Applying for a Visa
International students may attend UTSA using one of many types of U.S. visas.
The two most common visas are the student F and J. To receive an F-1 or J-1 student visa, a student needs to have a form I-20 (for F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visa).
UTSA can issue both the I-20 and the DS-2019 with the proper documentation. Talk to an international student advisor for more information.
Once a new student outside the United States has the I-20 or DS-2019, he/she can apply for a student visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. These websites offer tips on how to apply:
1/20 or DS-2019 Mailing Options
Documents will be mailed using regular U.S. Postal Service mail unless the student requests the Office of International Programs International Student Services use eShip Global. Using this express mail service is at your expense. Your credit card will be charged. There is a 15 to 30% discount on shipping by using EShipGlobal. This discount varies by country.
You will need:
- Your UTSA ID number (begins with the @ symbol and is located in your admissions letter)
- Your mailing address
- E-mail address
- Phone number
- Credit card information
You may request shipment either to your foreign address or to a U.S. contact address. If you have your I-20 or DS-2019 sent to a U.S. address, please include the name of the person who lives at that address.
If you experience any difficulty in registering and processing the shipment, please use the “Help” link in the site for instructions.
If you use eShipGlobal, e-mail the Office of International Programs to not mail your I-20 by U.S. Postal Service airmail.
All student applicants must have a SEVIS-generated I-20 issued by an educational institution approved by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which they submit when they are applying for their student visa.
The consular officer will need to verify your I-20 record electronically through the SEVIS system in order to process your student visa application. Unless otherwise exempt, participants whose SEVIS I-20 was issued on or after September 1, 2004, must pay a SEVIS I-901 Fee to the Department of Homeland Security for each individual program.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website information on SEVIS and the fees.
Be sure to pay the SEVIS fee at least 3 days before the visa appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The visa application requires proof of the payment, the SEVIS identification number to which the fee was paid.
Schedule an Embassy or Consulate Appointment
Once you have your I-20 or DS-2019 and a receipt showing payment of your SEVIS fee, you should schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
The U.S. Department of State lists typical wait times at embassies and consulates worldwide. It also explains how long it may take to process a visa at your location.
Not sure what to expect during your interview?
Special Visa Processing Procedures
- The U.S. Department of State has special procedures in place for student visa holders coming from countries designated as State Sponsors of Terrorism.
- All applicants from State Sponsors of Terrorism countries age 16 and over must appear for an interview with a consular officer.
- U.S. Department of State’s Frequently Asked Questions from visa applicants from State Sponsors of Terrorism Countries