Services for International Students and Scholars

F-1 Visa Application Process

Beginning the Visa Application Process

Once you accept the offer of admission from Northeastern University, the Office of Global Services (OGS) will work with you to prepare Form I-20. The I-20 indicates that an international student has been accepted as a full-time, degree-seeking student with the required proficiency in the English language documented by TOEFL test scores, or their equivalent, or as a student enrolled in an English language program with sufficient financial support documented through an online form sent from your admissions to study at a U.S. academic institution.

Paying the SEVIS Fee

A SEVIS I-901 fee payment is required for F-1 students and the receipt must be included with all F-1 visa applications.
Students should also be prepared to present the SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt at the U.S. port of entry. Students
with a country of citizenship or country of birth of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia, must pay by money
order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. All other students also have the option to
make a credit card payment. To pay the SEVIS fee, please visit fmjfee.com.

Applying for a Visa

To provide time for visa processing, students are encouraged to apply for their visa as soon as they receive their I-20
issued by Northeastern University. U.S. Embassies or Consulates are able to issue F-1 entry visas up to 120 days before
the program start date listed on your I-20.

In most countries, student visa applicants must appear in person for the visa interview. However, each U.S. Embassy or
Consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures. Students should consult the specific embassy website or call
for application instructions; see usembassy.state.gov.

The following documents are typically required for the F-1 visa application:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) confirmation page
  • Visa application fee payment receipt (visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for specific instructions)
  • Form 1-20 issued by the Office of Global Services at Northeastern University
  • Valid passport (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Evidence of financial support (proof of sufficient funds for estimated cost of one academic year)
  • SEVIS I-90 fee payment receipt
  • A copy of your acceptance letter to Northeastern University
  • One photograph (see the U.S. Department of State website for photo requirements:
    travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html)

All applicants should be prepared to provide additional information, such as transcripts or diplomas from previously
attended institutions, or documents which demonstrate that the applicant intends to return home after their studies.
Dependents will receive their own I-20 with a SEVIS ID to apply for the F-2 visa. Dependents are not required to pay the
SEVIS fee.

Important: No assurances regarding the issuance of visas can be given in advance. Therefore, final travel plans or the
purchase of non-refundable tickets should not be made until a visa has been issued. After the visa has been issued,
please be sure the F-1 visa sticker in your passport is accurate and that your original I-20 has been returned to you as
you will need to have it in hand when entering the U.S.

Note: Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for an F-1 visa, but are required to have the I-20 and pay
the SEVIS I-901 fee before entering the U.S. to study.

Questions to expect during your F-1 visa interview or at the port of entry in the U.S.

During your F-1/J-1 visa interview or at the Customs Control at the port of entry you may be asked questions about your studies, your university choice, how you are planning to pay for your education, your post-graduation plans and others. Here are some of the common questions that you may expect.

  1. What’s your purpose to go to the U.S.?
  2. Why did you choose to study in the U.S.?
  3. Which University are you going to?
  4. What will be your degree and major?
  5. Did you go to a University at your home country?
  6. What is your occupation at the moment?
  7. Why don’t you continue your studies in your home country?
  8. How many universities did you apply to and in which countries?
  9. How many schools did you get admitted to?
  10. Have you ever been to the U.S. before?
  11. Why did you choose a university in Boston?
  12. Where will you be staying while in the U.S.?
  13. What do you know about U.S. educational system?
  14. What is your English test score?
  15. What is your GPA from your previous institution?
  16. How will you deal with the cultural differences?
  17. Who will support you financially while you are in the U.S.?
  18. What do your parents do for living?
  19. Have you received any scholarship for your education?
  20. How much is the cost of your education in the U.S.?
  21. What are your plans after you finish with your studies in the U.S.?
  22. Do you have relatives or friends in the U.S.?
  23. Do you have a career that you want to pursue after you finish with your studies?
  24. Tell me a little bit about your family. Do you have any siblings?

10 Points to remember When Applying for a Student Visa from NAFSA: https://www.nafsa.org/findresources/Default.aspx?id=8643

Entering the United States

When preparing for your arrival to the U.S., you should plan your travel according to the information provided by the
Office of New Student Orientation or your college. According to immigration regulations, F-1 student visa holders can
enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program report date on the I-20.

