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.

Steps to Apply for a Visa

  1. Find out how to obtain an F-1 student visa by visiting the U.S. Department of State.
  2. Review the Form I-20 (this form is also known as “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (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.
  3. 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).
  4. Pay the SEVIS fee. Foreign citizens applying to become students must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of $350 and $185 visa fee for F-1 visa applicants.
  5. Complete the DS-160: Online Non-immigrant Visa Application.
  6. 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 common questions that a visa consular may ask during your student visa interview:

  • What school will you be attending?
  • What will you be studying there? 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?
  • How did they become US citizens and what are their occupations?
  • Does the rest of your family live in your home country?
  • What are your parents’ occupations?
  • How do you know your sponsors?
  • Will you be working for your sponsors at all?
  • Have you been to the USA before? For what purpose?
  • How long was your stay?
  • 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 in 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.