Immigration for New Students

We want your journey to study in the U.S. to be as easy as possible. Review the information below to make sure you are prepared for the process.

Immigration Documents

Your admission packet includes your I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students). Check this document for accuracy:

  • Name, country of birth, country of citizenship, and date of birth information must match your passport

  • Program of study information is correct

  • Financial information is correct

If any of these sections are inaccurate, contact internationalservices@missouristate.edu as soon as possible to make necessary corrections.

Student Visa

If your I-20 or DS-2019 is accurate, you may begin the process for getting a student visa.

I-901 or SEVIS Fee

F visa status students must pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State will issue a visa. Pay this fee at FMJfee.com.

You will need to provide the following information to pay the SEVIS Fee:

  • Name, address, date of birth, email address

  • Country of birth and country of citizenship

  • The Missouri State University School Code listed on your I-20

  • The SEVIS Identification Number listed on your I-20

Print a receipt showing proof of I-901 SEVIS Fee payment. You must present this receipt at your visa interview.

Applying for Your Student Visa

The steps to getting a visa vary from country to country. It is best to review the instructions on the embassy or consulate website in your country.

Complete the Online Visa Application

You will complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160. This form is lengthy and can take some time to complete.

Once you complete the DS-160 you should:

Schedule Your Visa Appointment

Schedule your interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You can review the wait time for your location online.

Schedule your visa appointment as soon as possible to prevent delays. You may schedule visa interview appointments up to 120 days in advance of your start date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.

Your Student Visa Interview

Once you schedule your appointment, gather all required documents. You are required to bring these documents with you to your visa interview appointment:

  • Passport (must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your period of stay in the U.S.)

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 barcode confirmation page

  • Application fee payment receipt (if you were required to pay before your interview)

  • Photo (you will upload a photo while completing the online Form DS-160 - if this fails, you must bring a printed photo meeting these requirements)

  • I-20 or DS-2019

We recommend that you bring additional documentation. The following items will likely be requested:

  • Evidence of your academic preparations, including transcripts, diplomas, or certificates from schools you have attended or any standardized test scores you provided to Missouri State University

  • Evidence of your intent to depart the U.S. upon completion of your studies

  • Financial documentation showing how you will pay for education, living, and travel costs - we recommend taking your Statement of Financial Support and a bank statement or letter from your bank confirming the necessary funds

A consular officer will review these documents and interview you in English to see if you are qualified to receive a student visa. Be prepared to answer questions about your program of study, why you chose Missouri State University, and what you plan to do once you complete your studies. The interviewer will likely ask you about your answers on documents and forms you have submitted. It is important to demonstrate capability to meet financial requirements and how you plan to use your degree once you return home. 

Once you complete your interview, they may decide to grant your visa, deny your visa, or request further administrative processing. The consular officer will let you know their decision.

If your visa is approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee and make arrangements for the return of your passport and visa. The processing time for this varies from country to country.

If your visa is denied, you may apply for another visa interview appointment to provide additional documentation. This may mean another long wait for an appointment that could make you late for your desired start date. Contact internationalservices@missouristate.edu if you need to defer your admission to a future semester.

Arriving in the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at your port-of-entry will permit or deny your admission to the U.S. when you arrive.

Be prepared to present your passport, visa, and I-20 or DS-2019 to the officials. Once you are allowed to enter, they will provide you with an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94, your Arrival/Departure Record.