The F1 Visa

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					                                                             F-1 VISA APPLICATION FACT SHEET


APPLYING FOR F-1 VISA
With your I-20, you may apply for an F-1 student visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate up to 4 months prior to the “Report Date”
listed in item #5 of the I-20. Below is a general overview of the visa application process:
     Locate the nearest U.S. Consulate: http://usembassy.state.gov
     Schedule a visa appointment (it may take several weeks to secure an appointment at the nearest U.S. Consulate)
     Check visa wait times: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/tempvisitors_wait.php
           Prepare for possible delays. Incoming Caltech students are sometimes subjected to additional administrative processing
           at the Consulates that could delay visa acquisition. Apply early to allow sufficient time for processing.
     Always check the Consulate’s website to learn about visa application procedures and documentation prior to your scheduled
     appointment. At a minimum, be prepared to present the following at your visa appointment:
           Letter from Caltech, indicating admission, length of study, and Caltech funding (if applicable)
           I-20 issued by Caltech
           Passport
           SEVIS Fee Receipt - proof of SEVIS I-901 Fee payment
                Pay the $200 SEVIS Fee online: https://www.fmjfee.com/index.jhtml. If you previously visited the U.S. in F-1 status,
                you may not need to pay the SEVIS Fee. View exemptions at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq3.htm.
           Proof of financial support (as listed in item #8 of the I-20)
                This may include personal bank statements, a letter from the home government or sponsoring agency, and/or a
                letter from the Caltech Graduate Office or Financial Aid (if applicable).
     Visa application forms are available at the Consulate or online at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi_forms.html.
     Length of visa validity may be for either the duration of the I-20 (listed in item #5) or for the amount of time allowed by
     the U.S. Department of State’s Reciprocity Table: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3272.html.

TRAVEL TO THE U.S.
By law, you may enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the Report Date but no later than this date. If you plan to enter the U.S.
more than 30 days prior to the Report Date or any time after the Report Date, please contact an ISP advisor for assistance.

TRANSIT VISA
If you have any stops or layovers in other countries while traveling to the U.S., please be aware that you are responsible for
any transit visa requirements or restrictions that might impact your travel through those countries. For more information about
visas and transit restrictions, visit the appropriate consulate websites for the countries in which you are traveling.

DEPENDENTS
If you will bring one or more dependents (spouse or children) to Caltech, a separate I-20 will be issued, at your request, for
each dependent. It may be easier for your dependent(s) to apply for the F-2 visa at the time when you apply for the F-1 visa.
Be prepared to show evidence of financial support to cover dependent expenses for the length of your program or for a 12-
month period, whichever is shorter. Caltech requires that you provide adequate health insurance for all dependents.

ARRIVAL
When you arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or other U.S. port of entry, an immigration official will review
your documents and grant entry to the U.S. in F-1 status, by stamping the I-20 and I-94 Arrival/Departure Card (provided to
you upon arrival) with the notation “F-1 D/S.” You then collect your luggage and proceed through the Customs inspection.
http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/travel/id_visa/study_exchange/student_visit_prog.ctt/student_visit_prog.doc.

Taxis ($50-$80 cash) and shared van shuttles ($17-$25) are available at Ground Transportation Centers located outside of the
Baggage Claim area. Shuttle services to Pasadena, include:
    Super Shuttle         (626) 443-6600 http://www.supershuttle.com
    Prime Time Shuttle    (800) 733-8267 www.primetimeshuttle.com
    Roadrunner            (800) 247-7919 www.rrshuttle.com


        California Institute of Technology | International Student Programs | MC 250-86 | tel: 626.395.6330 | e: isp@caltech.edu

				
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