F-1 Student Visa
This page provides information on how to obtain an F-1 student visa. Visit this page to learn how to apply for a Lesley degree program, and our International Student Exchange page if you plan to study here as an exchange student.
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. Please note that while the university remains remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot issue I-20s for students who are outside of the US, although we can create I-20s for students who are in the US and transferring in from other institutions. We will resume I-20 processing when we announce a return to in-person operations.
Once you're accepted into your program, our 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 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.
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 $350 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
- 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 email@example.com 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.