All Other International Students
All international students are required to get a Certificate of Eligibility Form I-20 from the university in order to attend classes in the United States. All international students, except Canadian citizens, need to apply for an F-1 student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate once they have applied for and received their I-20 from the university.
I-20 Application Process
- Once you have been accepted to Niagara University, complete and return the I-20 Application. This should be included in your acceptance package and is also available on this site. Make sure to sign the application and include all necessary documents (ex: copy of passport, financial documents).
- When the application and all necessary documents are received, a Designated School Official (DSO) will issue your I-20. The I-20 will be mailed to the address indicated on the application or you will be notified that the document is available for you to pick up at the school.
- Upon receipt of your I-20 you will need to pay the $200 SEVIS fee to the US government and print the receipt. Instructions for payment are included with your I-20.
- You will then need to apply for your F-1 student visa with a US Embassy or Consulate. Bring the SEVIS fee receipt, your I-20 and all attached documentation, and your passport to your appointment with the Consulate. More detailed instructions on processing your I-20 will also be included with your I-20. In some countries, visa appointments may need to be made several months in advance. Check with your local Consulate's office for more details. Make sure that you complete the I-20 application process in a timely manner to ensure that you will receive your I-20 in time to apply for and receive your student visa. Once issued, your original I-20 will need to be sent to you by mail before you can meet with the Consulate. You will need to consider the time that it takes to receive mail from the U.S. when making arrangements for your student visa.
- Once you have received your student visa you may enter the U.S. (you will need your passport, U.S. visa, and I-20 to enter) no more than 30 days before your program start date. If your application for an F-1 student visa is not approved contact the DSO. Your I-20 may be either cancelled or possibly deferred to the following semester, should you choose to re-apply for your visa.
- *Please Note: After you have entered the U.S., during the first week of classes, you will need to complete the International Student Check-in process. Bring your I-20, passport, and the completed International Student Check-In form (included with your I-20 document) to the Records Office. At that time (and not before classes start) the DSO will sign the 3rd page of your I-20 and register with SEVIS (the system linked with the U.S. Government for international student tracking) that you have arrived at the campus and begun classes for the semester (you must be registered for classes before the check-in process can be completed). This check-in process must be completed during the first week of every semester.