F-1 Student Visa/ U.S. Embassy Information

The Portland English Language Academy has programs for students on all types of visas: F-1 student visas, tourist visas, visa waivers, permanent residence, and others.

If you plan to join us on an F-1 student visa, you can find the steps to apply for an F-1 student visa below. The F-1 student visa application process is easy.

If you have questions about the information below or need help, please contact our school anytime.

Steps for receiving an F-1 Student Visa

Step 1: Submit application to the Portland English Language Academy (PELA)


Step 2: Receive your Form I-20

The Portland English Language Academy will send your Form I-20 to you. Sign your name on the I-20 after you receive it.


Step 3: Pay the I-901 SEVIS fee

PELA can help you pay this fee and send a receipt along with the Form I-20.


Step 4: Prepare an application photo of yourself

2×2 inch, color, passport-type photo


Step 5: Complete the online DS-160 application form and print the confirmation page

The DS-160 form can be found on your country’s U.S. embassy website. Print the confirmation page and bring the DS-160 Confirmation Page to your interview. Visit http://www.usembassy.gov to find your country’s U.S. embassy website.


downloadStep 6: Make an interview appointment

An interview at the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in your country is required. Visit http://www.usembassy.gov to find the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate near you. The wait time for interview appointments at the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulates in your country is available athttp://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html.


Step 7: Pay the application fee

The U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate in your country (http://www.usembassy.gov) will tell you how to pay this fee.


Step 8: Gather additional required documents

Use the checklist below to ensure you bring everything that you need with you on the day of your interview:

  • Form I-20
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
  • Application photo
  • DS-160 application form confirmation page
  • Application fee receipt
  • Appointment confirmation paper
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay in the U.S.
  • Bank statement that shows that you or your parents have sufficient funds to pay your tuition and living expenses while you study in the U.S.
  • Other supporting documents the U.S. embassy in your country tells you that you need, if any.

Step 9: Appear for the visa interview


Step 10: Receive your F-1 student visa!

Some students will receive their visa immediately. Some students will receive their visas later via post. It depends on what country you are in.

When Do I Need to Apply for My Student Visa?

Embassies and Consulates are able to issue your student visa as early as 120 days before the study start date shown on your I-20 form.

Students are encouraged to apply for their visa early to provide enough time for visa processing. Students may apply for their visa as soon as they are prepared to do so. It is recommended that you wait until you receive your Form I-20 before you make an interview appointment at the U.S. embassy or U.S. consulate.

Students can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before the study start date shown on your I-20 form

Additional Information

The embassy website for your country will help you schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, and review application instructions. These sites are often translated into the local language.

The Portland English Language Academy is happy to answer questions and help as much as we can, too.

Information Source: U.S State Department

Are you ready to join?

Do you have questions?