Important Information about Your VISA

The first place to start is to read the information from the U.S. Government Homeland Security website very carefully and thoroughly.

Once Millikin has received your confirmation and your deposit, you will be issued an I-20 form to enable you to apply for your student visa.

Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. This will normally be your home country, or the country in which you live. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

You will need the following when applying at the consulate for your student visa:

  • A non-refundable application fee. This means that if your visa does not get approved, you will not get your money back.
  • An Application Form DS-156, completed and signed. These forms are free at all U.S. consular offices.
  • A DS-157 form for all males aged 16-45.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.
  • One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
  • For the "F" applicant, a Form I-20A-B. This form shows that you have been admitted into a U.S. college, university or other institution.
  • Proof of financial support

Special note about student visas

When applying for a student visa, you will have to prove to the consular officer that you have strong ties to a residence in a foreign country, which will likely will be your home country, that you have every intention of returning to your home country, and that you will leave the United States when you have completed your studies.

You should take as much evidence as possible to show that you have ties to your home country. Such evidence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Ownership of property
  • Proof of immediate family that is still based in your home country such as your parents, brothers, sisters
  • Evidence of a mortgage payment
  • Letter from a future employer stating that you have a job offer when returning home
  • Assets, a car or anything else that can show that your intention is to return to your home country

Preparing for your visa interview

  • Make sure that you complete the Form DS-160 before the interview for your U.S. student visa.
  • After completing Form DS-160, print out the confirmation page with the barcode on a laser printer.
  • Then, pay the visa application fee (please check how on the visa information website from the U.S. government in your home country). Save the receipt from the payment.
  • Make sure that you have the I-120 form, which is a form issued by Millikin University for affirming enrollment, and you should make sure to pay the I-901 fee online through the U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement website. Save the receipt.
  • Finally, make an appointment for a U.S.A. student visa interview.

If you are already in the U.S. and need to change your visa status prior to the beginning of your academic program, please contact the Center for International Education (CIE) as soon as possible. This process is lengthy and could take 3-5 months if submitting a change of status application within the U.S. If your change of status application is not approved prior to the beginning of the semester, this could affect your ability to begin your studies or start your on-campus employment.

Relevant websites and resources

Immigration Information

Keys to Maintaining Your Status

As an international student, it is important to follow certain rules pertaining to your F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant status. Here is a list of things that you can do to help maintain your status:

  • Do not let your immigration documents expire: Look for the expiration date noted on your I-20 or DS-2019. If you cannot complete your studies by that date, you must request an extension of your document before it expires. The application materials for F-1 and J-1 program extension are available at CIE.
  • Keep your passport valid: As is the case with your immigration documents, you should keep your passport valid at all times. Contact your home country consulate or embassy for information on extending the validity of your passport.
  • Register for a full course of study: In general, you should plan to register for 12 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters. Summer registration is optional, unless you begin or end your studies during the summer.
  • Do not work without authorization: You must always secure permission to work, even for jobs at Millikin University. Check out our web pages for more information on F-1 or J-1 employment rules.
  • Work no more than a total of 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters: In some instances, you may be eligible to work more than 20 hours per week. However, you should consult with a CIE staff member for more information.
  • Update your home address no later than 10 days after moving: Please note that you must provide the address where you live - no P.O. boxes or office addresses!
  • Follow transfer procedures if you plan to begin a new program of study, change field of study, or attend a different school
  • Consult with a staff member at the CIE prior to the change in order to determine what you must do.

Please contact the CIE if you have any questions about maintaining your status.