Information on how to gain F-1 or J-1 status, after acceptance to Wheaton College

The Admissions Office will provide information with the admission letter and award letter (if applicable) to the Center for Global Education. The Center for Global Education will process I-20s and DS-2019s in April and May for the fall start date and will not process a request more than four months prior to the start date of an academic program. J-1 exchange students will request a Form DS-2019 when they apply as an exchange student to study for a semester or year at Wheaton College and will receive additional guidance.

Step 1: Gather the following documentation (in electronic format)
  • Passport identification (biographical page) and expiration page(s)
  • Evidence of funding

The Center for Global Education will accept the following documents:

  1. Bank statement/letter
    Must include date (issued within the past six months), name of the bank account holder. If the bank account holder is not the student, a sponsor statement from the bank account holder must be provided to verify that these funds are available for the student’s study in the U.S.
    View sample bank letter (pdf)
    View sample sponsorship letter (pdf)
  2. Scholarship/award letter from Wheaton College. This letter will be provided to the Center of Global Education from the Student Financial Services office at Wheaton College.
  3. Scholarship letter from your home country school or government
  4. Sponsorship/award letter from a company
  5. Approved loan documents
    If applicable:
    Current entry visa (if you are in the U.S.)
    Previously issued Form I-20(s) and/or Form DS-2019(s)
    Passport identification page(s) for any dependent family member(s)
Step 2: Obtain a form I-20/Form DS-2019

Once the Center for Global education has received all of your documents, your Form I-20/Form DS-2019 will be mailed to you.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee after receiving the I-20

Detailed instructions on paying the SEVIS fee

The SEVIS fee is used to process the I-20. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) charges a $350 SEVIS fee to new F-1 students and a $220 SEVIS fee to J-1 students.

Step 4: Schedule a visa interview and apply for your visa

Detailed instructions on applying for your visa

Visa interview can be scheduled no earlier than 120 days before the start date on your Form I-20/Form DS-2019.

Canadian citizens are not required to apply for an F-1/J-1 entry visa but must still pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and request entry to the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status.

Step 5: Bring all required documentation to your visa interview. Confirm with the consulate/embassy what documentation is required.

Below is a general check list:

    • Passport valid at least six months into the future
    • Original Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (with your signature on page 1) from Wheaton College
    • Proof of admission to Wheaton College (Admission letter)
    • Completed and signed visa application form(s) found here: DS-160: Online Non-immigrant Visa Application.
    • Photograph(s) in the prescribed format with photo requirements below 
    • Receipt of visa fee(s) payment
    • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 fee payment
    • Evidence of funding sufficient to cover your tuition and living expenses during the first year of your program (please confirm exactly what kind of documents are acceptable with the consulate/embassy)
    • 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 and country.
Step 6: Arrive at the U.S. border/Enter the U.S. in F-1/J-1 status

Enter no earlier than 30 days prior to the start date on your Form I-20/Form DS-2019.

Step 7: Attend the mandatory International Early Arrival Program. 

You will receive a link during the summer to sign up for the program.