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F-1 Visa Application


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After OIA sends you your SEVIS I-20 from Pratt, you are ready to start your F-1 student visa application. U.S. entry visas are issued by U.S. consulates worldwide. You are recommended to apply at the location closest to you. 

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements, but need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. 


All new I-20s require payment of a SEVIS I-901 fee to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for maintenance of your SEVIS record. You need to pay the fee with a debit/or credit card and print a copy of the I-901 fee payment receipt.


After you complete the DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, save and print the DS-160 barcode page. You will also need to pay the visa application processing fee which is different from the SEVIS I-901 fee.


Find the instructions of your local U.S. consulate or embassy about student visa applications. The procedure and wait time vary by location. Some locations require two appointments. In general, an in-person interview is required and biometrics are collected.

Schedule the earliest possible F-1 student visa appointment. If the available appointment is after your I-20 program start date (page 1), you should email or phone the local consulate contact information and request an Emergency or Expedited appointment based on your I-20 start date.

Documents you may be asked for include:

  • your passport
  • Pratt I-20
  • financial statement(s) (and affidavit of support, if applicable)
  • Pratt admission letter
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • DS-160 barcode page
  • any evidence of temporary intent in the U.S. or ties to your home country, such as family responsibilities, property or permanent job offer in home country, if applicable

Arrive on-time.The interview is with a U.S. government official called a Consular Officer. It will be in English and be very short. It’s important to able to anser honestly and clearly about your temporary intentions for studying in your academic program, in the U.S., at Pratt Institute. Review these visa interview tips.

F-1 student is a non-immigrant status and therefore you are required to demonstrate non-immigrant, temporary intent, and show ties to your home country. The most common reason for denial is failure to prove to the Consular Officer that you fulfilled the requirement, which is called 214(b). If your visa is denied, you should request the denial reason in writing from the consulate and consult Please be aware that OIA cannot intervene on visa denials but we can provide you advice for a reapplication.


Once you have obtained your F-1 entry visa, you can make plans to enter the U.S. Make sure you find appropriate housing in NYC before you arrive, as OIA is unable to assist with individual housing issues.

The earliest you can enter the U.S. is based on the program start date of your I-20 (page 1). You can arrive up to 30 days before the I-20 start date. You should arrive no later than the program start date.  

If you feel you cannot arrive at Pratt by your I-20 start date, please notify and explain your situation.

When you arrive in the U.S., you will go through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) entry processes. A CBP officer will ask your intentions in the U.S. 

You should show CBP your I-20 and your F-1 entry visa in your passport. We also recommend that you carry with you:

  • admission letter
  • printed class schedule
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • address where you are staying

Welcome to the U.S.!


Once you enter the U.S., you should make sure your I-94 record reflects “F-1 D/S.” If it does not, please contact for assistance. 

Complete OIA Arrival Check-in before the semester begins.

Make sure you have attended OIA’s F-1 Immigration Information Session, where we offer an interactive look at the key things you need to know during your studies. 

Review the Maintaining F-1 Status requirements.

Let know if you have any questions, now or in the future. OIA looks forward to assisting you throughout your academic journey.