DS-160)
  • Two 2”x 2” photographs in the prescribed format
  • Copy of receipt for the visa application fee
  • Copy of receipt for the SEVIS fee
  • Financial evidence - Show documentation that you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
  • Any additional documentation as listed on the consulate's website.
  • Any information that proves that your intent to return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
  • Patience - Remain calm and answer all the consular officer’s questions to you openly and honestly.

If you have any questions about the visa application process or if your visa is delayed or denied, contact OISSS as soon as possible.