Skip to Main Content

Immigration and Visas

F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate.

Status Maintenance

Once you receive acceptance to Lindenwood University, Office of International Students and Scholars will give you a document called a Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status." The Form I-20 is a paper record of your information in the database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Check your Form I-20 against your passport information to make sure that your name and date of birth (DOB) are correctly listed and spelled. If the information on your Form I-20 does not match the information on your passport, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars who sent you the Form I-20, and ask them to correct the information for you.

I-901 Payments

The regulation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency requires all prospective F-Students to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa.

Who has to pay the fee?

  • All prospective F-1 students from countries where a visa to travel to the United States is mandatory.
  • All prospective F-1 students from visa waiver countries (before seeking admission at a U.S. port of entry).
  • Any nonimmigrant in the United States applying for a change of nonimmigrant status to F-1 students (before applying for a change of nonimmigrant status).
  • An F-1 students applying for reinstatement of student status because of a violation of status (before applying with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).
  • An F-1 students who has been absent from the United States for more than five months and wishes to re-enter the United States to return for further study in the same course of study (before re-entry into the United States).

A dependent of an F-1 students who will be applying for an F-2 visa does not have to pay an I-901 SEVIS Fee.

How do i pay the I-901 fee?

A prospective F-1 Students with a country of citizenship or country of birth of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. All other prospective F-1 students also have the option to make a credit card payment on

To get a student visa, you must present proof of your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment at your visa interview. The printed confirmation will serve as proof of payment for the I-901 SEVIS Fee.

Visit to the Embassy

The Department of State issues visas at U.S. embassies and consulates. A visa allows you to travel to the United States for a specific purpose. To identify the U.S. embassy or consulate that is most convenient for you to visit, go to the website of the embassy or consulate and follow the instructions on the site to do the following:

  • Pay your visa fee
  • Obtain acceptable photographs
  • Complete your on-line DS 160 visa application
  • Schedule an appointment for your visa interview

You should make your appointment for your visa interview as soon as possible after receiving your Form I-20 and paying the I-901 SEVIS fee. When you come for your appointment, a consular official will electronically scan your fingerprints. You must bring the following documentation to the interview:

  • Form I-20 issued by Lindenwood University
  • Printed Form DS-160, “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application,” confirmation page
  • Passport valid for at least six months after you plan to enter the United States
  • Two-inch by two-inch photo of yourself (learn more about photo requirements)
  • Receipt for your $160 visa application fee payment
  • Receipt for your I-901 SEVIS fee payment

The visa interview is your opportunity to tell the consular officer about your plans while in the United States and what you will do when you have completed your studies. You should be prepared to show the following:

  • You have received acceptance to Lindenwood University. Your Form I-20 verifies this.
  • You have the financial ability to pay for school costs plus living expenses (the amount shown on Form I-20). You may want to bring copies of financial documents you provided to the Lindenwood University. These documents are evidence of the preparations you have made to finance your stay (e.g., bank statements).
  • You are prepared for the academic program in which you plan to enroll. You may want to bring copies of any standardized test scores, academic transcripts, diplomas or certificates from previous study you provided as part of your application to the school where you want to enroll.
  • Your stay in the United States is temporary (i.e., you are not permanently immigrating).
  • The interviewing official may be interested in how you intend to use the education you receive in the United States when you return home.

Words of caution

  • Proofread all of your travel-related documents (i.e., Form I-20, Form I-901 SEVIS fee receipt and visa) to ensure they are correct. Especially make sure your name and birth date are written exactly the same way on all of your documents. If you find an error in a document, have it corrected by Lindenwood University before you apply for the next document in the process.
  • Proofread your visa when the consular official returns your passport to you – mistakes in the visa information cannot be corrected once you travel. If you find a mistake in your biographical data or your visa type, contact the embassy or consulate to ask officials to correct the error.
  • Be skeptical of anyone who claims the ability either to provide a document that you need or to get you a visa other than as this guidance suggests. If you are deliberate and prepare carefully for each of these steps in obtaining travel authorization and F or M nonimmigrant student status, you can succeed by yourself!

For more information on submitting a student visa application, visit Travel.State.Gov, the official Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Student Visa Interview Tips

Preparing for your Student Visa Interview

This information is strictly for informative purposes only.  The visa decision is solely based on the interviewer’s opinion of the information you provide them.  The visa interview has personal and consequently unpredictable factors involved in whether your visa application gets accepted or rejected.

