Applying for a Visa Overseas
Before applying for a nonimmigrant visa, you should visit the website of the U.S. consulate where you will apply for the visa to learn about the specific visa application procedures, such as whether an interview is required, the application fee and how to pay it, and the estimated time frame for obtaining the visa. To find the nearest US consulate or embassy, go to http://www.usembassy.gov.
If the consulate does not have a website, you should be able to find a phone number contact by searching the country or consulate list at http://www.state.gov/m/a/gps/directory/. For more general information on student visa requirements, go to http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english.html under "Study & Exchange" visitor visas.
What Documentation Will I Need?
The following documentation is generally necessary for students or scholars who are applying for the first or subsequent visas:
Completed Visa Application. Most U.S. consulates and embassies are now requiring the online visa application DS-160. To determine if your local visa office will require this online form, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_4401.html. If you find that the DS-160 is required, you can link to the form from https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/. If your local U.S. embassy or consulate is not listed as requiring the DS-160, then you will need to complete some or all of the following forms:
- DS-156: Nonimmigrant Visa Application (all applicants)
- DS-157: Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Male applicants, ages 16-45 only)
- DS-158: Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants (F,M and J applicants only)
- Application Fee or Receipt of Fee Paid
- One or more passport-size photo (37 x 37mm) showing full face, against a light background (one is usually sufficient unless the consulate website indicates a need for more than one)
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended period of stay.
- Proof of ties to your home country: You may also be required to present documentation of your ties to your home country, such as family remaining in the home country, a job offer, property, or other evidence that you will return home upon completion of your studies, research, or employment in the U.S.
- Be prepared to discuss in detail your plans upon return to you home country and how your degree program fits into that plan.
- Proof of family relationship, such as marriage or birth certificates for spouse and child(ren) if dependents applying with you.
New International Students
- I-20 or DS-2019: If you are applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa for the first time, you will need to have been admitted to IUPUI and have an I-20 (for F-1s) or an DS-2019 (for J-1s).
- Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 Fee. This fee is payable at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/. You must print your receipt and submit it with your visa application. You can learn more about the fee here.
- Financial documentation: You should be prepared to submit and explain the documentation you provided to obtain the I-20 or DS-2019.
- IUPUI admission letter
- J-1: Letter of invitation from the sponsoring IUPUI department or school and documentation of financial support as indicated on the DS-2019.
- H-1B or O-1: I-797 approval notice and a copy of H-1B or O-1 I-129 petition to USCIS. Note: Providing evidence of ties to the home country are not necessary for these two statuses.
For Students/Scholars Renewing Their Visas
In general, an applicant for a renewal of a student or scholar visa will need the same documentation as was necessary for the first visa application.
- Signature by OIA advisor on back of I-20 or DS-2019.
- Letter of good standing from the Office of International Affairs and a grade report from OneStart.
Travel signatures and letters of good standing can be requested throught iStart.
- For J-1s, a signature by OIA advisor on back of DS-2019.
- H-1Bs or O-1s, a letter from the employing school/department verifying continuing employment, along with copies of recent pay vouchers. H-1Bs and O-1s may want to pursue the procedures for renewing H or O visas in the U.S. For more information, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/a_zindex/a_zindex_2911.html.
Notice to Persons from Certain Countries
In November 2001, a new U.S. Department of State rule required that male applicants for nonimmigrant visa between ages 16 and 45 from certain countries are now subject to a waiting period on all non-immigrant visa applications of up to 20 working days to allow the State Department to cross-check applicants' names with federal security agencies' databases. The Department of State has indicated that these security measures are temporary but has provided no information about how long they might remain in place.
The countries subject to these requirements include:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
Notice to Persons from Countries Designated as "State Sponsors of Terrorism:"
Federal regulations will require applicants for nonimmigrant visas from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria to pass special security clearances before being issued a visa. Applicants should expect additional delays of 1-2 months.
Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico
For more information, see How to Apply for Visa in Canada or Mexico.