Getting Your Visa
Checking your I-20
- Check your date of birth, name, and other personal information for accuracy
- Sign at the bottom where it says your name and date
- Make a copy of this for your records to leave at home with a family member along with a copy of your passport
Paying your SEVIS fee
- Go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website
- Click on “Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment”
- Scroll to the bottom and chose “I-20” and “OK”
- Fill in this form as it appears on your I-20- your N Number is in the upper right corner of your I-20 “N000…”
- Fill in your credit card information for the $200 fee
- Print out your receipt for your embassy appointment
- Make an appointment with your local U.S. Consulate Office.
- Prepare yourself for your interview with the information below.
Preparing for your Interview
Make sure in English, you speak through the following questions before your interview:
- Your plans after graduation from Tompkins Cortland
- Why you are coming to Tompkins Cortland
- your major/focus in high school or your home institution and what you will be taking at Tompkins Cortland
- why Tompkins Cortland is the school for you
- what you hope to gain with your studies to improve your home country
- If you are intending on taking advantage of OPT (optional practical training- for returning graduates only), DO NOT highlight this desire- they will then believe you are trying to come to the US for the work opportunity, not the education, which is not the purpose of the F-1 visa status.
What to take with you to the consulate
- Passport (make sure this is valid- not expired, and will cover you for six months AFTER your I-20 completion of study date) .
- Photograph (just like your first embassy visit- you will need to take a new photo for your travel visa stamp/sticker) .
- Form I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation statement Form I-20 (ALL copies).
- Letter of Acceptance, Invitation or Welcome depending on if you are coming as a student, faculty or visitor.
- Financial documentation that you can pay for the courses, housing and travel for the study abroad experience.
- Proof that you intend to return to your home country (bank statements showing money that you have invested, property that you have, job opportunities, family ties, etc).
- May also be wise to carry a copy of your birth certificate- this depends on your country of residence- some countries are much more strict when it comes to proving who you are
- If you are RENEWING your travel visa: Copy of your current unofficial transcript- showing that you did what you were supposed to do on your last I-20, and then it will also show your enrolled courses for the new I-20).
When you arrive at or return to Tompkins Cortland
- Check in with the Global office IMMEDIATELY- and arrive to campus by orientation (two days before the start of classes).
- Make sure the global office has copies of your most recently stamped I-20, passport visa stamp/sticker, and then both sides of your I-94 entry record.
- If you have a degree program change or address change- make sure to report this within 10 days to the global office.
- If you are taking less than a full-time course load complete paperwork with the global office BEFORE you start classes If you are taking online courses as your full-time course load, make sure you are enrolled in a MINIMUM of 9 credits of in-class work to remain compliant.
- If you are intending on working ON CAMPUS during your time here, check in with the global office BEFORE you begin work to ensure proper processing for your Social Security card – your employer can contact the global office for details and the check list.