Applying For a Student Visa

Visa Interview Instructions

Today, as in the past, most travelers to the U.S. must obtain a visa. The process includes application forms and possibly interviews that may take several weeks or longer. So, please allow extra time to avoid having to make repeat visits to the Embassy. While individual experiences may differ, here are the basic steps you should follow and what you can expect throughout the process.

STEP 1          Make the SEVIS Payment (Choose ONE of the following options)

To Pay Online

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment”
  3. Click on the “I-20” button near the bottom of the page and then click “Ok”
  4. Complete the form online and supply the necessary payment information from a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards.  Payment can also be made online with a Debit cards (also known as check cards) that have the Visa or MasterCard logo. 
  5. Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
  6. Print several receipts when paying online or get a receipt from Western Union.  You will need this receipt or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official paper receipt (referred to as an “I-797”) when applying and interviewing for your visa, and entering the U.S. Please keep this receipt as a permanent record.

To Pay By Western Union

  1. Follow the instructions (

To Pay By Mail

  1. Complete the I-901 form “Fee Remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants” available online at
  2. Be sure to write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20 form.
  3. Prepare a check, international money order or foreign draft (drawn on US banks only) in the amount of $200 USD, made payable to “I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee”
  4. Mail the completed I-901 form and payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
  5. A Form I-797 receipt confirmation notice should be mailed to the address you wrote on the Form I-901 within 3 days of processing the fee.
  6. If you want the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to express mail your receipt to you, you must mark “Expedited Delivery” on   question #18 of the I-901 form and pay an extra $30 USD.  Or you can wait until the receipt is mailed to via regular postal service.

If you mail the fee, then you must wait at least 3 business days after DHS receives your payment before trying to apply for your visa. DHS will mail you a paper receipt (called an I-797) to be used as evidence that you paid. It is strongly recommended that you wait for a copy of the paper fee payment receipt before making a visa application.

STEP 2          Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your Country  

Use this website to find out the requirements and procedures in your country for a visa application.

  1. Click on the embassy located nearest to you.
  2. Click on the “Visas” tab at the top of the page
  3. Remember, you will study in the United States on an F-1 Non-Immigrant Visa

STEP 3         Make an appointment for an interview  

In your first contact with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, find out how to make an appointment for the interview as soon as possible.  Wait times for appointments may be lengthy. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible.  Find out the appointment and visa wait time:

STEP 4         Prepare Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) 

The Form DS-160 is issued by the U.S. Department of State.  Use the website below to find the online instructions for how to submit the form directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate where you are applying for the F-1 visa: (

STEP 5         Take all supporting documents to your visa interview

  1. SEVIS I-20 Form—Issued by Tiffin University.  Remember that you are coming to the U.S. in order to study at Tiffin University and do not intend to stay permanently in the U.S.
  2. I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  3. All financial documents to show your funding for your education
  4. Educational background—includes the highest degree transcripts or certificates to demonstrate your educational background.
  5. Test scores—includes TOEFL, IELTS or any other English tests you have taken for your admissions to Tiffin University.  It is ok if you have not taken a TOEFL or IELTS test.  You can still interview.
  6. Permanent residence—show that you have a residence in your country and will maintain ties to your country via family, job or property which will insure your return home at the end of your study

STEP 6         Important points to remember when preparing for your visa interview

1. Explain ties to your home country

2. Prepare to answer all questions in English

3. Speak for yourself

4. Know your program of study

5. Be brief when answering questions

6. Provide all supporting documents

7. Understand not all applicants are equal

8. Prepare to answer questions on employment

9. Prepare to answer questions on children

10. Maintain a positive attitude


STEP 7          Be Sure That You Understand Your I-20

Section 1.

This section contains general information about you.  Please verify that all of your personal information in this section is true and accurate.

Section 2.

This section contains general information about Tiffin University.

Section 3.

This section will specify whether you are a first time student to Tiffin University or a transfer student. 

Section 4. 

This section will specify your level of study at Tiffin University.  You can only study a bachelor or master degree at Tiffin University.  TU does not offer a doctoral program in any field.

Section 5.

Please verify that your major is correct.  You will need to thoroughly understand your major at Tiffin University and how it will influence your career before going to a visa interview.  Review all of the documents provided with your I-20 about specific program details.

A "completion date" was entered into item #5 on page 1 of your I-20 based on your particular major and degree level. This is an estimate of time the University feels it may take you to fulfill all degree requirements. However, if you are not able to finish your program on that date, you can request an extension from the Tiffin University International Student Services Office at least one month before the completion date expires.

According to U.S. immigration regulations, the "completion date" is defined as the day you complete your final degree requirements.  Your actual completion date may not necessarily be the day of your graduation ceremony or the date on your I-20 (In fact, many students actually finish their degree requirements before the completion date on their I-20).

Section 6.

TU requires all students whose native language is not English, and who do not submit an acceptable English language proficiency test score to take a battery of English placement tests to determine whether or not they will need to enroll in the English as a Second Language (ESL).  If you have met our English language test score requirements, or are from an English speaking country, it will be reflected in this section.  If you have not met the English language test score requirements, it will also be reflected in this section.

Section 7.

TU attempts to accurately reflect the cost of your education in your I-20 document.  However, because final housing assignments are not made until arrival, and because you may have to take additional ESL courses after your English placement test, you should not consider this an official statement of fees.

Section 8.

This information will be viewed during your visa appointment and you must prove through official documents that it is true and accurate.  Please notify us as soon as possible if your financial situation has changed since the time that you provided your financial documents to TU.

Section 9.

This section is used by TU to notify the Visa Officer of any notes that we feel may improve your chances of receiving a visa.

STEP 8          Contact the International Admissions Office after your visa interview

Phone: +1-419-448-3287