UCLA Extension

Obtaining Your F1 Student Visa

  1. Complete an Application: Send in your enrollment application to be a full-time student in a UCLA Extension program—American Language Center, Certificate, or Study Abroad. (Each program has its own application.)
  2. Obtain an I-20: After successfully completing your application, we will send you an I-20, Certificate for Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status. If you plan to bring dependents (a spouse or children) you will need an I-20 for each person.
  3. Pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee:  This $200 fee pays for the system that keeps track of students entering the United States. Learn more here or pay online at fmjfee.com. After a few days, you will receive a receipt, the I-901; keep this receipt. If you need to receive the I-901 more quickly, you can pay an additional fee for courier delivery.
  4. Find the closest U.S. embassy or consulate:  Check the U.S. Department of State list of embassies or consulates for the one nearest to you in your home country.  Click on the location. The information page will display a tab for Visas. Select Non-immigrant Visas and electronically complete the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, form DS-160.  Also, upload a photo of yourself and print a confirmation “bar code” page. Keep this page.
  5. Pay your visa application fee: Also known as the MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee, the cost is $140 for you and $140 for each dependent who will enter the U.S. with you. Payment instructions vary, so follow the instructions given by the consulate or embassy where your interview will take place. Keep a receipt.
  6. Schedule your appointment: Instructions and wait times vary at different consulates and embassies for student visa appointments. They can be found at Travel.State.Gov; look under Visas, Temporary Visitors and Visa Wait Times.
  7. Visa Interview: Important reminders about what to bring and what to say.

Canadian Nationals
If you are Canadian, you do not need to apply for an F1 student visa in your passport to enter the U.S. However, you must obtain an I-20 from UCLA Extension and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. When you enter the United States, you will need to show the Customs/Border Protection officer at the port of entry your:

  • Canadian passport
  • I-20.
  • SEVIS I-901 receipt.
  • Financial resource documentation.
  • Proof of ties and plans to return to Canada.

You will be in the U.S. in F1 student status and you will be responsible for maintaining your visa status.

Non-student visas such as B1 and B2 visas are issued to those visiting the United States for business and/or pleasure. With B1 or B2 visas, you can enroll in the part-time ALC American Culture and Communication (ACC) English language course and in some short custom-designed programs for groups.

Check Travel.State.Gov for more information on visas