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Apply for a Student Visa


The information below may be used as a guide for the F-1 or J-1 international student visa application process.

Upon admission to UCM, F-1 students/visa applicants receive an I-20 document and J-1 students/visa applicants receive a DS-2019 document by mail.

Additional information for the F-1 visa applicants:

  • Visa appointments can be scheduled up to a year before the program start date listed on the I-20.
  • Students may enter the U.S. with a valid visa and I-20 up to 30 days before the program start date.

For additional information, and to apply for a visa, please see the U.S. Department of State website.

Step 1: Pay the SEVIS (I-901) fee

The I-901 fee amount for an F-1 visa is $350 USD and the I-901 fee amount 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


Step 2: Contact your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate

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

Step 3: Complete the required forms

NOTE: You will need to upload a recent photo when completing the DS-160 form. Click HERE for photo requirements.

Step 4: Schedule a visa interview

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. 

Visa appointments can be scheduled up to a year before the program start date listed on the I-20.

Step 5: Pay the visa application fee

 Pay the visa application fee by following the instructions on your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate's website.

Step 6: Before your visa appointment

 Gather the following documentation before your visa appointment:

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 (make sure you sign the form).
  • School admission letter.
  • DS-160 application form confirmation page.
  • The receipt for the visa application fee, if you are required to pay the fee before your interview.
  • The receipt for the SEVIS (I-901) fee. 
  • Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
  • Any information that proves that you will 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. 
  • Evidence of your academic preparation such as transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or test scores.

Step 7: Some tips for a successful interview

 Remain calm and answer all the Consular Officer's questions openly and honestly. 

  • Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English.
  • Interviews are generally very brief.
  • Keep answers to the officer's questions short and to the point.
  • Do not take family members or friends with you to the interview.
  • Maintain a positive attitude: be friendly, courteous and confident that you will receive the visa.
  • Be prepared to show strong ties to your home country.
  • Organize your supporting documentation so that it can be logically presented without hesitation or fumbling through a briefcase.
  • Be prepared to show evidence that sufficient financial resources (at least equal to the amount indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019) are readily available for your support.
  • If you are married, especially with children, and your family is remaining behind in your own country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. 
  • Be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstance, be employed in the U.S.. You must show sufficient financial resources to support dependents.
  • Share information about your academic achievements, thus far, in your own country.
  • Be prepared to discuss what you expect to get out of your education. 



International Student Services
University of Central Missouri
Ward Edwards 1800
Tel: (660) 543 - 4092


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