Understanding the Visa Process
The process of applying to a college in the United States as an international student can feel complicated. We’ve listed the key steps below so you don’t miss anything. You should also expect to receive an International Student Checklist from Admissions that provides details on things like how to get your student ID and how to log in to the student portal, but the following steps should be completed first.
Apply for the Leadership Scholarship.
There is housing is available for any King’s student 27 years old or younger, but we do not require students to live on campus. If you have off-campus housing available to you with friends or family, this may reduce your costs significantly. The I-20 application requires that you provide proof of ability to pay for your first year of housing or that you supply an “Affidavit of Support” from a host person that commits to providing you with free lodging. Please note: free housing means you are not doing anything to “earn your stay.” You should not live with someone in exchange for childcare, housework, etc.
Before you can apply for your international student visa (F-1 visa), you will need to obtain an I-20 “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status.”
First, you must apply and be accepted to The King’s College. Once admitted, you will complete an I-20 application. This is a PDF provided to you by your admissions counselor. In addition to the completed application, you will need to submit a color copy of your passport, supporting documents (like a bank statement or income statement) showing proof of ability to pay, and signed support affidavits from each of your sponsors. These documents should be sent along with your completed I-20 directly to your admissions counselor. If you are approved for your I-20, your admissions counselor or other Designated School Official (DSO) will mail you the original copy of your document and acceptance letter. This will be used to pay your SEVIS fee, F-1 visa application, and schedule your interview with the embassy.
An F-1 Student Visa allows you to travel to the United States of America to attend an SEVP-certified school. To apply for your F-1 visa:
- Use your I-20 to fill out your Form I‑901 online and to pay the $350 SEVIS I‑901 Fee. Keep your SEVIS fee receipt for your records and to bring with you to the interview with the embassy.
- Using the SEVIS I-901 receipt, apply for your F-1 Visa via the Non-immigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160, online or in-person at your local U.S. Embassy.
- Pay your $160 DS-160 fee.
- Visit Travel.state.gov for the visa application and information on paying the fee.
- Scroll to “Pay the visa application processing fee” through your specific Embassy or Consulate website.
- Schedule your interview with your US Embassy or Consulate. Do not wait to schedule this appointment. Some embassies have waitlists for interviews, so we recommend you schedule your time immediately after paying your SEVIS fee.
- Attend your interview. You will need the following documents:
- Receipt for SEVIS I-901 fee
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee (DS-160) payment receipt
- Passport and ID Photo: you will need to upload a photo to the DS-160 application. If an error occurs during the upload, bring a printed copy of the photo with you to your interview.
- Your I-20 document and supporting documents
- Note: it is recommended (and is sometimes required) to bring transcripts, test scores, essays, acceptance letter, and letters of recommendation. You may also be asked to bring a statement of intent for studying in the U.S.
- Please notify your counselor once your F-1 Visa has been approved or denied.
You can be issued your F-1 Visa up to 120 days before your program start date. However, you cannot enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before your program start date. It is recommended that you do not purchase flights, hotels, etc. until all steps have been completed, you’re approved, and you’ve been issued your F-1 Visa. The United States government does not guarantee issuance of your visa.
You can find information about maintaining visa status, and other resources at:
- Study in the States: the official DHS website for incoming international students.
- Education USA: the official U.S. Department of State website
If you are currently on an F-1 visa and wish to transfer your visa to King’s, please fill out the “Transfer In” document and complete the I-20 application for The King’s College provided to you by your King’s admissions counselor. Your current school will set your “Transfer Release Date” in SEVIS so that the Designated School Official (DSO) at King’s will have access to the record. You must still be approved for your I-20 at King’s in order for the college to issue you a new I-20. Once the record has been released and your admissions counselor/DSO will send you a copy of your new King’s-issued I-20 document.
U.S. law does not allow F-1 students to work off-campus. However, international students may work on-campus of the college they are attending. There are a few regulations governing this type of employment—students may only work 20 hours per week while school is in session but may work full-time during scheduled vacations, like Christmas and summer. Talk to your admissions counselor about job opportunities on campus.
The King’s College admits students of any race to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The King’s College does not discriminate on the basis of race in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.