Our International Pre-arrival Information brochure and checklist are full of useful information to prepare you for coming to the United States and starting your studies at Concordia University, Irvine.
Pre-Arrival Information Checklist
Apply for F1 Visa
Where to Apply for F1
Visa applicants should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, generally in their country of permanent residence.
Visa Application Forms (DS-160 or Form DS-156)
Personal Visa Interview
Additional Documents Needed for the Visa Application
Go to: www.usembassy.gov and check the website of the U.S. consulate at which you will apply for a visa prior to submitting your application to ensure that you have all necessary documents. Even if not listed on the website, you should also plan to present the following:
- Admission Letter from CUI
- Proof of funding as listed on Form I-20 (not needed if admission letter notes full funding from CUI)
- If available, documentation indicating your intent to return home at the end of your studies
Important Documents for Visa application
Your Name Must Be the Same on All Legal Documents.
The easiest way to avoid unnecessary bureaucratic problems in the U.S., is to ensure that ALL of your legal documents list your name exactly the same way as it is listed in your passport. The spelling of your name should be exactly the same on your passport, your Form I-20 and your F1 visa stamp.
Your passport is an essential travel document issued by your home government. As passports are small and easily misplaced, it is wise to make and keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place in a location separate from where you keep your passport itself.
Form I-20 Generated Through SEVIS
Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant (F-1) Student Status is for you to obtain an F-1 student visa. If your name on the Form is not exactly as it appears in your passport, do NOT use this I-20 to apply for a visa—instead, contact the CUI Office of Global Programs (OGP) and request an amended I-20 be sent to you before you apply for your visa.
(Note: All Forms I-20 are generated through the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), an Internet-based system that the U.S. Federal Government uses to maintain accurate and current information on international students, exchange visitors, and their dependents. SEVIS enables schools and program sponsors to transmit mandatory information and event notifications via the Internet, to the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State throughout a student or exchange visitor's stay in the United States.)
SEVIS Fee Payment Confirmation Receipt
All F-1 visa applicants who are beginning a new academic program must pay a mandatory SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Enclosed with your Form I-20 you should find instructions on how to pay the SEVIS fee. You must obtain and present proof of having paid the fee in order to apply for a visa and in order to enter the U.S. If you choose to pay online, be sure to print out the online "confirmation" receipt at the time it appears on your computer screen, as this will be the only chance you will have to access the confirmation receipt! Once you leave that screen, you will not be able to access it again.
Regardless of whether you pay online or by another method, be sure to make several copies of the payment confirmation receipt for your records.
F1 students who attended another U.S. school before coming to CUI:
You MUST request your previous school to transfer your SEVIS record to CUI. You do not need to apply for a new visa if not traveling abroad during the transition, or if your current F1 visa in your passport is still valid upon returning from travel abroad.
Canadian citizens: Canadian citizens are NOT required to obtain a U.S. visa to enter the United States. However, when you come to attend school, you must present the following documents for inspection either at a pre-inspection site in Canada or upon entry to the United States:
- Canadian passport
- Admission letter to Concordia University
- Original I-20
- SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
- Financial documentation upon inspection (you must obtain a stamped I-94 card marked "F1/DS").