Students are encouraged to visit the official F-1 visa application information from Study in the States site.
I am transferring my I-20 to UW Bothell:
- You do not need to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again.
- It is okay if your current, valid visa has a different school name on it. This is very common for transfer students.
If you plan to leave and re-enter the U.S. before you begin your studies at UW Bothell:
- If your current visa has expired, you must use your UW Bothell I-20 to apply for a new F-1 visa (see visa section below). ISS strongly recommends you apply for a new F-1 visa in your home country. You can get a copy of your old I-901 SEVIS fee receipt online if needed.
- You must use your UW Bothell I-20, valid visa, valid passport and UW Bothell admission letter to enter the U.S.
If you don’t plan to leave the U.S. until you begin your studies at UW Bothell:
- Be sure that your previous school transfers your SEVIS record within 60 days of you previous program’s completion and before your start date at UW Bothell.
- You may work on-campus at UW Bothell after ISS has received you SEVIS record from your previous school. Please check with ISS to make sure your SEVIS record has been transferred before you begin on-campus work.
I am entering the U.S. with a new I-20/SEVIS record:
- Once you receive your UW Bothell I-20, you can pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee. This fee is imposed by USCIS.
- If you have paid the I-901 SEVIS fee in the past for another SEVIS record, you can request to transfer your previous payment to your new SEVIS record. Use the “Check Status” option and enter your old SEVIS ID. If eligible, a “Transfer” button will appear.
- You will use your UW Bothell I-20 and I-901 SEVIS fee receipt to make an appointment to apply for your F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate.
- Immigration regulations allow you to enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date on your I-20. Your earliest date of admission is printed on your I-20. The program start date is typically the first official date of the quarter.
Applying for Your F-1 Visa
- Emergency Visa Appointment: During COVID-19, we are aware that some U.S. Consulates offer emergency visa appointments. Once it is within 60-days from the start of the quarter, you can go online to schedule this appointment. Some countries require you to wait until 30-days before, such as in Japan. Please contact your local U.S. Consulate for further details.
- Students are encouraged to visit the Study in the States site and Department of State’s Visa site for official application information.
- Applying for a U.S. visa can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks or longer, so you should allow enough time for the visa application process.
- ISS strongly encourages students to apply for the F-1 visa in their home country. If there are any delays or visa denials, then at least the student will be at home during this difficult time.
- Your UW Bothell I-20 and I-901 SEVIS fee receipt allows you to make an appointment to apply for an F-1 visa.
Tips for the Visa Interview
The following are tips for you in consider when preparing for your visa interview. You should also visit the website of the U.S. Consulate in your home country for further information about preparing for your interview.
1. Be honest. Students have been denied visas for presenting false information.
2. Ties to your Home Country. You must be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the U.S. “Ties” to your home country that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence such as job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.
3. Financial Support. Make sure you bring sufficient proof that you have enough money to support yourself in the U.S.
4. English. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. If you are coming to the United States to study only English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
5. Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans. You should be able to explain how studying in the U.S. relates to your future professional career.
6. Employment. Your main purpose in coming to the U.S. should be to study, not to work in the U.S. before or after graduation. While many students do work on-campus during their studies, employment is not their main purpose.
List of U.S. Consulates & Embassies
If you are unsure of where your nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy is located, we encourage you to use the U.S. Department of State’s directory.
Your Social Media Accounts
Please note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can ask for your social media account information when you to apply for F-1 visa and/or travel through U.S. ports of entry. We advise all students to be smart about your online presence and always be compliant with federal laws and regulations.