Applying for a Visa


For every immigration document you receive, check that the spelling of your name and your date of birth are exactly the same as listed on your passport. Passports must be valid for six months after your intended date of entry into the U.S. Copy all documents prior to departure. Carry all originals with you when you travel, and keep copies in a separate place.


1. Receive I-20 or DS-2019 from Colorado State University

Your I-20 or DS-2019 form will be included in the emailed packet in which you received with a pre-arrival guide. You will be required to submit this document when you apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate. You do not need a travel endorsement for your initial entry.

2. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee

At least two weeks before your visa interview, pay this fee online.

  • Input your name exactly as it appears on the I-20 or DS-2019 form.
  • Input CSU’s school or program code. This is located on the front page of your document:
    • F-1: DEN214F00179000
    • J-1: P-1-00240
  • Print a copy of the online receipt and bring it to your visa interview.
    • Canadians should present this receipt at the U.S. border.
  • Make copies of this receipt and keep it with your other immigration documents.

3. Make a visa appointment at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate

Find your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate and schedule an appointment with them as early as possible. The wait time for a visa interview varies, but is always longer during the months of June, July, and August. Depending on your course of study and nationality, the visa officer may also have to get special clearances, which can require additional time.

The earliest the U.S. Embassy/Consulate can issue an F-1 visa is 120 days before the start date of your program in the U.S. However, you can apply for your visa up to a year before your program.

If you are applying for a J-1 visa, you may apply any time before the beginning of your program.

4. Complete the DS-160 form

The DS-160 form is a non-immigrant electronic visa application, available on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate website.

5. Pay the Visa Application Fee

Follow the instructions on your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate website to pay this fee.

6. Prepare and Bring the Following to Your Visa Interview:

  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • I-20 or DS-2019 form (signed and dated)
  • CSU Admission letter
  • Completed visa application forms (printed DS-160 confirmation notice)
  • Two 2 inch x 2 inch (or 5cm x 5cm) photographs in the required format
  • A receipt of the paid SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Financial evidence of sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses during your period of study
  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community

7. Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions openly and honestly