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Visa & SEVIS Information

How to Apply for a Student Visa

Visit Drexel University's office of International Students and Scholars Services (ISSS)

  • A student's affiliation with ISSS begins immediately after the admission process and continues well beyond graduation.
  • ISSS staff can advise international students, scholars and faculty on immigration, cultural, financial, academic, and personal concerns, and make appropriate referrals when necessary.

Don't wait until the last minute!

  • If you are applying for a student visa for the first time, an in-person interview is usually required. June, July, and August are usually the busiest months, so there might be a long wait for an appointment during this time.

Apply for your visa as soon as you know when you plan to travel.

  • Allow several weeks for planning and getting an appointment for the visa. You can call the embassy or go to the U.S. embassy web site for information and instructions.
  • You can also contact an EducationUSA Advising Center near you to learn more about how to apply for a visa in your home country. Follow the links to your region and country to find the center nearest you.

All F-1 visa applicants must pay a SEVIS fee before applying for a visa.

  • The SEVIS fee is in addition to your visa application fee. After you receive your I-20 from Drexel ISSS, you must pay this fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at least 3 days before you apply for your visa.
  • Visit the Study in the States website for guidance to pay the I-901 fee.

Call or visit the embassy web site to find out exactly what documents you must bring with you.

Required documents usually include:

  • I-20 from Drexel ISSS
  • SEVIS payment receipt
  • Acceptance letter from Drexel ELC
  • Any payment receipts you received from Drexel ELC or your agent
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your expected stay in the U.S. (In some countries you must bring old passports as well.)
  • Completed visa application forms and photographs for each applicant.
  • Financial documents that show you have sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses during your time in the U.S.
  • Proof of your relationship to your spouse and children if you are married and/or have children.
  • Evidence that you plan to return home after your studies in the U.S.

Be ready for your visa interview

  • Consider the interview a formal event. Business clothes are appropriate.
  • Be prepared to answer questions like these:
    • Why do you need to go to the United States to study English?
    • Why did you choose to go to school in Philadelphia?
  • Listen carefully to the questions the embassy official asks you. The official is usually trying to decide whether you intend to stay in the U.S. after you have completed your program. If the official thinks you plan to stay in the U.S., he or she will refuse your visa. Remember, the F-1 visa is for people who intend to return to their home country. Tell the official why you want to study English and when you are planning to go home

If you are currently in the U.S. on a non F-1 or J-1 student visa

  • Drexel University does not consider national origin or current immigration status as a factor in admission. All students, regardless of their citizenship and immigration status, are welcome to apply for admission. However, we strongly advise you to be aware of possible limitations of your current status and, if eligible, change your immigration status to an F-1 or J-1 student visa if your current status does not permit you to study full-time, work on campus, or apply for off-campus work authorization.
  • This Infographic can help you determine if your current immigration status allows you to study in the U.S. For example, an F-2 visa holder can only study part-time and is not eligible to work on campus or apply for an off-campus work authorization. An H-4 visa holder can study full-time but is not, in most cases, eligible to work or apply for work authorization. J-2 visa holders are allowed to study full-time and apply for work authorization from USCIS, but there may be other restrictions that you should be aware of. Plan early, do your research, and seek advice from a trusted immigration attorney to ensure that your immigration status does not prevent you from fully benefiting from your student experience at Drexel. If, after consulting with an attorney, you decide to change your immigration status to an F-1 or J-1 visa, please review the information on ISSS’ website on how to apply for F-1 or J-1 visa status..