In order to enter the United States for study, you must obtain the F-1 student visa from a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. An F-1 student visa gives you permission to apply for admission to the United States and if approved, study in the United States 

Applying for an F-1 Student Visa

U.S. Consulates may issue an F-1 visa no more than 120 days in advance of the program start date listed on your I-20. An application for an F-1 visa, however, can be submitted more than 120 days in advance of the I-20 program start date to account for potential long processing and wait times. Note that the validity of your F-1 visa will never be before 120 days before the program start date. Check the U.S. Consulate website where you will apply for your F-1 visa for appointment wait times and detailed instructions. 

  1. Pay the SEVIS Fee (I-901 Fee) of $350 to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency at
  2. Sign your PCC Form I-20 in blue ink on page 1
  3. Carefully read the instructions on the I-20 on page 3
  4. Complete the online, Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) at Print the application and bring it to your visa interview
  5. Schedule your visa interview at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please remember to check with the U.S. Consulate on what additional documents you will need to bring or prepare for your interview Documents you may need to bring may include bank statements, letter of admission, etc.

    Disclaimer: Receiving a PCC I-20 does not guarantee that you will receive an F-1 visa from the consulate 
  6. Take your signed I-20 with you, along with any required documents stated by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, to your visa interview 
Important Information about when to enter the U.S.
After you receive your F-1 student visa, you will be allowed to enter the U.S. 30 days before the program start date listed in your Form I-20. The exact date when you can enter the U.S. is listed in your Form I-20, under the Earliest Admission Date.

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