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Applying for your Visa and Study in the USA

The USA has the world’s largest international student population, with over 800,000 choosing to broaden their education and life experience here.

We understand that choosing the University of Hartford among the thousands of higher education institutions to continue your studies is an important decision for you and your family; there are so many options and so many forms and applications to complete.  We also understand that applying for your student or scholar visa, the last step in this long process, may at first appear to be a daunting, complex and time-consuming experience.  It requires that you gather a number of documents, pay your SEVIS fee and schedule your interview. 

In summary, there are four basic steps that you must take to obtain your student visa:

STEP 1: Receive your Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status: either Form I-20 (for F visa) or Form DS-2019 (for J visa).

To apply for a visa, you must first have received a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 from the University of Hartford. The University is a SEVP approved institution authorized to enroll F-1 and J-1 students and scholars.

STEP 2: Pay the SEVIS fee

You must pay a SEVIS fee and fill out other visa applications forms prior to your visa interview. Go to the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website for complete information about paying your SEVIS fee. Follow the instructions carefully.

STEP 3: Complete the on-line Visa Application

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160Learn more about completing the DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.

STEP 4:Schedule an Interview

You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. 

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early; you may only apply 120 days prior to you arrival to begin school. Review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply:


For a complete review of the visa process go here and go here.

Check out this short video about the Visa Interview Process from EducationUSA. There are also a number a Podcasts available covering many topics including American culture, study in the classroom and more.


What do I do if my Visa was Denied!