Applying for a Nonimmigrant Student Visa

Steps to Obtain Your F-1 Student Visa

The following information is intended as a guide.  It is important that you check for updated information directly from the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply for your nonimmigrant visa, as requirements may vary based on country. You may find contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest you at the US Embassy website.  Before applying for your F-1 visa, you must be admitted to MSU Denver and you must have received your Form I-20.

Step 1:  Complete the online visa application

Complete the Form DS-160.  Be sure to print the completed application and bring it to your visa interview.  You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.  Please review the photo requirements prior to completing your application.

Step 2:  Schedule your visa interview appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate 

You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.  Visa interview appointments must be schedule online.  You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.

Step 3:  Pay the visa application fee

This fee must be paid prior to attending your visa interview.  The SEVIS I-901 application fee is payable online at

  • Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20.
  • Print a copy of the receipt. You may wish to make copies of this receipt, as it may be needed for future visa applications.
  • MSU Denver will not pay this fee for you; you must pay this fee.

Step 4:  Prepare documentation for your interview

You are required to prepare and provide the following doucmentation to the visa officer during your appointment:

  • All three pages of the Form I-20, provided by MSU Denver. The I-20 must be signed and dated by the applicant at item #11 on page one.
  • Nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160.
  • Passport valid for at least six months after your intended date of entry in the U.S.
  • A photo that meets the photo requirements, if the photo upload failed while completing the Form DS-160.
  • Receipt of payment of the visa application fee.
  • Receipt of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee.

Additional documentation that you should prepare includes:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended.
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution, such as TOEFL, IELTS, etc.
  • Financial evidence showing that you or your financial sponsors have sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses for one year. This financial documentation should match what was provided to MSU Denver. Documentation may include affidavits of support, bank statements, scholarship letters, or other documents showing liquid assets available for educational support.
  • Proof of your binding ties to a residence in your home country which you have no intention of abandoning.
  • For applicants with dependents: Proof of the student’s relationships to his/her spouse and/or children (i.e., marriage and birth certificates). It is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

If you are denied the F-1 visa, you may apply again. Should this happen, contact the International Admissions Counselor at MSU Denver for advice on how to prepare for a second interview.

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