Step 3: Apply for Your F-1 Student Visa

In your admission packet, we enclosed important information about how to apply for an F-1 student visa to enter the U.S. and begin your program at USF. Please review the information on this page and the Visa Information page.

Your F-1 student visa will be issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Citizens of Canada, Bermuda, or the Bahamas do not need a visa. 

  • International students living outside of the U.S.
    Your Form I-20 and the instructions on how to apply for your F-1 student visa will be issued shortly after you have:
    1. Submitted a non-refundable enrollment deposit AND
    2. Confirmed your mailing address in your Applicant Status Page. Please let us know ASAP if there are any errors by emailing your admission counselor or International students are required to report any change in address (local or permanent) to USF for immigration purposes. Your local address must be inside the U.S., and your permanent residence address must be outside the U.S.
  • International students already studying in the U.S.
    If you are an international student already studying in the U.S. with an F-1 student visa, your USF I-20 will be issued after:
    1. You have submitted a non-refundable enrollment deposit AND
    2. Your SEVIS record has been transferred to USF. This means that you must request that your previous institution release your SEVIS record to USF. Learn more about the transfer process. You will also need to confirm your mailing address in your Applicant Status page. Please provide the mailing address where you will be located when your current school transfers your record to USF.

Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security charges a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) I-901 fee. You must pay this fee before applying for an F-1 visa, even if you are a citizen of Canada, Bermuda, or the Bahamas. Please follow the instructions on the Visa Information page.

Apply for the F-1 Student Visa
Although the specific visa application process is different in each country (please check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country), you will generally need:

  • Current passport valid for travel to the United States (valid for at least six months)
  • One passport-style photograph
  • SEVIS I-901 fee and proof of payment
  • Online nonimmigrant visa application form (DS-160) and printed confirmation page
  • Proof of payment for the visa application processing fee ($160), paid through the U.S. Embassy or consulate in your country
  • Original USF Form I-20
  • Copy of your USF admission letter, academic letters, and test scores to show your acceptance to USF, academic preparation, qualifications, and English language proficiency
  • Certification of finances and supporting documents to show that you have sufficient funds to pay for your educational and living expenses for at least your first year in the U.S.

International Student and Scholar Services

Tel: +1 (415) 422-2654, Fax: +1 (415) 422-2412
Email:, Web: