Here you will find information about applying for non-immigrant U.S. visas for international students.
A non-immigrant U.S. visa is an entry permit for individuals coming to the U.S. temporarily for specific purposes such as study or work. It is issued by the U.S. Department of State and is stamped in your passport. It allows you to to request permission to enter the U.S. at a U.S. Port of Entry.
A visa alone does not guarantee entry into the U.S. You must also carry your other documents, including valid passport, and valid I-20, DS-2019 or I-797 Approval Notice.
If you have a valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport, you may be able to use that stamp to re-enter the United States. You are encouraged to contact the closest U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to inquire as to whether or not you may use a visa stamp associated with your previous SEVIS record with a new document to enter the United States. Please note that Customs and Border Protection makes the final decision on your eligibility to enter the U.S. and can deny entry.
You must obtain a U.S. visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S.
While it is always recommended that you apply for a U.S. visa in your home country, some people apply in Canada. For information on applying for a U.S. visa in Canada, please refer to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada's website.
If you decide to apply for your U.S. Visa in Canada, please note that you may have to wait in Canada while your visa application is pending. In addition, if your application is denied, you will not be able to return to the U.S.
June, July, and August are the busiest months in most U.S. Consulates so interview appointments may be difficult to obtain during that period.
Due to background checks, mandatory visa interviews and increased scrutiny of individuals studying or doing research in “sensitive fields,” you should be prepared for delays in the processing of your visa application. If your field of study or research is in a sensitive field, you should obtain a letter from your professor explaining the nature of your studies or research. This letter should be written in simple language so it can be easily understood by non-specialists.
Also, if you violated your previous immigration status, have applied for Lawful Permanent Residence in the U.S. or have a criminal record, your application for a new visa will be subject to additional scrutiny or denial.
All applicants for F or J visas are required to demonstrate their intent to return to their home country following the completion of their studies or scholarly activities. There are several ways you can demonstrate your intent to return home:
For additional information about applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa, please visit the Department of State website.
The U.S. Department of State website lists the forms, documents, etc. which are required for the U.S. visa application. It is important that you bring everything to your visa interview to avoid needless delays in the processing of your application.
Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160). When you upload your photo, be sure it conforms to the Photograph Requirements. Print the application confirmation page for your interview.
If you're not sure who to put as your contact? UB students can use ISS's information:
ISS cannot answer this question for you. We recommend you use your best estimate on the time you need to complete your program. You can contact your academic department for an estimate if you are not sure.
Your answer to this question does not determine the length of your visa.
ISS cannot provide detailed guidance on completing your DS-160. If you have questions we recommend contacting your local embassy or consulate for assistance.
Pay the nonrefundable Visa Application (MRV) Fee. Note: When your visa is issued, you may also be required to pay the Reciprocal Visa Issuance Fee. Check the Visa Reciprocity Table to see if you are required to pay this fee.
(If required) Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee online, by mail or by Western Union. If you already paid the SEVIS Fee and don't know if you need to pay it again, please read SEVIS Fee (for F-1 students), SEVIS Fee (for J-1 students and scholars) or SEVIS I-901 Fee. For additional information, read SEVIS I-901 Fee Frequently Asked Questions.
Please refer to the list of documents above for U.S. visa applications. In addition to these documents, you should bring your UB transcripts. We also recommend that you print out an Enrollment Verification Certificate from the HUB Student Center for additional verification of your full-time student status.
If you have been out of the U.S. for more than 5 months, you may need to pay the SEVIS fee again. Please review the SEVIS I-901 Fee and SEVIS I-901 Fee FAQ links below to determine whether or not you are required to pay the SEVIS fee.
For additional requirements, please contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you will apply for your visa.
Have a quick question? ISS offers virtual drop-in advising throughout the week.
No appointment needed! Click the button below or visit our Contact Us page for details.