Step 3: Apply for Your F-1 Student Visa

You will need an F-1 student visa if you intend to take classes in person on campus. If you will not be traveling to the United States, you do not need to apply for a student visa, and you can skip this step. We'll communicate a final decision about the spring 2021 semester as soon as possible.

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. 

  • If you an international student living outside of the U.S., your USF form I-20 will be sent to you after you have submitted your enrollment deposit (Step 1). Please check your form I-20 when you receive it and let us know if there are any errors immediately by emailing your admission counselor or
  • 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 once your SEVIS record has been released to USF and you have submitted a non-refundable enrollment deposit (Step 1). Learn more about transferring your SEVIS 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. You must show the receipt of payment when you enter the U.S. For instructions on how to pay this fee, please visit the Department of Homeland Security.

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 ($200) 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.

For more information, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services Visa Information page and Transferring to USF page.


International Student and Scholar Services

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