Apply for an F-1 Visa

The F-1 visa is issued by U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad, and each Consulate/Embassy has differing requirements and procedures for the visa application. It is recommended that you apply for your visa in your country of citizenship or permanent residence. It is not possible to renew an F-1 visa while in the United States.

Visit your country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate website to learn where you will apply for your F-1 visa. Learn how to schedule an appointment, how many times you can apply for your visa, what specific documents are required, and what procedures must be followed.

Apply for your F-1 visa as soon as possible. Make sure that you allow adequate time for security checks.

DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, including for F-1 student study. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine your eligibility for the F-1  visa.

Below is important information that you will need when applying for an F-1 visa

  • UT Dallas’ school code: DAL214F00379000
  • How to pay the mandatory SEVIS I-901 Fee

Review the Frequently Asked Questions for instructions about completing the DS-160.

Documents for Your Visa Application Interview

  • All appropriate U.S. Department of State forms and documents as listed on the Embassy/Consulate Web site, including your non-refundable visa application fee and photographs.
  • Valid passport.
  • Information showing admission to a UT Dallas program.
  • Financial Support Evidence.
  • Receipt for payment of SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Documents proving intent to return to the home country after completion of F-1 status.
  • Form I-20 signed by your UT Dallas International Student Advisor.
  • For students renewing their visa after a stay in the United States:
    • Transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended,
    • Support documentation from your academic program,
    • UT Dallas enrollment verification letter from the Registrar’s Office,
    • All U.S. transcripts, and
    • All previously issued I-20s.

Security Clearances

Students can experience significant delays due to required security checks. Masters and PhD students in scientific and technical fields are advised to provide detailed information about their field of study when applying for visas.

Some helpful items to bring to your visa interview include:

  • a resume,
  • a list of publications including samples, and
  • a letter from the UT Dallas academic department specifying the area of research and possible applications.

Exceptions: Canadian Citizens

Canadian Citizens do not need F-1 visas to study in the U.S. When you enter the U.S. to study, you will need to provide the Officer at the port of entry:

  • Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport for example)
  • The original Form I-20 signed by your UT Dallas International Student Advisor.
  • Proof that you have paid your SEVIS I-901  fee
  • Information showing admission to a UT Dallas program.
  • Financial Support Evidence
  • Proof of your ties to Canada

Preparing for Your Visa Interview

Below is important information that you will need when applying for an F-1 visa.

  • UT Dallas’ school code: DAL214F00379000
  • How to pay the mandatory SEVIS I-901 Fee

SEVIS I-901 Fee

As a part of an F-1 or J-1 visa application, students are required to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. The I-901 fee is in addition to the consular visa fee and is non-refundable. Bring a copy of your payment receipt to your visa interview with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, as your visa application will be denied if the I-901 fee has not been paid.

Canadian students do not need F-1 visas in order to enter the U.S. to study, but they are still subject to the SEVIS I-901 fee. You must make the payment prior to arriving at the port of entry. Proof of payment will be required.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website includes information on I-901 payment options, refunds, payment status verification, requirements for the I-901 fee, and frequently asked questions.

You can pay the I-901 SEVIS fee through the following methods:

  • By mail: You can submit the I-901 form and a check or money order that has been drawn from a U.S. bank and is payable in U.S. dollars. Many foreign banks are able to issue checks drawn from a U.S. bank or foreign subsidiaries of a U.S. bank.) A receipt will be mailed to the address listed on the I-901.
  • Online: You can submit the I-901 form online and make the payment using a credit card. A receipt will also be mailed to the address listed on the I-901 form. If you decide to pay via Internet, we strongly suggest that you print a copy of the payment confirmation and keep it with your immigration documents.
  • In person through the Western Union Quick Pay service: It is imperative that you read the instructions for this payment option and bring a printed copy of the instructions and the sample of the completed Western Union form to the Western Union Agent in order to correctly process your payment.

A narrated video tutorial, available on Study in the States, walks students and exchange visitors through the steps of paying the I-901 SEVIS fee.

DHS Arrival Reporting Requirement

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires all F-1 students to maintain their F-1 record through a number of reporting procedures throughout the course of their F-1 status.  Reporting your arrival is a DHS requirement.
Newly admitted F-1 students must complete the arrival reporting requirement to activate their SEVIS record and notify DHS of their arrival.

To meet your arrival reporting requirement you must complete the following by the Census Day of your first semester at UT Dallas. The ISSO will facilitate reporting your arrival to DHS and activating your SEVIS record.

Not meeting your arrival reporting requirement by the Census Day can negatively impact your F-1 status.