Important Documents You Must Have Before You Leave Home

Passport:  Before you leave your country contact your government’s passport office to clarify any questions you may have about your passport. It must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into the United States.

Visa:  You should apply for a non-immigrant Student Visa (F-1) as early as possible, but you can apply only 120 days before the “start date” on your I-20. You must first complete the Visa Application (this is called the DS-160) online and pay the fee before scheduling the appointment. You can usually schedule the visa appointment online. Then, you can go to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate, taking your passport, the receipt for your paid SEVIS fee, the Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20, issued by Wilson College) your completed visa application including a second visa size photo, and all other documentation needed. It is best to take too much documentation, to prove that you are going to study in the United State. But have all your documentation in an orderly fashion so that you can locate such quickly if the visa officer requests a particular document. provides a list of embassies and consulates. Check the following site for additional information on obtaining your U.S. visa, including what documentation you must take with you upon your visa appointment:

The visa official will ask about your educational experiences and your college choices. Be prepared to answer questions about your field of study and how likely you are to remain at your college until graduation. Take with you school transcripts, national examination results, and SAT or TOEFL/IELTS scores along with anything else which demonstrates your academic achievement and commitment.

You should also be prepared to show that your sponsor (whoever is paying for your education) is able to finance your education. You should also take with you the verification of any personal funds that are listed as a contribution from you or your family. This includes signed letters or documents from a bank or other financial institution verifying that you have the personal funds indicated on the I-20 form. Those funds that are covered by Wilson College are adequately indicated on the I-20 form and you need no further documentation of these funds.

You will also need to prove that you do not intend to remain in the United States after graduation. It is important to convey to the official that you are coming to the United States as a student, and that you plan to return to your home country after your schooling is completed. Be prepared to demonstrate solid economic, family and social ties to your home country.

In the event that your request for a visa is denied, the visa official must give you the reason for denial in writing. You must get this paper from the visa official before leaving your appointment. Also, before leaving this official, make certain your full name on the visa matches the spelling on your passport.