Consular officers would really like to see that applicants are honest.  They do not want anyone to stay illegally in the U.S.  

Interview Tips:
  1. Wear dress clothes. Make sure your appearance is clean and neat. The interviewing officer will always be an American (the interpreter if required may be local).  
  2. Arrive early. You don't want to miss your interview just because you got stuck in traffic.
  3. Candidates should greet the officer with a smile and a "good morning" or “good afternoon”, as soon as you enter the interview booth.
  4. Candidates should have a confident posture and look at the interviewing officer straight in the eyes throughout the interview.
  5. Be confident in your answers, whatever you say. Make short, clear, to-the-point replies, in a clear voice. Do not tell anything that is irrelevant or not asked. By mistake, you may give some unnecessary information that may lead to your rejection.
  6. Be polite, do not argue and do not ask unnecessary or unrelated questions. Do not unnecessarily elaborate your responses as this may not work in your favor.
  7. Demonstrate respect in your language even if you don't feel this is being reciprocated.
  8. Often times you might not understand what the interviewing officer is saying because of his/her American accent and/or the microphone system. If you do not understand one of their sentences do not feel afraid to say, 'beg your pardon; I did not understand you.'
  9. If you know English, it is preferable to have the interview in the English so that you and consular officer can understand the each other. Interpreters mess up sometimes.
  10. Consular officers are very smart in their profession. They can figure out true intentions of applicants most of the times because of their training and experience.
  11. Be honest during the interview and while preparing the documents. The consular officer is not your enemy and he is just doing his duty.
  12. Remember the purpose of the visa is to get your college degree.
  13. Always reply with correct answers. All data while applying for the visa and details of the answers given in your interview are computerized and maintained. If your visa is rejected once, you can't be changing your details the next time you go for an interview.
  14. Your appearance should convey who you are. If you are a student, you should look like a student. If you are an executive, you should look like an executive. Your body language should convey friendliness, but also that you are serious about your goal.

Documents to take with you to your Visa interview:

  • Passport
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • Photo (printed version)
  • Acceptance letter
  • Financial documents (bank statements, sponsor letter, etc.)
  • I-20 (signed)
  • Photos of your family
  • Program of study information (printed off from the school’s Website)


Consular Officer Didn't Look at Documents

Many people complain that the visa officer did not even ask any questions nor looked at any documents and rejected their application which is not fair at all. It is not like that in reality. Visa officers are experts in their profession and they are appointed in consulates in foreign countries after extensive training. Due to their vast experience, visa officers, many times, can figure out true intentions of applicants just by looking at them. They can even figure out whether information provided in the application and/or documents may be true or fake. They don't need to talk to applicants in many cases. You may be surprised to know what things they may know, such as the value of property in a given area, income/income tax ratios, and many other things.

Interview Outcome

If You Get the Visa:

You will need to leave your passport at the embassy to receive the visa stamp.  It can take up to 2 weeks to receive your passport back with the visa stamp.

Once you receive your passport, immediately go through all the information on the visa stamp very carefully. Make sure there are no typographical errors in your name, passport, number, date of birth, etc. written on the visa stamp. If there are any such errors, contact the visa application center to get it corrected. Even a small error is not tolerable as it can cause trouble later on, and should be corrected as soon as possible.

If You Don't Get the Visa:
  • That's not the end of the world! It doesn't change anything in life. Things continue to be as excellent as they were before.
  • You did your best. The rejection was solely due to a whim of the interviewing officer.
  • We can always apply a second time. Something to think about...

Notice of Availability of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

Lindenwood University is committed to assisting all members of the community in providing for their own safety and security. The annual security and fire safety report for the St. Charles campus is available on the Lindenwood University Office of Public Safety and Security website.

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report which contains this information, you can stop by the Office of Public Safety & Security on the 4th floor of the Spellmann Campus Center or you can request that a copy be mailed to you by calling (636) 949-4687.

The report contains information regarding campus security and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, public safety authority, crime reporting policies, fire safety, disciplinary procedures and other matters of importance related to security on campus. The report also contains information about fire statistics in Lindenwood Residential Facilities and crime statistics for the three previous calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Lindenwood; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.

This information is required by law and is provided by Office of Public Safety and Security.

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301