F-1 Student Visa
Once admitted to SMCC, our International Education office will mail you your acceptance letter and SEVIS I-20 Form (Certificate of Eligibility). You will then need to apply for an F-1 Student Visa at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. You will also need your unexpired passport, your receipt for the SEVIS I-901 Fee, and evidence of financial support.
Note: If you do not receive the I-20 Form, do NOT enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visitor visa. You will not be permitted to begin a course of study and will be required to leave the United States to change your status.
Canadian citizens are not required to visit the U.S. Consulate for an F-1 visa stamp. However, they must still follow the F-1 admission procedures, pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee, and present the I-20 Form at the point of entry to the U.S. All F-1 visa regulations apply to Canadians in F-1 student status.
Here are four key things to remember when you enroll as an international student:
Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee BEFORE you apply for your visa.
As soon as you receive your I-20 document from SMCC, you need to pay this fee.
The easiest and fastest way to do this is online:
Pay your SEVIS I-901 Fee ($200 USD*) online at www.FMJfee.com. – Complete your I-901 form online. – Pay the fee online by credit or debit card – Print a copy of your receipt, and bring it to your visa interview. You will not receive the visa if you have not first paid the SEVIS I-901 fee.
You can also pay the SEVIS fee locally using the Western Union QuickPay service, using local currency. The payment will be electronically transmitted to SEVP. The Western Union receipt will serve as immediate proof-of-payment for a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate and for admission to the U.S. Port of Entry.
You must pay this fee at least 3 business days before applying for a visa. More information about the SEVIS I-901 Fee is available here.
Make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in your home country.
Visa delays are very common, so make your appointment as soon as possible. You can find the U.S. Consulate closest to you here.
Prepare your documents for the F-1 visa application and interview.
Remember to bring your unexpired passport, I-20 Form issued by South Mountain Community College, evidence of financial support, and receipt for the SEVIS I-901 Fee. Some consulates may accept an official letter from your bank, others will require several months of original monthly bank statements to demonstrate a stable account history.
Some will want to see your diplomas and other academic records. All consulates will require you to prove your “ties to your home country”; they want to be sure that you intend to return to your home country when you have finished your studies.
Be sure to read the “Non-Immigrant Visa” information on the website for the US Consulate in your home country. For advice about preparing for your visa interview, please read the document 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa.
Buy your airline ticket (if needed) and plan for your arrival at SMCC.
Note that you will not be issued your F-1 visa until 120 days (or less) before the start date on your I-20 (in August for the Fall semester, or in January for the Spring semester). You will not be permitted to enter the United States with your F-1 visa until 30 days before the start date on your I-20. To find the start date, see line #5 on your I-20 Form: “The student is expected to report to the school no later than (date).”
Thank you for your interest in South Mountain Community College! We greatly enjoy having international students on our campus, and we look forward to welcoming you in person.