• Obtain your Visa

    After being admitted to Hamline, the next step is to apply for your US visa. The following list outlines the steps you should follow to obtain your visa: 

    1. Check your immigration documents for accuracy  

    Be sure to check your I-20 or DS-2019 for accuracy once you receive it. If everything is accurate, sign your I-20/DS-2019. If you notice a problem, contact the GEC immediately so this can be resolved.


    2. Pay the SEVIS fee, if applicable

    You must pay the SEVIS fee at https://www.fmjfee.com after receiving your initial attendance I-20 or DS-2019, but prior to your visa appointment. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee, and may be paid online or by mail. The SEVIS fee is $350 for F-1 students or $220 for J-1 Exchange Visitors. Proof of payment is required when you appear for your visa interview and when you enter the United States, so save a copy of your SEVIS fee receipt.  

    Degree-seeking students in F-1 status who have transferred their SEVIS record from a previous institution and have already paid the SEVIS fee may not be required to pay again. However, if you attended a US institution but left the US for more than five months and now have a new SEVIS number, you must pay the SEVIS fee again. 

    To pay the SEVIS fee or for more information, please refer to the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement website. 


    3. Schedule your US visa interview 

    You may apply for a US visa only from outside the United States at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. Generally you may apply up to 120 days before the program start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019. Students who have been issued a form I-20 will apply for an F-1 visa; students or scholars who have been issued a form DS-2019 will apply for a J-1 visa.
    In some areas, COVID-19 has caused long delays in visa processing times. You are encouraged to apply for your visa as soon as possible.

    If you have previously been enrolled at a US institution but left the US for more than five months and now have a new SEVIS number, you must pay the SEVIS fee again and are advised to apply for a new visa even if you have an unexpired visa in your passport.

    Optional: Many countries have EducationUSA Advising Centers that offer assistance to international students including pre-departure orientation and workshops that provide guidance in the US visa application process. EducationUSA Advising Centers are administered and supported by the US Department of State. To find a center near you, visit the EducationUSA website


    4. Go to your visa interview 

    Information about the visa application process and what to bring with you is listed on the Exchange Student Department of State page for J-1 students, and the Student Visa Department of State page for F-1 students.  It is important to bring all required documents with you to your visa appointment, and to answer questions clearly and truthfully. Be prepared to explain your reasons for choosing to study in the United States. Remember that as a non-immigrant visa applicant, you must also demonstrate that you have a residence in a foreign country that you do not intend to abandon. For this reason it is important to bring documentary evidence that proves this to be true. 

    After your visa interview, if your visa has been approved please check the visa stamp for accuracy. If there are any errors these must be corrected at the US Embassy or Consulate prior to travel. 

    If your visa was not approved, please email gec@hamline.edu and your admissions representative to let us know whether you will schedule another visa appointment or defer attendance to a future semester. You may request that the Consulate or Embassy provide you with a written statement explaining the reason for denial.

     For additional tips visit the NAFSA Website: "10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa"


    Back to checklist