Applying for a Visa

If you have received an I-20 from IUPUI, you should apply for an F-1 visa stamp. There are four steps in the process.

If you are a Canadian citizen with a valid passport, you do not need to apply for a visa stamp. However, you do need to pay the SEVIS fee before arriving at the port of entry.
  • Step One: Pay Your SEVIS Fee

    You will have to show your payment receipt for the SEVIS fee when you arrive for your visa interview, so pay the fee right away.
    (If you paid the fee in the past, you may not need to pay it again, but you should still bring your receipt.)

    Learn more about the SEVIS fee and how to pay it and obtain your payment receipt.

  • Step Two: Schedule a Visa Appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Your Home Country

    Contact the U.S. embassy/consulate nearest you as soon as possible to set up an appointment. This is important because the wait time for an appointment and for visa issuance varies. To see how long this process takes in your country, read the U.S. Department of State's visa wait time information.

    It’s best to apply in your home country. If you are not sure which embassy/consulate you should contact, see this list of U.S. embassies.

  • Step Three: Get Your Documentation Ready

    When you arrive for your visa appointment, you will be required to show a number of documents, including:

    • I-20
    • Valid passport
    • A SEVIS payment receipt printed from your online payment confirmation
    • Visa application forms
    • Current financial documentation that lists the sources and amounts of financial support you have secured for the current or upcoming academic year. It must match the information listed on your I-20

    Students renewing their visa should also bring:

    • A Letter of Good Standing, which may be requested through iStart
    • A copy of your unofficial transcript, printed out from One.iu.edu (search for "Unofficial Transcript")
    • A copy of the EAD card and proof of employment (Students on OPT only)
  • Step Four: Prepare for Your Interview

    Since you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you will need to prove to the consular officer that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. In other words, you need to show him or her that you have definite plans to return home after college.

    For more information and tips, please see NAFSA's Ten Points to Remember.

Applying for a Visa in a Third Country

Applying for visa in a country which is not your home country or the U.S., called a “third” country, can be more difficult than applying at home. You should have a valid reason for applying in the country where the consulate is located; you are likely to be denied if your only reason for applying in that country is to avoid your home country consulate. Examples of valid reasons could include to attend a conference, to visit family or friends, etc.

Additionally, you may need to prove that you have continuously maintained lawful non-immigrant status during your time in the U.S. or you may be sent to your home country to apply for the visa. Refusal in a third country is more likely than at home, so you should plan well in advance of your date of travel.

Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico

The U.S. Department of State provides specific guidance on applying for a visa in Canada or Mexico. If you intend to apply for a new U.S. visa in either country and are not a citizen or resident of either country, it is important for you to read the U.S. Department of State's guidance on Applying for Visas in Canada or Mexico. Contact an advisor at the Office of International Affairs if you have further questions.