1) Receive Acceptance to ACTCM – Once admitted to ACTCM, the College will issue an acceptance letter and I-20. Please contact your local US Embassy for a visa appointment for your student F-1 visa as soon as possible for instructions on how to prepare for the visa interview. Once your student F-1 visa is granted by the US Embassy, you can arrange your flight, begin the search for housing, and start packing!
2) Receive the I-20 form endorsed by DSO – DSO stands for “designated school official”. DSO’s are school and program officials who are authorized to access SEVIS for F students and issue the I-20 on behalf of the college to admitted international students. Only United States permanent residents and citizens may be given access to SEVIS.
The I-20 Form is a United States Department of Homeland Security document issued by colleges, universities, and vocational schools that provides supporting information for the issuance of a student visa or change of status (F non-immigrant statuses). Since the introduction of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the form also includes the student tracking number (SEVIS number) for the student and program.
Once you receive your I-20 (total of 3 pages) from ACTCM, please read through it carefully. Then, date and print/sign your name on the bottom of the first page. Finally, bring all three pages of the I-20 form, along with other supportive documents outlined by the US Embassy, to your visa interview.
3) Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee – The U.S. Government has a system known as SEVIS (the Student Exchange Visitor Information System). This system keeps track of foreign students from the moment that a school issues the I-20 form. SEVIS requires a $200 fee to be paid by all foreign nationals who come to the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at ACTCM. This fee is separate from, and in addition to, the CISL visa application fee. The SEVIS fee must be paid via the Internet or by postal mail. It cannot be paid at a U.S. embassy or consulate, and it cannot be paid at port of entry. CISL offers students a SEVIS Fee payment service allowing applicants to have CISL collect the fee upfront and pay the fee for them. To complete the I-901 form and pay by credit card online, please visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program Processing Website. Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 form, and print a copy of the online receipt. Keep a copy of this receipt with your other important immigration documents.
A paper receipt is not required in order for you to be issued a visa or to be admitted to the U.S. embassies. Consular posts will be able to verify your fee payment without a receipt in most circumstances if you pay the fee far enough in advance of your visa interview. Just remember to pay on time! Internet payments must be submitted at least 3 business days in advance of your interview if you will rely on electronic fee verification at the consulate. Mailed payments must be sent in a manner that assures arrival at the DHS address listed on the I-901 at least 3 business days before the scheduled interview.
Once paid, the SEVIS fee is non-refundable, even if your visa is denied or, subsequent to issuance of the visa, you choose not to come to the United States. If you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not be required to pay the fee again.
F-1 Visa Deadlines
The following deadlines apply specifically to F-1 international students:
• A student can remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days beyond the completion date of the program.
• A student can remain in the U.S. for 15 days beyond the date they withdraw from the program.
• A student must notify the Student Services office within 21 days of a change of name or address.