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Basic requirements for a Student Visa

Congratulations on your admission to Irvine Valley College!  Now that you have been admitted to IVC, you will need to apply for the F-1 visa at the US Embassy/Consulate in your home country.  Please review the information below as it will assist you in this process.
Contact EducationUSA to Attend a Pre-Departure Orientation:
The US government hosts education centers around the world that provide helpful information to international students.  Pre-Departure Orientations provide helpful information about the visa process, life in America and how to prepare for your departure.   Although not required prior to your arrival in the USA, a pre-departure orientation can be very helpful to answer your questions!  To find your local EducationUSA advising center, please visit:  
SEVIS Fee Payment:
Before you apply for the F-1 visa, you must first pay the $200 SEVIS fee.  SEVIS (Student Exchange and Visitor Information System) is the internet based program that is used by the U.S. government and all certified US colleges/universities to monitor F-1 visa students in the United States.
The SEVIS fee must be paid by all F-1 visa applicants prior to the visa appointment at the US Embassy.  This fee is not an IVC fee, but a fee required by the US government.  The SEVIS fee is currently $200 for F-1 visa students.  The fee can be paid on-line, by mail or at Western Union offices that offer the Quick Pay service.

How to Pay the SEVIS Fee:

1.       Visit and complete the required information.  The school code for IVC is LOS 214F01465000.  Your SEVIS ID can be found at the top left of your I-20 and begins with the letter “N”.
2.       You may pay the $200 SEVIS fee on-line by using a Visa, MasterCard or American Express information.
3.       Print a copy of the online receipt.  You will need to bring this with you to your F-1 visa appointment.
The above information is for use when paying on-line using a credit card; this is the recommended method of payment.  If you will pay the SEVIS fee by mail or by Western Union, please see for more information.
F-1 Visa Application Appointment:

To find your nearest US Embassy/Consulate:

For general information about F-1 visa applications:

NOTE:  Canadian citizens do not need to apply for the F-1  visa to enter the U.S. but must still pay the SEVIS FEE and present their I-20 at the U.S. port of Entry.
After you visa is approved you may only enter the U.S. 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on your I-20.
Steps to Apply for the F-1 Visa:
1. Contact your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy to ask about how to get an F-1 international student visa. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at
2. After you receive an I-20 form from the school, follow the U.S. Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa. It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
3. Complete the required application form.  Most U.S. Embassies/Consulates now require that you complete and submit your visa application form (DS-160) and photos on-line.  Please consult the US Embassy/Consulate in your country for specific instructions.  
4. Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local U.S. embassy or consulate's web site.
5. Pay the required SEVIS fee of $200.00. See above to find instructions on the ways that you can pay the SEVIS fee.  You must bring the SEVIS fee payment receipt with you to the interview.  Please visit for more information about the SEVIS fee.
6. Prepare and bring all items as indicated on the U.S. Embassy website to your visa interview, including:
  • Passport valid for travel to the U. S. - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U. S. (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
  • Form I-20 – Your school will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20. All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Each person receives an individual Form I-20. 
Additional Documentation May Be Required.  Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish that you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
  • Your academic preparation, such as: transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
  • Scores from tests that your U.S. school required, such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT
  • Your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of the course of study
  • Financial documentation verifying how you will pay all educational, living and travel costs
7. Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer's questions to you openly and honestly.
Printed from NAFSA: Association of International Educators; Department of State website and
Visa Wait Times:
The visa application processing time is different at each Consulate; please apply early in order to ensure that you have enough time to obtain your F-1 visa and arrive in time for our mandatory orientation program.  The summer months and winter holiday are busy, but you can request a priority appointment to apply for the F-1 visa in some locations.
Security Clearances:
Some consulates may require a security clearance on your visa application.  This means that your visa may be approved but can’t be issued until the security clearance is finalized.  This usually takes two weeks to two months so plan accordingly.    
Visa Approved or Denied:
If your F-1 visa request was approved, a stamp will be placed in your passport and you will be notified how to pick-up your passport.  The name of your school (IVC) will be written on your visa.  You must attend the school indicated on your initial F-1 visa; if you decide to attend a different school, you must re-apply for a new visa.
If your application is denied, you should ask the visa officer for the specific reason why you were denied. You may apply again only if you have new evidence to support your application.




T: 949-451-5414
O: CEC 7

Office Hours

 Monday:​  9 am - 6 pm​
​ Tuesday: ​ 9 am - 6 pm
 ​Wednesday: ​ 9 am - 6 pm
 ​Thursday:  9 am - 6 pm
​ Friday: ​ 9 am - 4:30 pm​

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