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Visa Requirements

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Students must first be approved for admission to McNeese State University and be issued the form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status before applying for the student visa at the American Consulate in the country of citizenship.

The information below is for people who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study. For information on bringing dependents to the U.S., returning to continue studies, or renewing your visa, or for more details on how to apply for a student visa, refer to the U.S. Department of State.

Steps To Preparing For Your F-1 Visa Interview

  1. Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1 international student visa. A list of Consulates Embassies can be found at
  2. After you receive an I-20 form from the school that you want to attend, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate’s instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa.
    • It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible.
    • Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
  3. Complete the following forms
    1. DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
    2. DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant
    3. If a male between the ages of 16 and 45, DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  4. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site.
  5. If your I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004, and is marked for “initial” attendance (see #3 on your I-20 form), you will also need to pay the SEVIS fee.
    • If you are transferring schools, extending your program, applying for an F-2 dependent visa, or have paid this fee and been denied a visa within the last twelve months, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee.
  6. Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:
    1. A passport valid for at least six months
    2. Form I-20 (sign the form underItem 11)
    3. School admission letter
    4. Completed visa applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
    5. Two 2″x 2″ photographs in the prescribed format (see the website)
    6. A receipt for the visa application fee
    7. A receipt for the SEVIS fee.
      • If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer.
      • If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.
    8. Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses.
    9. Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies.
      • This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
      • If you have a brother or sister that studied in the U.S. and then returned home to work,bring a copy of their diploma and a statement from their employer showing they’ve returned home.
  7. Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions to you openly and honestly.
    • Be prepared to explain the type of career your studies will prepare you for and how it will benefit you in your home country.
    • You may also be asked to explain why you need to go outside of your country to study and some facts about the school.
    • You need to make sure the consular officer knows that you intend to return to your country after completion of studies.
    • F-1 visas are only given to persons who intend to stay in the U.S. temporarily.

Good luck on your interview! We look forward to welcoming you as part of the McNeese family!