University of Dallas International Week

Applying for F-1 Visa

When you are accepted to enroll in a University of Dallas program and you have demonstrated that you have sufficient funding for your studies, an I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status will be issued and sent to you.

The following instructions and suggestions for applying for the F-1 visa are of a general nature and apply to consular visa processing anywhere.

Timing - When Should I Apply for My Visa?
You are permitted to apply for the F-1 visa up to 4 months before the start date of your program. You should not delay applying for your visa. Depending on the time of year and your home country, sometimes it is difficult to get an interview appointment. In some cases the procedures require that you leave your passport and get it back with your visa by local postal service 2 - 3 weeks later. Sometimes you are asked to return to the visa office a second time to pick up your passport. In the case of some countries, there may be lengthy security clearances that delay your visa a month or more (see next section on security clearances).

Security Clearances
You may be subject to a Security Clearance depending on your Field of Study or Country of Citizenship.  If this is the case, typically you will be advised that your visa is delayed for "Administrative Processing."

Field of Study: If your area of study is on the U.S. federal government's "technology alert list," the U.S. consulate may be required to complete a security clearance prior to granting you the visa. This process can delay your visa application by anywhere from one to three months. Up to now no UD student has been subject to Security Clearance on the basis of Field of Study.

Country of Citizenship, Nationality or Birth: A security clearance may also be required by the U.S. consulate if a visa applicant is born in or is a citizen or a national of certain countries. The list of countries is not published, but seems to include the following:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the territories of Gaza and West Bank.

If you are advised that your visa is subject to Administrative Processing, it means that a Security Clearance must be received before they can actually issue your visa.  It does not mean that your visa will be denied.  On the contrary, most of the time, the visa is granted after a delay of 1 - 2 months.

If you have applied for a visa and you have been waiting for more than one month for the results of a security advisory opinion, please contact the International Office to inform us of the delay.

First Steps

  1. Upon receiving the I-20, read the detailed instructions in your packet about paying the SEVIS fee. Additional information is available on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website
  2. Pay this fee on-line at this web site or follow the instructions to pay your fee via Western Union.  The on-line payment option is not available to citizens of  Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria or to those who were born there but now have a different citizenship.  If you are unable to pay on-line, use the Western Union Quick Pay method.  Follow the instructions at precisely to have your payment posted immediately so as to print your SEVIS fee receipt without delay.
  3. When you have your SEVIS fee receipt, make an appointment to apply for your visa at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. A visa application form and detailed instructions will be available from the consular office or their web site.


Applying for the F-1 Visa at the Visa Office

  1. You must apply in person at the visa office and undergo an oral interview, usually no longer than one or two minutes.
  2. Apply for the correct visa. Do not plan to enter the United States on a B-2, Tourist visa or by way of the visa waiver program (WT). If you do, you will be misrepresenting your intentions in the U.S. and will jeopardize your opportunity to come here and stay here for the length of your studies.
  3. To obtain an F-1 visa, you MUST provide proof to the visa officer in two areas, described in the two bullets that follow. Both of these issues are important to the visa officer, but of primary importance is the second. You must convince the visa officer that it is your intention to return to your home country when your studies are finished.
    • You must provide proof in documents that you have sufficient funds to finance your educational program in the U.S. and that you have the means to transfer these funds. Unless employment is specifically authorized on your I-20, you are not permitted to work in the U.S. as a means of support.


Suggestions for The Visa Interview

    1. Make a good impression, dress nicely, be businesslike.
    2. Have all your documents in order and be ready to show them as they are requested. Do NOT just hand the officer a bunch of disorganized documents. Provide what is requested and ONLY what is requested.
    3. Be prepared to show that you are qualified for the program of study with diplomas/certificates/degrees etc. and test scores.
    4. Be prepared to answer questions about your choice of program and school.  You must have a definite academic or professional objective and your course of study must be relevant to your career goals. You should be able to relate your goals to a realistic future professional opportunity in your home country.  Be prepared to explain why it is better for you to study in the U.S. rather than in your home country.  Be prepared to explain why you have chosen the University of Dallas specifically, not just why you want to be in Texas or in Dallas.
    5. Answer all questions honestly in a frank and straightforward manner. Do not be evasive in any way.


Applying for F-2 Dependent Visas for Spouse and/or Children
If you have advised us that you are married and that your family (spouse and/or children under 21 years of age only) will come with you to live in the U.S., dependent I-20's have been provided for them with which they can apply for F-2, dependent visas. (Please note: Dependent I-20's must be signed by you, the F-1 student.  Dependents do not sign I-20's.) Take copies of your marriage certificate and/or the birth certificates of any children to the visa interview. You must also show proof of sufficient funds to support any dependents, at least $8000 per year for your wife and $3500 per year for each child. Dependents can travel with you or can travel to the U.S. at a later date with the F-2 visa and dependent I-20.

If you get married during your studies and wish to have your spouse come to the U.S. to live with you, contact the International Student Office for information about getting the dependent I-20 and F-2 visa procedures.

Travel to the United States
You must enter the U.S. no later than the program start date in Item 5 on the I-20. However, you are permitted to enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior that date.

Refer to the " Government Regulations and Documents" section of the arrival planning booklet for descriptions of the Immigration process at the US Port of Entry.

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