Visa Information for International Students

F-1 Student Visa

All international students -- whether you're enrolled in a campus-based or low-residency program, studying here as an exchange student, coming from your home country, or transferring from another school within the United States -- need an F-1 student visa to study at Lesley University.

Our International Student Services (ISS) Office is here to help you apply for your visa as well as help you to prepare for your studies at Lesley and to acclimate to campus once your arrive.

Once you're accepted into your program, our ISS team will contact you with guidance on how to apply for an F-1 student visa, in five easy steps:

  • Step 1: Complete an Immigration and Financial Declaration Form

    The Immigration and Financial Declaration Form (PDF) asks proof that you have the funds to pay tuition, fees, and living expenses for one year of your education, or for period of residency or exchange program. We’ll send you an Estimate of Expenses so you can complete the application.

    Email the form to us at iss@lesley.edu with the necessary documentation. We’ll use this information to create your I-20. This takes about one week. We’ll email you shipping instructions and then send your I-20 to you. Review it and let us know if there are errors. When you are sure it's correct, sign and date the bottom of the first page.

  • Step 2: Pay the $200 I-901 SEVIS fee

    The Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is the database where your I-20 is created. You must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee when a new SEVIS record is created for you. Pay the fee online at least 3 days before your visa interview. Print out a copy of your receipt.

  • Step 3: Schedule an F-1 Student Visa appointment

    Book your appointment for an F-1 Student Visa at the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.

    Complete form DS-160 and pay $160 to make your appointment. Print out the DS-160 confirmation page and your $160 payment receipt.

  • Step 4: Have your visa interview

    Take these items to your visa appointment:

    • Your Lesley I-20
    • DS-160 confirmation page and payment receipt
    • Passport
    • 2 passport-sized photos
    • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt
    • Letter of acceptance from Lesley University
    • Proof of financial support


    Your interview will be brief, and in English. It's important to establish "non-immigrant intent" in your interview—this means that you have clear plans to return to your home country after you complete your academic program. If your visa is denied, politely ask for a written explanation. Email us at iss@lesley.edu for help.

  • Step 5: Enter the U.S. up to 30 days before your program starts

    Enter the U.S. up to 30 days before the program start date indicated in the "Program of Study" section on the first page of your I-20.

    Carry your I-20 and passport with you in your carry-on luggage. Show your F-1 visa and your I-20 to the border agent when you enter the U.S. The border agent may ask to see your Lesley acceptance letter and your proof of finances, too, so keep those handy.

International Students Transferring in from another School

Complete this Transfer-In Form (PDF) if you are transferring to Lesley University from another institution in the U.S.

Complete the top of the Transfer-In Form and have your international student advisor complete the bottom of the form. Send the form to International Student Services at iss@lesley.edu. We’ll use your Transfer-In form, and other immigration documents, to create your Transfer Form I-20.

Low-Residency Students

In a low-residency program, students come to the U.S. for 7–10 days at a time, then complete work from home between semesters.

If you’re enrolled in a low-residency graduate program, you’ll need to apply for a new I-20, pay a new SEVIS fee, and obtain a new F-1 Student Visa before each residency even if your current F-1 Student Visa has not expired.

At least three months before each time you come to the U.S. for your residency:

  1. Complete the Immigration and Financial Declaration Form (PDF) and send it to International Students Services at iss@lesley.edu with the requested documentation.
  2. Pay the $200 SEVIS fee online.
  3. Obtain a new F-1 Student Visa

Incoming Exchange Students

Visit our International Student Exchange page for information on how to apply for a semester or year of study with us. 

Contact International Student Services