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Immigration, Visa Interviews, and Entering the USA

Congratulations, you have been accepted to Fontbonne University and you have your I-20!

Here is what you need to know and complete now.

Prepare for the Visa Interview

Schedule Your Visa Interview Preparation Session with the Office of International Affairs.

Contact for information on how to schedule this very important session

Sessions are available via Phone, Skype, WeChat, and WhatsApp.

Before Your Visa Interview

Review your I-20 form for accuracy

To avoid problems in obtaining your visa and entering the United States, ensure that the name printed on your I-20 is written exactly as it is shown in your passport.

  1. Make sure all names are spelled correctly and in the correct order
  2. Make sure your Date of Birth is correct and in the correct order
  3. Make sure your country of birth and citizenship are correct
  4. Make sure your education level is correct
  5. Make sure your major is correct
  6. Read Page 3 of your I-20

If you find any mistakes, contact the Office of International Affairs immediately at

Read and Review your Acceptance Letter

Read this letter carefully, many questions will be answered in the letter

Pay Mandatory I-901 SEVIS Fee

  1. The SEVIS fee is a required United States Federal Government fee that must be paid by students and exchange visitors before applying for an F-1 Visa.
  2. You may pay the fee after you have received your I-20 from Fontbonne University.
  3. Refer to this page for detailed instructions on paying the fee.
  4. Print the payment confirmation and keep it with your I-20.
  5. If you have any questions about the I-901 SEVIS fee, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page here.

Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

  1. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a non-immigrant visa.
  2. Refer to this page to access the online application
  3. Print the confirmation page when you are finished and keep it with your I-20
  4. If you have any questions about the DS-160 Online Non-immigrant Visa Application, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page here.

Pay Visa Fees

Refer to this page for information about Visa Fees

Locate the nearest United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country

Refer to this page to access the list of the United States Embassy or Consulate nearest to you

Schedule Visa Interview Appointment

  1. Your local embassy or consulate will have specific instructions for scheduling an appointment.
  2. Waiting times for an appointment can be lengthy.
  3. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible after receiving your I-20 and have paid your fees.
  4. Refer to this page for information about the F-1 Visa Application Process

Prepare Documents for Visa Interview Appointment

  1.  I-20 from Fontbonne University
  2.  Passport – Valid for more than 6 months past your planned date of entry into the United States
  3.  Admission Letter from Fontbonne University
  4.  I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Printed Receipt
  5.  DS-160 Application Printed Confirmation Page
  6.  Proof of Financial Support for at least one year issued within the past 3 months
  7.  Photo
    • You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160.
    • Refer to this page for Photograph Requirements
  8. Transcripts, diplomas, degrees or certificates from schools you have attended
  9. English Test Scores – Example:  TOEFL, or IETLS
  10. Standardized test scores required for admission to your program of study (if applicable) – Example:  GRE, GMAT
  11. Any documents requested by embassy/consulate – Please see the U.S. embassy website for your country to see if additional documents are required when you schedule your visa appointment.

Prepare for the Visa Interview

Schedule Your Visa Interview Preparation Session with the Office of International Affairs

Read Advice from the Department of Homeland Security’s “Study in the States” Blog

Refer to this page for advice from the Department of Homeland Security’s “Study in the States” Blog

Guidance for Your Visa Interview

  1. Demonstrate Strong Ties to Your Home Country
    • You must be able to demonstrate that you have reasons for returning to your home country after you complete your program of study that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States.
  2. Speak For Yourself and Plan To Answer Questions in English
    • Do NOT bring parents, spouses, or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. Only dependents who are applying for F-2 visas should accompany you.
  3. Know Your Program of Study and Major
    • If you are not able to explain the reasons why you want to study in a particular program and major at Fontbonne University, you will not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are planning to study
  4. Know Fontbonne University and Saint Louis
    • Learn everything you can about Fontbonne University and Saint Louis and be prepared to answer questions about Fontbonne, Saint Louis, and why you wish to study here
  5. Know Your Career Plans and Intentions After Your Program Completes
    • You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program and what you plan to do with the knowledge you obtained when you return to your Home Country
  6. Be Brief and Concise in your Answers
    • Keep your answers to the Consular Officer’s questions short and to the point.
  7. Maintain a Positive and Respectful Attitude
    • Be Brave
    • Be Polite
    • Be Respectful
    • Do not engage the Consular Officer in an argument

After the Visa Interview

Visa Approval

If your visa is approved please do the following things:

  1. RSVP – Let the Office of International Affairs at Fontbonne University Know You Are Coming
    • If you are approved, please let us know you are coming by completing the Online RSVP form
  2. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have the F-1 Visa.
  3. Make sure you have an onward ticket to Saint Louis from your US Port of Entry Airport or you may be denied entry into the United States.
  4. Make two sets of copies of important documents, such as your passport and your visa.
    • Leave one set of copies with a trusted person at home and bring an extra copy with you.
  5. Fill any necessary prescription medications before departing home country.
  6. Gather all immunization / vaccination records or prepare to have immunizations in the United States
  7. Reconfirm flight with airline at least 48 hours in advance.
  8. Make sure you arrive to Saint Louis BEFORE Tuesday, August 18, 2020 but no more than 30 days prior to that date.
  9. Check baggage weight limits with your airline to avoid excess baggage fees

Visa Denial

If your visa is denied, ask the Consular Official to provide a written explanation of the denial, and then contact the Office of International Affairs at for assistance.

Do not engage the consular officer in an argument.


Entering the United States of America


  1. Make sure you have an onward ticket to Saint Louis from your Port of Entry Airport or you may be denied entry into the United States.
  2. When you arrive at your Port of Entry (POE) airport you will need to hand carry the following documents for the Customs and Border Protection Officer:
    • Your passport with F-1 Visa securely in the passport book
    • Form I-20 signed and dated in Blue Ink
    • I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt
    • Fontbonne University Acceptance letter
    • Proof of Financial Support for at least one year issued within the past 3 months
    • Contact information of a Designated School Officer at Fontbonne University

Jessica Lynn Hylton, MA

Fontbonne University
Assistant Director of International Advising
Designated School Official
6800 Wydown Boulevard Saint Louis, MO 63105

Business Hours:  (+1)-314-889-4655
Non-Business Hours:  (+1)-314-889-4596 ( Fontbonne University Public Safety)

Arrival and Applying for Entry into the United States

  1. Refer to this page for information on what to expect at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  2. Be prepared to answer questions, be brief and concise in your answers
  3. The USCBP Officer will ask you a few questions, be open and honest in your answers
  4. Please view this video in preparation for your entry into the United States, Welcome to the United States
  5. When you leave the inspection area, make certain you have all of your immigration documents in your possession.

If you enter the U.S. with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or under a visa waiver program that your country has with the U.S., you cannot attend school. Make certain you enter the United States on your F-1 Visa!

Contact Us

Questions? Contact the International Affairs office at


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