Obtaining a Visa
You will need a visa to enter and study in the U.S. Valencia College issues the I-20 forms that are required to apply for the F-1 student visa. Once all of your admission documents have been submitted and reviewed, Valencia College will issue you an acceptance letter and I-20 form.
Students residing outside of the U.S. at the time of admission will be emailed instructions on how to have their admission packet mailed via priority shipping.
Steps to Apply for a Visa
- Find out how to obtain an F-1 student visa by visiting the U.S. Department of State.
- Review the Form I-20 (this form is also known as “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student”)
- Check your name, date of birth and all other personal information for accuracy. If there are any errors, let us know immediately.
- Sign and date the form.
- Make an appointment at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please note that they get extremely busy around the holidays. (Note: Citizens of Canada and Bermuda can enter the U.S. with an I-20 form and do not need to apply for an F-1 visa).
- Pay the SEVIS fee. Foreign citizens applying to become students must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of $350 and $160 visa fee for F-1 visa applicants.
- Complete the DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
- Attend your appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Make sure that you have the following items ready to take with you:
- I-20 signed and dated
- Valencia College acceptance letter
- A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your anticipated arrival date
- Financial Support such as bank and/or sponsor letter
- Any proof that you are planning to return to your country after you complete your studies
Here are some commons questions that a visa consular may ask during your student visa interview:
- Why do you want to study in the US?
- Why did you choose this particular college or this particular program?
- Is your program available in your home country? If so, why do you want to study in the U.S.?
- Can you get a job in this field in your home country when you return?
- Where is the school located? How did you learn about it? What is the address where you will be staying?
- To which other universities did you apply? Why are you choosing this one?
- How are you going to fund your studies?
- What is the occupation of your financial sponsor?
- What do you intend to do after completing your program? Plans post-graduation?
- Do you have any relatives in the US? Where are they living?
- Why should I grant you a visa?
During the interview
- Be confident and prepared.
- Have documents ready and be organized (acceptance letter, test results, I-20 form, passport, financial documents, dependent documents)
- Make eye contact.
- Dress appropriately.
- Provide specific, honest, and brief answers.
- Try to remain as calm and composed as possible.
- If you have dependents, be ready to articulate what your spouse or children will do in the US. If dependents will remain in the home country, how will they support themselves?
- Be prepared to explain why you will study at a community college. Understand 2+2 pathways to a university if you plan to transfer after an Associate of Arts program.
- Show strong ties to your home country and an intent to return after your studies.
Already Studying in the U.S.?
International students currently attending a U.S. school can have their I-20 records transferred to Valencia College and only need to apply for a new visa if traveling outside of the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa.