All Study in L.A. students must apply for the F-1 international student non-immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in your home country. If accepted to this program, you will be sent a letter of acceptance and the Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). The I-20 allows you to apply for an F-1 student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Granting of the visa is at the discretion of the U.S. Department of State. The F-1 student visa status carries many responsibilities and restrictions (full-time enrollment, employment restrictions, etc.) and participants are expected to abide by all federal regulations.
Do not plan on leaving your country of residence until you have been issued an F-1 visa. The I-20 will allow you to enter the United States no earlier than 30 days before the start date of the program indicated on the I-20 form. Please read the instructions very carefully on the “Welcome Letter” which will be mailed to you together with the I-20. It will contain details on applying for the F-1 visa as well as paying the SEVIS fee.
Step 1. Complete and mail the following:
- A completed Application form
- Copy of passport
- $150 USD application fee (non-refundable)
- $800 tuition deposit (non-refundable)
In order to secure a place in the program, applicants must submit payment of the tuition deposit. The tuition deposit and application fee must be paid before an I-20 can be issued. If the visa is denied, please contact our office as soon as possible.
- A personal bank statement or your sponsor’s bank statement showing minimum funds on hand of $11,775 USD per quarter. The statement must have been issued within 6 months of applying to our program and must be an original document. The funds must be in cash, certificates of deposit, or money market funds. No stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or retirement accounts. You may want the bank to certify two (2) original bank statements for you, as you will also need to bring one to your visa appointment at the Embassy.
- If the statement is in the name of your sponsor, the sponsor will need to sign under the “Certification of Financial Support” on the application.
Step 2. Our staff will prepare and mail your I-20 form
- We will contact you if there are any problems or missing information from your application. Make sure to include a reliable email address on the application. Email is the primary form of contact at Cal State L.A.
- The process often takes up to two (2) weeks from the time we have all the necessary documents. Once the I-20 has been issued we will send you a tracking number so that you can check the status of your package while it is in route.
Step 3. To obtain the (F-1) Student Visa
- Pay $200 SEVIS Fee online at: http://www.fmjfee.com. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires all F and J visitors to register themselves in the Student Exchange Visitor Information Service (SEVIS) database. Print your receipt to take with you to your Embassy appointment; it is required in order for you get a student visa.
- Make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy. You should bring the following documents to your appointment:
- The I-20 form from Cal State L.A.;
- An original bank statement or Certification of Financial Support with bank seal;
- Sponsorship form, if you will use a sponsor;
- If you have a sponsor, they also must sign the Certification of Financial Support;
- Your passport;
- SEVIS fee receipt, see above;
- Study in L.A. program information
Once your Visa has been issued, you can prepare to come to the United States for study in the quarter for which you have applied. Before coming to the U.S., you must do the following:
- Arrange for housing and transportation
- Go to see your personal doctor and have him or her complete the Medical form to assure that you have immunizations and TB testing up to date; bring the completed form with you to Registration Day.
- Materials needed at check-in at the International Office include:
- Your passport;
- Your original I-20 document;
- The I-94 card that you will get upon your arrival in the U.S.;
- Payment for the Study in L.A. quarterly tuition and fees