Applying For A Visa

In order to gain entry into the United States in F or J status, you must have a valid visa in your passport. For general information on F and J visas, visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Please Note: Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa to enter the United States in F or J status. Canadian citizens must pay the SEVIS Fee and present their I-20 or DS-2019 at the U.S. port of entry.

In order to obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Obtain I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) from Binghamton University.
  2. Pay the SEVIS Fee ($200 for F-1 Visa, $180 for J-1Visa).  F-2 and J-2 dependents do not need to pay the SEVIS Fee. 
  3. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Make sure you print the application form confirmation page to bring to your visa interview. You will need to upload your photo while completing the Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Your photo must be in the format explained in the photograph requirements.
  4. Schedule your visa appointment. Appointment requests will be accepted up to 120 days before your program start date. Wait times for visa interviews will vary.  You can check the wait time of your local Embassy/Consulate here.  You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.      

Be sure to bring the following documentation with you to the visa appointment:

  • Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Two recent passport photos that meet the photograph requirements
  • Visa application forms and fees
  • SEVIS Fee payment receipt
  • Binghamton University admission letter
  • Binghamton University I-20 or DS-2019
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Proof of financial support
  • Evidence of ties to your home country 
  • Any other documents required by the embassy or consulate

Ties to Your Home Country
During your visa interview, you must
demonstrate to the consular official that you intend to return home after your studies in the United States. You can emphasize ties to your home country through: future employment opportunities, family obligations, bank accounts, family members at home, property or investments that you own or will inherit and clear explanations of how you plan to use your education to help your country or pursue a career when you return home.

Last Updated: 5/13/16