Visa Travel


Preparing for your Visa Interview

When you receive 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

To pay your SEVIS fee:

  1. Go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website
  2. Click on “Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment”
  3. Scroll to the bottom and chose “I-20” and “OK”
  4. 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…”
  5. Fill in your credit card information for the $200 fee
  6. Print out your receipt for your embassy appointment
  • Make an appointment with your local US embassy
  • Prepare yourself for your interview with the attached “Travel Visa Check List”- make sure to take the invitation letter that spells out the important components of the ESOL program

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)
  • 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)

Be prepared to answer questions about:

  • Your plans after your trip to Tompkins Cortland
  • Why you are coming to Tompkins Cortland
    • your major/profession at your home institution and Tompkins Cortland
    • why Tompkins Cortland is the school/program for you
    • what you hope to gain with your studies to improve your home country

When you arrive/return to Tompkins Cortland :

Check in with the Global office IMMEDIATELY to 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.


Contact us at for more information.