Getting a Visa

International students need to contact the nearest U.S. Consular Post to arrange a visa appointment. If you are coming to the University of Nevada, Reno on F-1or J-1 student visa, you cannot enter the country more than 30 days before the start date of your program. Please refer to #5 on the I-20 form or #3 on the DS-2019 form. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F1 visa applicants to pay a one-time Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee of $200; J1visa applicants pay $180. This is an additional fee besides the visa application fee and must be paid at least 3 business days prior to applying for a visa. Visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) SEVIS I-901 fee processing website to pay your fee.

To be granted a visa to enter the United States, you will need to take the following items to your appointment:

  • The admission documents and proof of financial support for your first year of study including Graduate Assistantship offer letter if applicable. The I-20 or DS-2019 form must be signed in an appropriate place by the student and then submitted to the U.S. Consulate.
  • Documents indicating the intention to return to your home country (letters showing strong family ties, property ownership, bank accounts, employment). Please refer to 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa.
  • Any previous I-20s or DS-2019s that you may have had.
  • Documentation for family dependents listed on the I-20 (F-2 dependents) or DS-2019 (J-2 dependents).

For more information on visa procedures and consulates, visit the U.S. Department of State's Visa page.

Please note that citizens of Canada are exempt from the visa requirement but they must pay the SEVIS fee prior to crossing the port of entry to the U.S. They apply for admission to the U.S. at the port of entry by presenting an I-20 form, proof of funding, payment of SEVIS I-901 fee, and passport or citizenship card to the immigration officer.

The I-20 or DS-2019 form together with a passport must be presented to the immigration officer upon arrival at the U.S. port of entry to be admitted to the U.S. Do NOT enter the U.S. on another school's I-20 or DS-2019.

Plan to arrive on campus on the designated date. We recommend that international undergraduate students arrive at least one week before school starts. International graduate students need to check on the arrival date with their academic departments which may require an earlier arrival. Students can arrive 30 days prior to the start date indicated on the I-20 or DS-2019 form. The OISS is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm all year long. We are closed on Saturday and Sunday. If you wish to live on campus, apply for residence hall accommodations promptly.

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