Before You Arrive

Applying for a student (F-1) visa

  1. Receive the I-20. Your SEVIS (Student/Exchange Visitor Information System) Form I-20 has either previously been sent to you or you should be receiving it soon. Please contact your admission counselor if you have questions regarding the arrival of your I-20.
  2. Complete the Form I-901 and pay the SEVIS fee:
  3. Apply for your Visa with the local U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. A personal interview with a consular official may or may not be required. In addition to your passport and I-20 you must show verification of financial support for at least the first year of studies and also a copy of your letter of admission from CLU. Please check at the embassy or con­sulate for fee information and any additional documents required for application for a student visa. Find the embassy or consulate nearest you.


    Please note that the student (F-1) visa is a non-immigrant visa. During your interview with the Embassy official you will be required to articulate why you want to study in the USA as opposed to your home country and that you intend to return to your home country at the end of your studies. As such you should be prepared to provide evidence that: 1) there is a permanent residence out­side the United States that you intend to return to when you graduate; and 2) that you are seeking admission to the States temporarily and solely for the purpose of pursuing a full-time course of study at the academic institution (CLU) that issued the Form I-20.

    If you no longer plan to attend CLU, you must notify the University and return the I-20.

Transferring your student visa & I-20 from another US institution

If you have attended another institution in the United States prior to your enrollment at CLU, you must have your I-20 transferred to CLU. Please speak with your admission counselor about this to learn more. If you plan to leave the US after leaving your current school, but before coming to CLU, you will be required to use your new CLU form I-20 to re-enter the U.S. Use the CLU form I-20 to apply for a new visa at the consulate or embassy in your home country prior to returning to the U.S.

If your F-1 student visa application is denied

Please contact the Office of Admission as soon as possible if you are denied a student visa. We recommend that you request a reason for the denial in writing. Though we cannot guarantee that a visa will be issued to all of our students, it may be possible for us to assist you with a second application or to provide further information that may assist with your visa application.

Immigration documents required to enter and remain in the United States

Passport - The passport shows the bearer’s nationality and is valid for entry into a foreign country and back into the home country. It must be kept valid at least one year from the date of your application for an F-1 visa.

Form I-20 - The Form I-20 that CLU has sent to you indicates to consular officials that you have been accepted for admission at, and are eligible to attend, CLU for the period of time required for your studies.

Visa - The visa is usually a stamped or affixed entry on a page of the passport. It allows a person to apply for entry at a foreign port of entry. There are various categories of visas, depending upon the purpose and length of the intended stay. Visas are agreements made with the foreign country on conditions of entry (such as maintaining full-time student status and leaving the U.S. after a specified period). Students must apply for an F-1 visa and enter the country in F-1 student status.

NOTE: Upon arrival in the United States (or on your flight to the U.S.), you will be given a Form I-94. It is a small card that is usually stapled into your passport. Your immigration status will be indicated on this card. If you came into the country with your Form I-20 and F-1 visa, “F-1, D/S” should be written on your I-94. If it is not, ask the immigration official about it. Any mistake that you or an immigration official makes can be costly to you because you will have to pay to have your status changed later.


  • Please keep your passport and Form I-20 in your carry-on bag; you will need them to pass through immigration when you arrive at the airport - prior to having access to your checked luggage.
  • During your stay in the U.S., keep all your documents in a safe place. It may be difficult or require a lengthy (and possibly costly) process to replace any of these documents.
  • You must notify the Office of International Student Services of any change in address (permanent overseas address or temporary address in the U.S.) within 10 days of the date the address change takes effect.
  • You must notify the Office of International Student Services PRIOR to traveling outside the U.S. so that your I-20 can be endorsed for travel.
  • Remember to be positive and flexible. This information does not cover all possible situations or questions and it may change. Attendance at international student seminar at the beginning of the semester will help you learn more about maintaining your F-1 VISA status.