Step 1: Apply to and be accepted by Centre College

Congratulations on completing the first step in obtaining your F-1 student visa! We are so excited to welcome you to campus soon, but first let's go over the process for obtaining an F-1 student visa.

Step 2: Obtain a Form I-20 from Centre College

Shortly after you make your admissions deposit (or have your deposit waived), Centre Admissions will connect you with International Student Services (ISS) to create your Form I-20. ISS will work with Admissions and Financial Aid to confirm all of the details regarding your financial aid package. You will need to confirm your name as it appears on your passport, foreign address, and your preferred name if different from your legal name. If you are a dual citizen, you will need to decide which country of citizenship / which passport you will use to enter and depart the US. 

When you receive your Form I-20, review the document to make sure all of the information is correct. Note that all students at Centre College begin their college career with the "Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities" major. Most students will officially declare major(s)/minor(s) at the end of sophomore year. If all information is correct, print and sign/date the Form I-20. A parent or guardian signature is required for students under the age of 18.

Step 3: Submit the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment

All new F-1 visa students must pay a one-time SEVIS fee ($350 USD) BEFORE applying for the student visa. If you are renewing your F-1 visa it is recommended that you have a receipt or proof of SEVIS fee payment, even though the fee does not have to be paid again so long as you have not fallen out of status. 

Please visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) SEVIS I-901 Fee Processing website for details on paying the fee through the website or with Western Union Quick Pay.

You can find your SEVIS ID Number (begins with N) and Centre College's school code on your Form I-20.

Be sure to print out your receipt for proof of payment to present at your US visa interview (or at your port of entry for those from Canada or Bermuda). Citizens of Canada and Bermuda may but do not have to complete the follow steps as you can receive your 

Step 4: Complete the Form DS-160 Visa Application

There are several steps to apply for a US visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by US Embassy or Consulate. So BEFORE you are ready to complete your US visa application form, you need to determine which US Embassy, Consulate, or Office providing Consular Services you will apply to and possibly interview at. Search the U.S. Department of State’s database and consult the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate website for instructions.

Generally speaking, you should apply to and schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you reside. You may schedule your interview at another US Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live. Check visa appointment wait times here.

After completing the Form DS-160 visa application online and paying the visa fee ($185 USD), be sure to print your DS-160 confirmation page to schedule and bring with you to your visa interview.

Step 5: Schedule and Attend your US Visa Interview Appointment

Each US Embassy, Consulate, or Consular Services Office may have different requirements for the visa interview so follow the instructions carefully.

Typically, you will be required to bring with you: 

  • Your passport
  • The DS-160 confirmation page
  • Proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment and DS-160 visa fee payment
  • Form I-20
  • Two identical visa photos if your picture failed to upload in the online Form DS-160 application 

Additional documentation may be required or asked for, so you may want to also have evidence of:

  • Your academic preparation, such as:
    • School transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from the schools you attended
    • Standardized test scores that you submitted to Centre, such as SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo
  • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
  • How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs


Every interview is different, but please be honest and answer the interview questions to the best of your ability. Keep your answers short with a positive attitude. More tips can be found here.

Step 6: Receive and Review your US Visa

Check the visa in your passport to make sure that all the information on it is correct. If the information is not correct it can only be changed at the US Embassy or Consulate that issued your visa. 

Send ISS a picture of your visa page and prepare for your entry into the US and arrival on campus. 

For more information, please contact ISS and/or refer to the following source(s):

Find the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy

Find the visa appointment wait times at your local consulate

SEVIS I-901 Fee Processing website

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) page

NAFSA's 10 points to remember when applying for a student visa