AFS-USA Community College Program students are enrolled through an F-1 visa facilitated by the community college via the I-20 form. Colleges have their own requirements for granting the I-20 form and students will need to provide this information during the application process.

In many cases, the college will require a bank statement showing that the student has at least US$2500 in personal spending money.  Students may want to include the bank statement with their application to save time if the college requests it.

The Form I-20 (also known as the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students) is a United States Department of Homeland Security, specifically ICE and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP), document issued by SEVP-certified schools (colleges, universities, and vocational schools) that provides supporting information on a student's F or M status.

Since the introduction of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) run by SEVP, the I-20 form also includes the student tracking number (SEVIS ID number) and school code. The Form I-20 is only for F-1, F-2, M-1, and M-2 statuses. J-1 and J-2 status holders have an equivalent Form DS-2019 which is issued by a United States Department of State-designated J exchange visitor program.

F-1 Visa Instructions

These instructions will assist students with applying for the F-1 visa at the US Embassy.

Gather your documents! You will need a copy of your AFS Application as well as the following items:

Pay the SEVIS Fee. Start this step AFTER receiving the admissions package and the I-20 from the Community College. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) collects a US$ 200 fee from international students to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

After receiving your Admissions Packet from the Community College with the SEVIS I-20 Form and paid your SEVIS fee, you are ready to apply for the F-1 visa.

Prepare for your Interview

Bring the following documents to your visa interview:

Optional documents that you may wish to have with you:

Other recommendations:

Sample Questions

If your visa is denied, you may want to re-apply. Often, F-1 visas are denied because the consular officer is not convinced that the applicant is a non-immigrant whose purpose for coming is to study and then return home. Make sure that your statements clearly indicate that you plan to return home.

After your interview – make sure to contact AFS and let them know the results of the visa interview!  We have to let your Community College know the results of the interview.