Students transferring to Northeastern University in F-1 status from another institution or changing their degree level at
Northeastern, may stay in the U.S. or travel between programs, and may enter the U.S. more than 30 days before the
new program start date.

When you travel, please have the following documents in your carry-on bag:

  • Valid passport with valid F-1 visa sticker
  • Your original I-20 issued by Northeastern University
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Financial documents
  • Admissions letter

At the U.S. port of entry, you will be required to present your passport and I-20 to the immigration officer who will
stamp your passport. In most cases, the officer notes “D/S” (Duration of Status) on your passport pages. This means
that you are allowed to stay in the U.S. for the length of time indicated on your I-20, provided that you maintain fulltime
enrollment and valid F-1 status. Ensure that your passport is properly stamped before exiting the inspection area.
Do not enter the U.S. in visitor status (B-1/B-2, WT, or WB). This status does not permit full-time study in the U.S.
After your arrival, print your Admission (I-94) number at cbp.gov/I94 and keep a copy of all travel documents (I-94
information, F-1 visa, and I-20) for your personal records. Ensure that your I-94 print out contains the correct
information, including F-1 visa status and “D/S”.

Dependents

The spouse and children under age 21 of an F-1 visa holder receive dependent I-20s to apply for their F-2 visas. The student requests family member I-20s at the same time as she/he requests her/his original Form I-20. Dependents may apply for the F-2 visa at the same time you apply for the F-1 visa or at a later date if you plan to travel separately. Dependents do not pay a SEVIS fee. F-2 visa holders may not work during their stay in the United States. Your F-2 spouse may study part time, and children with F-2 visas may attend elementary, middle, and high school while you study in the United States.

I'm from Canada or Bermuda - do I still need a visa to enter as an F-1 student?

If I already have a visa from another university or college in the United States - do I need to get a new one for Northeastern?

Is it possible for me to apply for a visa inside the United States?

Is it possible for me to apply for a visa in a country different from my home country?

Is there a limit to the number of dependents that I can bring to the United States?

Can I bring family members as dependents that are not spouses or children?

What is I-901 fee payment and how do I pay it?

A SEVIS I-901 fee payment is required for F-1 students and the receipt must be included with all F-1 visa applications. To pay the SEVIS fee, please visit fmjfee.com.

 

Where do I find the School Code which is needed for the online visa application?

The School Code should be stated on your I-20 under “School Information” section on your I-20.

 

Where do I find my SEVIS ID?

Your SEVIS ID is stated on top of your I-20 and starts with “N00”.

 

My DS-160 application requires for me to include the address where I will stay in the U.S. and a contact person but my address in the U.S. haven’t been finalized.

If your address in the U.S. is not available yet, you can use the Northeastern University address such as:

Office of Global Services
405 Ell Hall
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

ogs@northeastern.edu

For contact person you can put the name of the person who signed your I-20. You can find this information under “School Attestation” on your I-20.

 

I applied for my I-20 early and I already have received it. When is the earliest that I can apply for F-1 Visa?

You can apply for F-1 visa now but keep in mind that the U.S. embassy can only issue F-1 visas up to 120 days in advance of your I-20 start date.

What are the documents required for F-1 visa application?

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) confirmation page
  • Visa application fee payment receipt (visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for specific instructions)
  • Form I-20 issued by the Office of Global Services at Northeastern University
  • Valid passport (must be valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Evidence of financial support (proof of sufficient funds for estimated cost of one academic year)
  • SEVIS I-90 fee payment receipt
  • A copy of your acceptance letter to Northeastern University
  • One photograph (see the U.S. Department of State website for photo requirements)

I have two dependents. Do they need to pay a SEVIS fee?

Dependents do not pay a SEVIS fee.

Which nationalities are not required to apply for F-1 visas prior to arriving in the U.S.?

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not need to apply for an F-1 visa, but are required to have the I-20 and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before entering the U.S. to study.

I am a new initial F-1 student who will enter the U.S. for the first time. Do I need a travel signature and when is the earliest date I can arrive?

A travel signature is not needed when you enter the U.S. for your program of studies for the first time. You are required to enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to the start of your I-20 and no later than the start of your I-20.