Support for International Students
International Students at McDaniel are provided a wealth of support during their time “on the Hill”. Here are a few links to show you what's happening on campus and around Westminster, MD.
- Office of Global Initiatives
- Westminster and the Region
- Walk around Westminster
- What’s Happening at McDaniel
F-1 Visa Application Process
Step 1: Read your SEVIS Form I-20
Your SEVIS Form I-20 indicates that we have created a record for you in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Your assigned SEVIS ID number is in the upper-right-corner of page 1 of your SEVIS Form I-20. If any information on your SEVIS Form I-20 is incorrect, contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office.
Step 2: Make Sure Your Passport is Valid
In order to avoid possible problems applying for a visa or entering the U.S., it is recommended that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you intend to remain in the U.S.
Step 3: Pay the SEVIS Fee
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now requiring proof of payment of the SEVIS fee before issuing a visa or approving any benefits of status. This fee must be paid by new F-1 students. While immigration regulations indicate that the fee should be paid a minimum of three business days prior to a visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, we suggest that students pay the fee as soon as they receive the Form I-20 to allow sufficient time for DHS to update the fee payment in the student’s electronic SEVIS record. Please refer to the Student and Exchange Visitor website for more information.
To Pay the SEVIS Fee Online
- Log onto the following website: https://www.fmjfee.com/index.html and follow instructions.
- Complete the Form I-901 online
- Submit the electronic Form I-901 and electronic payment.
- Print a copy of the online receipt to use as temporary proof of payment until you receive the Form I-797 receipt.
- A formal Form I-797 receipt notice should be issued within three days from date of payment. It will be sent to the address you
- indicated on Form I-901. Be sure to make copies of your receipt, and
- keep the original with your other important immigration documents.
Note: The SEVIS Fee is not the same as the visa fee and is non-refundable. However, if your F-1 visa application is denied by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you will not be required to pay a new SEVIS fee if you reapply for a new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial.
Step 4: Obtain a valid F-1 Visa
Citizens of all countries, except citizens of Canada and Bermuda, are required to have F-1 visas to enter the U.S. to study. You must contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to initiate your visa application. Most Consular Posts will process an application 120 days prior to the start date of the academic program listed on your SEVIS Form I-20. Please refer to the following U.S. Department of State (USDOS) for more information.
- A completed application--Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157. The DS-156 must be the March 2006 date, electronic "e-form application." Select Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 to access the electronic version of the form DS-156.
- Important Notice: At certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, nonimmigrant visa applicants are now required to apply for their visa using the new DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, instead of the nonimmigrant application forms DS-156, 157, 158, and other related forms.
- Original financial documents proving the availability of sufficient funds, as reflected on your SEVIS Form I-20, anddocuments indicating that you intend to return home after your studies
- Letter confirming admission to McDaniel College
- The SEVIS Form I-901 or Form I-797 fee receipt
- Visa fee receipt to show payment of the visa application fee (MRV fee)
- SEVIS Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status from McDaniel College
- Pay visa application fee.
- One 2 x 2 "passport" size photograph.
- All applicants should be prepared to provide:
- Registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.
- You or your sponsor own a business, please bring business
- You or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If
- Living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
- All visa applicants are now required to schedule an appointment for an interview. Please keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to schedule an appointment, so you should initiate your visa application as early as possible.
- If a visa application is denied, it is difficult to get the Consulate to change its decision. For this reason, it is important that you arrive at your appointment with the best and most complete supporting information. If your visa is denied, we suggest that you ask for the reason for the denial and request a reason in writing if possible.
Step 5: Travel to the U.S.
Once you have obtained your F-1 visa, you are ready to travel to the United States. Immigration regulations allow you to enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days prior to the start of your program indicated in section 5 of your SEVIS Form I-20. You must carry with you items 4-9 listed in Step 4. Place these documents in a folder or envelope that you will have with you at all times during your travel. During your trip to, or upon your arrival in the U.S. you will be given a form called Arrival Record/Departure Record (Form I-94). Using a pen, print the information requested on this form, making certain to spell your name exactly as it is spelled in your passport.
Step 6: Apply for “entry” to the U.S. (Port of Entry)
When you arrive in the U.S., you will apply for “admission” and an Immigration Inspector will examine your documents.
You will need to present the following documents:
- I-94 Arrival/Depature Card
- Passport with valid F-1 visa
- SEVIS Form I-20
- Proof of SEVIS fee payment
You will need to have the following documents ready to present, should the Inspector ask for them:
- Admission letter from McDaniel College
- Original financial documents
Once the immigration officer has inspected your documents and determine your eligibility for admission into the United States as a non-immigrant foreign student the officer will photograph and fingerprint you. The officer also has the right to question you about your financial status, your intentions regarding working in the United States, and your intent to attend the school indicated on your visa and I-20.
If the immigration officer asks you whether you intend to work in the U.S, you should respond that you will only work as directed by the stipulations of your F-1 visa status.
When you pass the inspection, the officer will stamp your passport and Form I-20, and will write "D/S F-1" on your I-94 card.
Remember: The I-94 card documents your authorized stay in the US, so it’s very important to keep it in your passport.