Preparing For A Visa Interview

All potential students, with the exception of those from Canada, must have an F-1 visa to study in the United States. 

Once you receive your I-20 form, you should apply for your student visa by following the procedure described below:

1.  Make an appointment with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate (in the case of Taiwan, the American Institute in Taiwan

All international students must apply for a visa at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in their country of residence after receiving their I-20.  Study in the States offers a wonderful step by step guide to help students make their plans to study abroad.  

Students are encouraged to apply for their visa interview soon after they have received their I-20 form from CCS so that they have enough time for their visa to be processed.  Each embassy/consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures.  

Remember: June, July, and August are the busiest months in most counselor sections and interview appointments can be difficult to get during that period.

2.  Pay the I-901 Fee (i.e., the SEVIS fee)

The I-901 fee must be paid before the visa interview.  For I-901 instructions and acceptable payment methods, click here.  The best method of payment is via major credit card.  

To complete a new SEVIS Form I-901 and pay the I-901 fee:  
  • Click on the Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment button.
  • Read the directions and when ready select the I-20 bubble, and click "ok." 
  • Using your SEVIS ID Number (the number beginning with "N") fill in the Applicant Validation Information form and when complete, click "Enter."
3.  Necessary forms and documents for the interview

In preparation for your interview, you will need to take the following items with you when you go the US Embassy or Consulate
  •  A current, valid passport
  • The I-20 form issued to you by Community Colleges of Spokane (either Spokane Falls Community College or Spokane Community College).
  • Evidence of financial support for the period of time listed on the I-20.
  • Proof that you have a permanent residence outside of the US that you intend to return to when you have completed your program.
  • 2 passport photographs.
  • Proof of your payment of the I-901 fee
Make sure and keep all of these documents together in a folder.

If you are approved for a visa, the US Department of Homeland Security allows you to enter the US up to 30 days before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20.  Please carefully consider the date you wish to arrive in the U.S. when making travel plans.  Travel reservations can get very expensive if you make reservations just days ahead of your travel date.

If your F-1 visa application is denied, do not panic and do not argue with the officer.  For further information about visa denials, please visit our visa denial page for further information.