Tompkins Cortland Community College


Getting Your Student Visa

Checking your I-20

  • Check your date of birth, name, and other personal information for accuracy
  • Sign at the bottom where it says your name and date
  • Make a copy of this for your records to leave at home with a family member along with a copy of your passport

Paying your SEVIS fee

  1. Go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website
  2. Click on “Proceed to I-901 Form and Payment”
  3. Scroll to the bottom and chose “I-20” and “OK”
  4. Fill in this form as it appears on your I-20- your N Number is in the upper right corner of your I-20 “N000…”
  5. Fill in your credit card information for the $200 fee
  6. Print out your receipt for your embassy appointment
  • Make an appointment with your local U.S. Consulate Office.
  • Prepare yourself for your interview with the information below.

What to take with you to the consulate

  • Passport (make sure this is valid- not expired, and will cover you for six months AFTER your I-20 completion of study date)
  • Photograph (just like your first embassy visit- you will need to take a new photo for your travel visa stamp/sticker)
  • Form I-901 SEVIS payment confirmation statement
  • Form I-20 (ALL copies)
  • Letter of Acceptance, Invitation or Welcome depending on if you are coming as a student, faculty or visitor
  • Financial documentation that you can pay for the courses, housing and travel for the study abroad experience
  • Proof that you intend to return to your home country (bank statements showing money that you have invested, property that you have, job opportunities, family ties, etc)
  • May also be wise to carry a copy of your birth certificate- this depends on your country of residence- some countries are much more strict when it comes to proving who you are
  • If you are RENEWING your travel visa: Copy of your current unofficial transcript- showing that you did what you were supposed to do on your last I-20, and then it will also show your enrolled courses for the new I-20)

Preparing for your Interview

Make sure in English, you speak through the following questions before your interview:

  • Your plans after graduation from Tompkins Cortland
  • Why you are coming to Tompkins Cortland
    • your major/focus in high school or your home institution and what you will be taking at Tompkins Cortland
    • why Tompkins Cortland is the school for you
    • what you hope to gain with your studies to improve your home country
  • If you are intending on taking advantage of OPT (optional practical training- for returning graduates only), DO NOT highlight this desire- they will then believe you are trying to come to the US for the work opportunity, not the education, which is not the purpose of the F-1 visa status

When you arrive at or return to Tompkins Cortland

Check in with the Global office IMMEDIATELY- and arrive to campus by orientation (two days before the start of classes)

  • Make sure the global office has copies of your most recently stamped I-20, passport visa stamp/sticker, and then both sides of your I-94 entry record.
  • If you have a degree program change or address change- make sure to report this within 10 days to the global office.
  • If you need to take less than a full-time course load- BEFORE you do this, complete paperwork with the global office.
  • If you are taking online courses as your full-time course load, make sure you are enrolled in a MINIMUM of 9 credits of in-class work to remain compliant.
  • If you are intending on working ON CAMPUS during your time here, check in with the global office BEFORE you begin work to ensure proper processing for your Social Security card – your employer can contact the global office for details and the check list.

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