The following information is for those who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study. For information on bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to continue studies, renewing your visa, or for more details on how to apply for a student visa, refer to the U.S. Department of State website.
If you received a form I-20 from the University of Central Missouri, you will apply for an F-1 student visa. If you received a form DS-2019 from the University, you will apply for a J-1 exchange visitor visa. If you are confused about what type of document you have received, please look at the bottom left corner on the first page of the form.
The Consulate or Embassy will not issue an F-1 student visa more than 120 days before the start date on the I-20. You may be able to schedule an appointment before that 120-day period, but you will not be able to attend the visa interview until you are within 120 days of your start date on our campus. You also need to be aware that you may not enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start date on the I-20, so make your travel arrangements with that 30 day period in mind. For more information on applying for the visa and visa appointment wait times, please visit the U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs website.
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
For a downloadable version of the below information, click HERE.
Contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate to ask about obtaining an international student (F-1) or exchange visitor (J-1) visa.
A list of all U.S. Embassy's and Consulates can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
After you receive the form I-20 (for F-1) or DS-2019 (for J-1) from UCM, follow the U.S. Embassy or Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 or J-1 student visa. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many Embassies or Consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 120 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
The cost for an F-1 visa is $350 USD and the cost for a J-1 visa is $220 USD. Be sure to print a copy of the online receipt to show to the Consulate during your interview and to keep with you when you travel. To pay the SEVIS fee online, click HERE. More details about the fee, methods of paying the fee, processing times and other frequently asked questions can be found HERE.
NOTE: If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee. The fee is transferable to another I-20 or DS-2019 as long as it is still in your name. Find out more about transferring your SEVIS fee HERE.
NOTE: You will need to upload a recent photo when completing the DS-160 form. Click HERE for photo requirements.
Gather the following documentation before your visa appointment:
Remain calm and answer all the Consular Officer's questions openly and honestly.