Visa Application

The I-20 for F-1 students and the DS-2019 for J-1 students serves as your "application" for a U.S. visa. Please take a few minutes to review your I-20 or DS-2019. Make sure all information printed about you and your program of study is true and accurate. If there is an error on the I-20 or DS-2019, please contact our office. If there are no errors, sign and date the I-20 or DS-2019 as required. Finally, note that you have been given a "reporting date." This is the date by which you should enter the U.S. If you will be arriving late, please contact our office for advice.

Non-immigrant visa applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation to the U.S. consulate abroad:

  • Valid passport.
  • Current passport-size photographs.
  • Valid SEVIS Form I-20 for F-1 visa applicants or valid SEVIS Form DS-2019 for J-1 visa applicants.
  • Proof of Payment of SEVIS fee - F-1 visa renewal applications do not require repayment of the SEVIS fee.  SEVIS fee payment is required if first time F-1 visa application, or F-1 visa application based on new Form I-20 following termination of visa and SEVIS record.
  • Proof of financial support.
  • Proof of admission to program of study.
  • Proof of non-immigrant intent (evidenced by strong ties to home country).

What to do

  • Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to apply for an F-1 or J-1non-immigrant visa. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at
  • After you receive an I-20 or DS-2019 form from East Carolina University, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate instructions to schedule an interview. It is important to apply for your visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 120 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
  • Complete the following form: DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form. Pay the visa application fee following instructions on the U.S. Embassy/Consulate web site. Pay the $200 SEVIS fee before applying for a visa. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee. In addition, if you are a male applicant you will also need to complete and submit the DS-157 form, available at the U.S. consulate or here.

    Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are required to pay the fee at least 3 days before going to a U.S. port of entry. The fee cannot be paid at the port of entry or at a U.S. embassy or consulate office.
  • Complete the Form I-901. Write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 or DS-2019. Find the form I-901 at Complete the form online and supply the necessary Visa, MasterCard or American Express information.

Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 or DS-2019. Print a copy of your online receipt. Make a copy of your receipt, and keep it with other important immigration documents. Take the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her database. Electronic payments must be submitted at least 3 business days before your visa interview. Mailed payments must be sent early so that the check or money order has time to reach the Department of Homeland Security at least 3 business days before the scheduled interview. 

Note: If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and had been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.

It is sometimes also advisable for continuing students to submit copies of transcripts or an advisor's letter stating that the student is making good progress toward the degree.

Please double check with the Consulate where you will be applying to verify the required application documents and procedures. You may find a list of all U.S. embassies and Consulates here:

If you are denied a student visa

You have probably not sufficiently proven to the consular officer that you are entitled to student status. In most cases, the denial will be based on failure to prove “permanent residence" or “compelling ties” to your home country. A visa denial is not permanent and may be reconsidered if you show further convincing evidence. We strongly suggest that you contact East Carolina University if you are denied a visa so that we can assist you in your second application to the U.S. Consulate.