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F-1 Visa Application Process

Application Process for Students Applying From Overseas

Step 1: Apply to NOVA for an I-20

  • Send all forms and required documents to the Office of International Student Services by the application deadline.
  • We will contact you if your application is complete or if you still need to fill out some documentation.
  • If everything is in order, the College is authorized to issue you an I-20 document. This is an official document that confirms you are eligible to study at NOVA. Your I-20 will be issued within 10 working days.

Step 2: The Visa Interview

  • Pay the SEVIS fee (Student and Exchange Visitor Information Service). The fee is currently $200 USD. This may be paid online at the SEVIS Fee Payment information page.
  • Make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Many branches now use an online booking system.
  • At the interview, you will be asked to show your relevant papers (I-20, financial papers, passport). You will be asked about your educational plans, your financial support and your plans for returning to your home country. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website for more information about the visa interview.
  • If the consular officer determines that everything is in order, the officer is authorized to issue you an F-1 student visa.

Step 3: Travel to the U.S.

  • After you receive your F-1 visa you should make travel arrangements.
  • You may enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the reporting date listed under #5 on your I-20.

Step 4: Check in at NOVA

Upon arrival to the U.S.:

  • Submit your F1 documents (Visa, I-20, I-94, Travel History) using the check-in E-form which will be sent to the Office of International Students.
  • Attend F1 Orientation Lab: Registration link will be sent via email.
  • Register for classes.
  • Meet with your assigned advisor for academic and transfer planning.
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