Your Form I-20
Your Form I-20 is mailed to you by the Office of Admissions when you are admitted to the University. You will need this document throughout the immigration process, including when you enter the United States.
When you receive your I-20, sign your name and provide other required information at the bottom of page 1. Please note: you cannot arrive in the U.S. on your F-1 visa more than 30 days before the program start date listed on your I-20.
SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee
Submit your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee and file your I-901 Fee Remittance form. Be sure to print and retain the receipt for payment of the SEVIS fee.
Choose one of the following options to make your SEVIS payment:
- Online (recommended): Visit www.fmjfee.com to complete the form and pay with a credit card.
- Western Union: If there is a Western Union location in your country, you may pay the fee in your local currency and file your I-901 form there. You must take your fee payment, completed I-901 form, and other immigration documents to the Western Union location. Learn more.
- By mail: Complete the form enclosed with your I-20 and follow the instructions for mailing your payment. Please pay attention to the “Payment by mail” guidelines in the enclosed instructions.
Applying for an F-1 Visa
Next, you must apply for your F-1 student visa through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please visit www.travel.state.gov to learn about the visa application process. Consult the website of the embassy/consulate where you plan to go for your visa interview for information about scheduling an appointment and for a complete listing of the documents you should bring. At minimum, you will be asked to show:
- Your passport,
- Original I-20,
- Receipt for payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee, and
- Proof of financial support.
These documents will also be needed when you travel to the U.S. Please keep them accessible in your carry-on luggage along with documents such as this one that you have received from the Illinois State University Office of Admissions or Office of International Studies and Programs.
If your application is approved, your visa will be printed in your passport. Typically, the embassy/consulate will mail your passport back to you, but some may require you to come in person to pick up your passport. If you are subject to a security background check, there may be a three to six week delay before your visa can be issued.
Please contact the Office of International Studies and Programs if you have questions about immigration.