This is important information for students who plan to enter the U.S. for the first time to study in F-1 or J-1 immigration status.

Guidelines to apply for an F-1 student/J-1 exchange visitor visa

  1. Obtain your Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Wheaton
  1. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at least three business days before your visa interview; print a For more information and to pay online, visit
  1. Schedule a visa interview at your local U.S. consulate/embassy. Specific instructions and requirements can be found here: Student Visa.
    • Apply for your visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates/embassies won’t schedule appointment more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements. As a reminder you will need your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to schedule an appointment.
  1. Bring all required documentation to your visa interview. Confirm with the consulate/embassy what documentation is 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 Nonimmigrant Visa Application
    • Photograph(s) in the prescribed format See Photo Requirements
    • 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 S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community and country.

Note: An entry visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission from the U.S. immigration officer to enter the U.S.; it does not automatically guarantee entry into the U.S.