Ask the Consul — May 2019


I have been accepted to attend university in the United States, what are the next steps?


Congratulations on your acceptance to attend university in the United States. We are sure it is an exciting time for you and your family. The next step in the process would be to apply for your non-immigrant student visa. Please note, first time students cannot apply for a student visa more than 120 days before the start of their program.

The student visa application process is essentially the same as for other visitor visas. First, you must complete the electronic visa application form (the DS-160 form) by visiting our website Then, you must pay the application fee at a local Scotia Bank branch. After that, you can schedule an appointment and attend the visa interview.

When you come in for your visa interview, you must bring the following documents: your valid passport, DS-160 confirmation page, passport photo, I-20 form, and proof that you paid the required Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee.  As your university issues the I-20 and registers you in SEVIS, follow up with your university if you have questions about either. Both are required for all international students coming to the United States to study.  Remember, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee – a step that must be done before the visa may be issued.

During the interview, you will need to show how you will finance your education. Bring documents to do so. These include, but are not limited to, bank statements from family members, job letters from family member’s current employment, and scholarship or award letters. Be able to explain why your financial supporter is willing to help you. The Consular Officer must ensure you have enough available funds to cover at least the first year of university, and you have a viable plan for funding the full course of study.

During your interview, be prepared to talk about your program of study and future plans after graduating. If approved, visa delivery will occur within 5-10 working days of your interview.

If you are interested in studying in the United States, the U.S. Embassy has many tools available to help you in your research, including our American Center – which is staffed with a full time education advisor – and the EducationUSA website: You can make an appointment with the education advisor by emailing

Complete details on the non-immigrant visa application process are available online at or by calling 868-235-4500, Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.