Steps to Obtain an F1 Visa
5 Steps to obtain an F-1 Visa to Study at the English Language Institute (ELI) at Westchester Community College (WCC)
STEP 1: CHOOSE SEMESTER and DOWNLOAD APPLICATION
- Decide on a semester to study at the main campus of the ELI (Spring, Summer, Fall).
- Decide if you will apply with dependents.
- DOCUMENT: Download the F-1 application from our website.
- DOCUMENT: Check that your passport (and your dependents’ passports if applicable) is up to date. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).
STEP 2: CHOOSE SPONSORS and COLLECT DOCUMENTS
- Decide on a sponsor (self, relative, friend, or government) to fund your studies and expenses.
- DOCUMENT: Obtain an employment letter or pay stubs for sponsor.
- DOCUMENT: Obtain your sponsor’s most recent six bank statements or a letter with bank balance signed by a bank official.
- DOCUMENT: Obtain sponsor’s tax documents (IRS Form 1040 for USA).
- Decide on a sponsor to fund your room and board.
- DOCUMENT: Obtain a copy of the deed or lease for the house/apartment you will live in.
STEP 3: COMPLETE APPLICATION and SUBMIT DOCUMENTS
- DOCUMENT: Fill out the F-1 application being sure to complete all fields.
- DOCUMENT: Include a passport style photograph.
- DOCUMENT: Include a copy of your passport (and your dependents’ passports if applicable).
- DOCUMENT: Include sponsors’ documents listed above.
- DOCUMENT: Submit application and documents in secure portal.
IF DOCUMENTS ARE ACCEPTED, YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR I-20 & ACCEPTANCE LETTER FROM THE ELI.
STEP 4: MAKE PAYMENTS and SCHEDULE INTERVIEW
- PAYMENT: Pay SEVIS fee (Form I-901) at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html.
- PAYMENT: Complete and pay for the online nonimmigrant Visa application (Form DS-160) https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/Default.aspx.
- Schedule and attend your interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in your country.
- The consular office will either issue or refuse the F-1 visa. If visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality).
IF F-1 VISA IS APPROVED, CONSULAR OFFICER WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW TO COLLECT YOUR PASSPORT/VISA.
STEP 5: REGISTER FOR CLASSES AND TRAVEL to USA TO ATTEND CLASSES
- PAYMENT: Register for ELI classes by calling 914-606-6656 before start of semester if visa is approved. Be sure to state that you are an F-1 international student.
- DOCUMENT: Send COVID Vaccine Card to the English Language Institute in order to attend classes.
- Make travel arrangements to arrive no earlier than 30 days before start date on I-20.
- Arrive in USA. (Note: A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa only allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States.
- DOCUMENT: Present passport, visa, and Form I-20 at port-of-entry. Once you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
- Attend online ELI placement test to determine your level.
- Begin attending class on the first day to maintain your status.
- Contact your ELI Designated School Official (DSO) if you have any questions.