Applying for a Student (F-1 or J-1) Visa

Applying for a Student (F-1 or J-1) Visa

The Office of International Programs will issue the immigration form (I-20 or DS-2019) which will be needed before applying for your U.S. student visa.  Upon receiving these documents, you may start on the visa application at your nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Every U.S. Consulate/Embassy has different policies and procedures and timelines.  Be sure to contact the consulate in your area or visit their website to find out how to apply for a student visa. Be sure to apply as early as possible and do not purchase non-refundable airline tickets until you secure your visa.

Here are some helpful tips as you prepare for the visa appointment.

The Department of Homeland Security requires all new F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay the SEVIS Fee before they can be issued a visa. For more information on the fee, go to:
Please note: You must obtain a student visa (F-1 or J-1) in order to enroll at Ithaca College as an international student. DO NOT enter the U.S. on a tourist visa or through a visa waiver program.

Canadian citizens: You do not need a visa to enter the United States to study. You will need to present your I-20 or DS-2019 and financial documents at the U.S. border along with evidence of Canadian citizenship. Canadian landed immigrants, other than citizens of Commonwealth countries, must obtain a visa before entering the U.S. Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada if you have questions.

When traveling to the U.S., be sure to carry the immigration form you received from Ithaca College (I-20 or DS-2019), the financial certification documents you showed to the U.S. Consulate when you applied for your visa, and the letter of acceptance from Ithaca College. You may be asked to present these documents when you clear customs, upon entering the U.S. Remember to keep these documents and all other important documents in a safe place inside your carry-on luggage.  DO NOT place them in your checked luggage!