How to Apply for Your Student Visa

Once you complete your application, you will be reviewed for admission and you can begin providing the materials needed for PSU to issue you an I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). Admission to PSU is required for us to issue an I-20. However, you can begin the process before you receive an admissions decision.

If you already have an I-20 from another U.S. institution, you will have to transfer your record to PSU. To initiate this process, submit your PSU admission letter to your current school advisor and fill out the Transfer Information Form and send it directly to PSU via email at Then follow the steps below to complete the visa transfer process.

1. Submit the Materials Listed Below

After we receive all the documents listed below, Admissions will begin reviewing your materials.

  • Immigration Information Form
  • A bank statement or letter showing enough money to cover the total estimated costs for one year of living, tuition, and fees.
    • For undergraduate applicants: please review the total estimated costs
    • For graduate applicants: please review the total estimated costs.
    • All bank letters and financial documents must include the following information:
      • the name of the bank;
      • the office (branch) where the statement was issued;
      • specific contact information for the bank branch;
      • the name of the account holder;
      • the type of account (must be checking or savings account);
      • amount in the account (in the currency in which it is held), and
      • date document was issued (must be issued no more than one year before the start of the first term of study; six months for students transferring to PSU from another US-based institution).
      • A certificate of deposit or fixed account must meet these requirements as well. In addition, bank letters for certificates of deposit or fixed accounts must include a maturity date of no later than the start date of your first academic term. If these accounts do not mature until after the start of your studies, then the statement must confirm that the accounts can be liquidated at any time and without penalty.
  • Statement of Support. The statement of support can be one of the following:
    • Statement of support signed by your financial sponsor
    • A letter from a sponsoring country, agency or individual

Submit Documents

Undergraduate and Postbaccalaureate Applicants: upload documents in your application portal

Graduate Applicants: submit documents via email to

2. PSU Issues You an I-20

For students outside the US or Canada, PSU typically ships I-20s by FedEx.  We are unfortunately unable to give or ship I-20s to anyone other than the student. You can also pick up your I-20 in person, but it can only be given to the person named on the I-20. Photo identification is required.

The following steps only apply to students who are not already in the United States

3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

Before you can schedule a visa interview, you must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Use the SEVIS ID# on the I-20 issued by PSU to pay the fee.

4. Submit Your Visa Application

Embassies and consulates will issue visas no more than 120 days before your program of study begins. You must submit the visa application (DS-160) and pay the fee before you can schedule your interview. If you have received an I-20 from Portland State University, you will apply for an F-1 student visa for Academic or Language Students. If you are coming through an academic exchange with a J visa, contact your advisor at your current institution.

5. Schedule an Interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate

In most countries, first-time student visa applicants are required to appear for an in-person interview. You should bring the following printed materials to your interview:

  • Admission Letter from PSU
  • Original I-20 issued by PSU
  • SEVIS I-901 Fee receipt
  • Completed Form DS-160
  • Passport valid for at least six months after you plan to enter the United States
  • Two 2-inch by 2-inch (5-cm by 5-cm) passport photos
  • Dependent Information and Documentation
  • Students with spouses will need to show an additional $12,204 in checking and savings accounts and an additional $5,944 for each child who will come as well.

Each embassy and consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas. Students should consult embassy websites or contact embassies directly for specific instructions.

6. Visa Approval and Issuance

Once you have your visa, you may enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program start date, as shown on your I-20.