Visa Information

Students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States must obtain a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) to apply for an F-1 non-immigrant Student Visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate. FAU will only issue the Form I-20 to students who complete the I-20 application form and submit the required documentation at least 4 weeks before the start of the program.

Student Exchange Visitor Information System Fee (SEVIS)

The Student Exchange Visitor Information System Fee, or SEVIS, is NOT the same as the Visa application fee. The SEVIS is a separate fee that must be paid BEFORE an appointment is made with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. In most countries, the most convenient way to pay the SEVIS fee is by credit card at In order to pay the SEVIS fee, the following two numbers must be supplied:

SEVIS Identification Number: located beside SEVIS ID in the upper left corner
School Code: located on the right side in the second box of School Information

Consulate Interview

All international students must attend a consular interview to obtain an F-1 visa and should schedule an appointment for the interview after they have paid the SEVIS fee. Students must bring the following listed items to the interview:

  • I-20 (signed)
  • Letter of acceptance
  • Receipt for the I-901 form
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your expected stay in the US
  • Financial documents, such as bank letters, that prove the student has ample money to pay for tuition and living expenses during their stay in the U.S.
  • Any other documents that may assist in proving that the student intends to return to their home country after their stay in the U.S.

What to Expect During the Interview

During the interview, which typically only lasts a few minutes, prospective candidates for the F-1 Student Visa are asked questions pertaining to social, economic, and familial ties to their home country. The consulate official uses the results of the interview to determine whether the Visa applicant intends to return to their home country or plans to stay in the United States permanently. Visa applicants must answer these questions truthfully and completely, effectively communicating when and why they plan to return home after school. If the consular official suspects that the applicant does not plan to leave the U.S. after his/her studies are completed, the Visa will most likely be denied.

If the Visa is Denied

Applicants denied a visa should inquire to the consulate for information on why the decision occurred, and then contact our office for assistance and advice. Students should typically only consider reapplying if there is a significant situational change, or there is new information or information that needs to be re-presented.

Transfer Students

Students should enroll at the institution whose Form I-20 was used to obtain the F-1 Student Visa to enter the United States. Transfer students must notify the Foreign Student Advisor of the original institution of their intention to transfer. Florida Atlantic University will issue a new Form I-20 after verifying an individual's immigration status at the original institution.

Other Visas
Students holding other visas may be eligible for part-time studies. Additionally, FAU cannot assist you with a change of status application unless you are conditionally admitted to FAU.