F-1 Visa Application Process

International students (not including Canadians) must apply for a student visa to study in the U.S. BYU-Idaho gives supporting documents (I-20) for F-1 students. The F-1 visa allows students to enter the U.S. as a full-time student at an accredited university.

You should not apply for or make an appointment for a student visa without the Form I-20. F-1 visas will not be issued without a Form I-20 or paying the I-901 SEVIS fee.

See the U.S. Department of State Student Visa page for information about applying for a visa and how to find the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to you.

When you apply for a new F-1 visa, you will need to present to the Embassy the following documentation: 

  • Form DS-160: Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Form I-20 from BYU-Idaho
  • Your admittance letter to BYU-Idaho
  • Financial documents you submitted for your Form I-20
  • A current photograph (see the U.S. Department of State Photo Requirements page)
  • Passport that will not expire within 6 months of your start date
  • Copy of Receipt of payment for SEVIS I-901 Fee of $350

Note: You will need a receipt of payment for your SEVIS I-901 Fee if this is the first time obtaining an F-1 visa, or if you have been away from the university for more than 5 months. You will be required to repay the SEVIS I-901 fee of $350.

It is your responsibility to contact the Embassy and complete the visa application to obtain the appropriate visa.  Please be advised that the issuance of the visa is at the sole discretion of the Consular Officer and BYU-Idaho International Services cannot guarantee the issuance of the visa. See the U.S. Embassies page for a list of all U.S. Embassies/Consulates. Instructions on how to schedule a visa interview, the visa application form (Form DS-160), and clarification of documents required for a visa interview are included on each embassy’s website.

Visa application tips:

  • Be sure to have strong ties to your home country.
  • Practice your English and plan for the interview to be conducted in English.
  • Do not bring others with you to your interview, speak for yourself.
  • Be familiar with your program of study and how it applies to your future career plans when you return home.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Remember your purpose for coming to the U.S. is to study, not to work.
  • Additional documents should be clear and easily evaluated.
  • Have a positive attitude.

The processing time for your visa varies and is dependent upon the embassy where you applied for your visa. International Services is not able to expedite the process for you.

If your visa is delayed past the start of your first semester, or if your visa is denied, contact our office immediately. You may either take an online class during your first semester to hold your spot with the university, or you can contact Admissions and request that your start date be pushed to another semester. Keep in mind that you can only push your start date back once before being asked to reapply to BYU-Idaho. If you are unable to attend BYU-Idaho on your assigned start date and fail to enroll in an online class or push your start date, Admissions will mark you as a “No-Show” and you will be required to reapply to the university.