Step 1: The I-20 and F-1
All international students wishing to study in the United States are required to obtain an F-1 student visa. The I-20 form is a document on which Columbia College certifies that you are eligible for F-1 student status. In order to obtain this document, you must be accepted for a full course of study and demonstrate that you have enough money to pay your tuition and live in the United States for one academic year.
In order to obtain the I-20 you must:
- Submit the Application for I-20 to CCH.
- Provide a bank statement showing sufficient funds to cover expenses.
- If funds are provided by a Sponsor (parents, government, friends, relatives, organizations), they must submit the Sponsor’s Affidavit of Annual Financial Support. Sponsors must also submit supporting documentation proving ability to provide the promised support.
- Make an advance payment of one quarter’s tuition in the amount of $6,360.00. If you will be residing in CCH housing, the amount will be increased by your housing fees. Payment may be made by Wire Transfer, Credit Card or Telephone ACH. Wire Transfer Instructions. Credit Card Authorization Form.
- Once all documentation has been sent and payment received, your I-20 will be issued.
Step Two: Schedule the Visa Interview
Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your area and follow their instructions to schedule an interview. A list of U.S. Consulates can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov.
It is important to apply for your student visa as far in advance as possible. Follow the instructions provided by the Consulate which include 1) completing the Visa application forms and 2) paying the visa application fee.
Step Three: Pay the SEVIS Fee
SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is a web-based Immigration system for maintaining information on international students. Your Form I-20 is issued in the SEVIS system. All students receiving an I-20 must pay the $200 USD SEVIS Fee (I-901). The I-901 Form and instructions for paying this fee will be sent with your I-20.
Please note: It is easiest to pay your SEVIS fee via the Internet by visiting http://www.fmjfee.com and using a major credit card. If you choose to pay by check, the funds must be drawn on a U.S. bank and can take longer to process.
Once you pay the fee, be sure to save the receipt. You must have the receipt when you have you visit the Consulate and when you enter the United States.
Step Four: The Visa Interview
Here is a checklist of all documents you need to prepare and bring to your visa interview:
- Valid passport
- Form I-20
- Originals of supporting documentation including Sponsor’s Affidavit and Sponsor’s supporting documents showing ability to pay
- Letter of Acceptance from Columbia College Hollywood
- Completed Visa Application Forms
- Receipt for Visa Application Fee
- Receipt for SEVIS Fee
- Any further information required by the U.S. Consulate
Information, instructions and requirements provided by individual Consulates should be followed to the best of your ability and their instructions given priority over instructions provided by Columbia College Hollywood.
Step Five: Report to Columbia College Hollywood on Assigned Registration days
After receiving your F-1 Student Visa, you may enter the U.S. up to thirty (30) days before your starting date on your I-20, but no later than the starting date. Contact us immediately if you require a change in your start date.
Your proof of entry and it shows that you have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. All non-immigrants are assigned an I-94 number upon entry to the US. Students can access their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record from the CBP website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.govCanadian Students
Canadian students are not required to visit a U.S. Consulate to obtain an F-1 Student Visa. You may enter the U.S. using the Form I-20, supporting documents and your passport. You will still receive an I-94 and be sure to retain this.
If you are currently attending a different institution and already have been issued an I-20, you must complete the Intent To Transfer Form and have your current school transfer your SEVIS record to Columbia College Hollywood. You are still required to submit the CCH Application for I-20, supporting financial documents, and Sponsor’s Affidavit in order to be issued a new I-20 from CCH. Please consult with your CCH Admissions Representative for further instructions regarding transferring.