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Applying for a visa

It’s very important to enter the United States with the proper visa. You must apply for a visa in order to enter the United States with student status. 

How to apply for a student visa

It’s important to apply for your student visa as soon as possible. Processing times for visa issuance vary and may require additional time due to security checks.


  1. Your Form I-20 will be emailed to you. Pay the $350 SEVIS fee if this is your first time applying for an F-1 student visa (some students with a previous Form I-20 and F-1 visa will also have to pay this fee). Click here for instructions. Your SEVIS Identification number is listed on your Form I-20 and begins with the first number after the letter “N”. Be sure to print out a copy of your SEVIS fee receipt at the time of payment and staple it to the back of your OSU I-20. The printed confirmation will serve as proof of payment for the I-901 SEVIS fee.
  2. Make sure your passport is valid.
  3. Follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa.
  4. Complete the Form DS-160 Nonimmigrant visa application form.
  5. Pay the visa application fee.
  6. Read all information on the Form I-20 carefully and sign the first page of the Form I-20, and provide the information requested if under 18 years of age.
  7. Attend your scheduled visa interview.


What is the SEVIS Fee?

SEVIS is the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is an internet-based system that maintains data on foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stay in the United States. It is administered by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee that MUST be paid by all new students entering the country on an F-1 or J-1 visa. The revenue from the fee is used to support the SEVIS program.

You do not need to pay the $350 SEVIS fee if you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last 12 months. 

Documents needed for VISA interview

  1. Valid Passport.
  2. Form I-20.
  3. Evidence of admission at OSU (letter provided in the front of this package).
  4. Evidence of your financial ability to pay for your education (bank statement).
  5. SEVIS fee receipt.
  6. Any other documentation your embassy/consulate requires.

Canadian citizens can enter the United States without having an entry visa, but Canadian citizens must obtain a Form I-20 or DS-2019 and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the United States.

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