Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Applying for a F-1 Visa

ready for the f-1 Visa?

Use the I-20 issued to you to start the F-1 visa application process!

Six Reminders for Applying for an F-1 Visa

International students are required to have an F-1 Student Visa to study in the U.S. You will need to schedule an appointment to apply for this visa and complete a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country. Before arriving for your appointment, it is important to prepare the following:

Students who are accepted into the International Student Program at San José City College (SJCC) will receive an admissions packet which contains an admissions letter, I-20 Certificate of Eligibility and other important admissions documents. Carefully read the instructions included with the I-20 before visiting the US Embassy or Consulate for your F-1 student visa interview. Keep this document in a safe place because you will need the original signed form to complete your visa application and travel to the U.S.

Your passport must not expire within six months of your expected entry date into the US. If it will expire sooner than six months, you should renew your passport prior to pursuing your visa application.

At least three business days before you schedule your visa interview, you will need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. You can pay the SEVIS I-901 fee by going to the SEVIS I-901 fee website. Please print the receipt to keep for your records. This fee is required in addition to the visa application fee. You will need your SEVIS ID number when you pay the fee. It can be found on the top right-hand side of your I-20.

During the visa application process, you will be required to provide documentation that proves you have the financial resources available to pay for your studies and living expenses. Financial documents may vary but should include what you provided to the college as your financial certification. Here are some suggested documents to bring: 

  • Bank Records or Statements
  • Student Loan Records
  • Proof of Scholarships

You must schedule an appointment to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible, as wait times may vary depending on the region and the date you apply. To find your nearest U.S. Consulate visit  Expect the visa interview to be very brief (less than 15 minutes) and to be conducted in English. In your interview, be prepared to answer questions about your academic interests, financial resources to fund your education, plans after graduation, and career prospects in your home country. Try to avoid rescheduling.

For the visa interview, you will need the following documents: 

  • Passport-sized photo
  • Valid passport 
  • DS-160 Form
  • Original signed Form I-20
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
  • Documentation of finances for your first year of studies
  • Additional financial documentation that you may want to bring which may include property, stocks and other documents

If you are denied the F-1 visa, please request the denial reason in writing, along with a list of the documents they require to obtain approval. It is important to clearly communicate your close ties to your home country and that you intend to return after completion of your studies in the U.S.

Keep the International Student Program updated on the status of your F-1 visa application. Please contact us when approved or if you experience other issues or delays. If you are unable to obtain a visa before your start date, please contact us for the further instructions and to review what options you may have to study at SJCC.


Contact Us

  • ISP Office - GE-118
  • Monday - Thursday
    9 AM - 4 PM PST
    10 AM - 1 PM PST
  • Mailing Address
    San José City College
    International Student Program
    2100 Moorpark Avenue
    San José, CA 95128 U.S.A.

Bringing Dependents

Your spouse or children may accompany you on an F-2 dependent visa. F-2 visa holders are not allowed to work or to pursue a degree program or any other full-time language training program. F-2 dependents may study at part-time status. Please include dependent information including an additional $8,000 per person in funding when applying through the Online international Student Application.