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International Student and Scholar Services
University of Mississippi

Obtaining F-1 Visa Status

1. Check your information for the F-1 Visa

Verify that your name, date of birth, country of birth and citizenship as listed on your I-20 form match what is written in your passport. Contact International Student and Scholar Services if changes are needed on your I-20.

2. Pay your SEVIS Fee Requirement

To be eligible for an F-1 student visa, incoming students must pay a SEVIS fee. This US government required fee is for support of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a computerized system that maintains and manages data about foreign students during their stay in the United States.

The fee can be paid to the Department of Homeland Security by mail, online or through Western Union Quick Pay.

  • To pay Online:
      1. Complete the Form I-901 at USCIS I-901 Fee Website. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form and your date of birth in month/day/year format.
      2. Supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information. Debit cards with the visa or MasterCard logo are also accepted.
      3. Print a copy of the online receipt.
  • To pay the SEVIS fee by mail or using Western Union Quick Pay, see instructions at SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment by Western Union Quick Pay Instructions

3. Apply for the F-1 visa

      1. Follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for a student visa application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at Be sure that it is known that you are applying for a student visa as student visa applications are given priority for scheduling. The consulate can issue an F-1 visa up to one year before the start date on the I-20.
      2. Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application 
      3. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s site
      4. Prepare and bring to your visa interview :
        • Passport valid for at least six months into the future
        • Form I-20
        • Completed visa application
        • Receipts for payment of the SEVIS and Visa Application fees
        • Financial evidence to show there are sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
        • Be prepared to explain the program you will be a part of at The University of Mississippi, your reasons for wanting to participate and any information that helps to establish your nonimmigrant intent since the F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant status.
        • Any additional information listed on the consulate’s website

4. Receive F-1 Visa Stamp from U.S. Embassy/Consulate

  • Make plans to come no more than 30 days before the Program Start Date.
  • Bring all of the documents required for F-1 student immigration status at the U.S. port of entry
    • Don’t pack them in your checked luggage!
  • Note: Students from Canada and Bermuda are exempt from this requirement.

Additional Helpful Sites:

U.S. Department of State Study and Exchange

U.S. Department of State Student Visa

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Study in the States

Education USA