International Programs and Global Engagement

Preparing for your F-1 Visa Interview and Paying the SEVIS Fee

This information has been prepared to assist international students who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study at California State University, Sacramento in F-1 visa status. For information on bringing dependents to the US, returning to continue studies, renewing your visa, or for more details on how to apply for a student visa, refer to the US Department of State website at

"Study in the States" website:
Study in the States is a helpful website for both prospective students and for students who have been accepted to a US university.

SEVIS Fee Payment and Visa processes are easily explained at: This section has information about the different tasks you will need to complete to accept your admission, such as paying your SEVIS fee, applying for a F1 visa, and entering the US. We encourage you to look at these helpful resources.


  1. Contact your local US Consulate or Embassy to obtain F-1 international student visa application procedures. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at
  2. After you receive a SEVIS I-20 from the school that you wish to attend, follow the US Embassy/Consulate's instructions to schedule an interview for your F-1 student visa. Apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 120 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
  3. Pay the SEVIS fee online at You must bring the receipt of fee payment with you to the interview. If you have lost the receipt, the Visa Officer should be able to view your payment history in his or her SEVIS database.
  4. Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Visit the DS-160 webpage ( to learn more about the DS-160 online process. Please note that after you have completed the DS-160, you need to take these next steps:
  • Print and keep the DS-160 barcode page. (You will not need to print the full application.
  • Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for additional country-specific instructions.

  5.  Pay the visa application fee by following instructions on your local US embassy or consulate's web site.

  6.  Prepare and bring to your visa interview the following:

  • A passport valid for at least six months in the future
  • Form SEVIS I-20 (sign the form as appropriate)
  • School admission letter
  • Completed online DS-160 visa application with a printout of the DS-160 barcode page.
  • Two 2"x 2" photographs in the prescribed format (see the website)
  • A receipt for the visa application fee
  • A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the US embassy or consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.
  • Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study.
  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the US. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;

7. Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer's questions to you openly and honestly.

If you have any questions, please contact the International Programs and Global Engagment at Tel: (916) 278-6686 or Advisor email addresses located on your Welcome and Orientation Letter

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