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International Programs

East Tennessee State University

2. Immigration:

Congratulations! You have been admitted to ETSU and have been issued either an I-20 (for F-1 degree-seeking students) or a DS-2019 (for J-1 exchange/visiting students). Once you receive this document, please follow the steps below to apply for a US visa in order to enter the United States and begin your academic program.

Students with an Initial I-20 or DS-2019 may not enter the United States before July 22, 2017, according to immigration regulations.  Please take this into consideration when making your travel plans. 


A. Pay SEVIS I-901 Fee:

All international students applying for the F-1 or J-1 visas must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. This fee is currently $200.00 USD for the F-1 visa and $180.00 USD for the J-1 visa. The fee MUST be paid a minimum of 3 business days prior to applying for the visa. You must have the receipt of the payment when you go for your visa interview appointment.

Please visit the SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Website to pay this fee.


B. Apply for Visa:

Visa application procedures vary somewhat among Consulates in various countries. The US Visas Website will help you through the process of applying for the student visa.  Once you are on that web page, select the appropriate visa type (i.e. F or J), then read and follow the instructions.

Generally, there are several steps in this process including:

  • Completing the Online Visa Application (Form DS-160)
  • Scheduling a Visa Interview Appointment
  • Preparing appropriate documentation for the Interview
    • Required documentation varies depending on which country you are in.
    • Be sure to check with the consulate for which documents you should bring with you BEFORE your interview).

Tips for the Visa Interview:

1. Take all required and requested documents including:

  • Passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • Financial documents (i.e. bank statements, scholarship letter/guarantee, etc.)
  • ETSU admission letter
  • Any other documents requested by the Consulate
    • NOTE: If you have F-2 or J-2 dependents accompanying you to the US, be sure to take their Passports, I-20s or DS-2019s, Marriage/Birth Certificates, etc. as well.

2. Make sure your financial documents match what is listed on the I-20 or DS-2019 for your financial support.

3. Remember to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee at least 3 business days prior to your interview!


Important: Transfer Students:

If you are transferring to ETSU from another SEVIS school and plan to travel outside the United States between the period of time when your current school term ends and the ETSU term begins, please consult with your ETSU International Student Advisor.

Table of Contents

  1. Requesting I-20 or DS-2019
  2. Immigration
  3. Travel Arrangements
  4. Immunization and Health Insurance
  5. Academics
  6. International Friendship Program
  7. Housing and Meal Plans
  8. New Students' Check-in and Arrival Briefing
  9. Financial Matters
  10. Other Important Information
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