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Steps for Applying F1 Student Visa


How you become an International Student?  Follow a step by step procedure for F-1 US visa as listed below. 

Steps for Applying F1 Student Visa



Congratulations on your decision to study in the United States! A very rewarding and life-changing experience awaits you! The first step is to apply! Check here for the requirements and require documents.
Once you are accepted, Santa Ana College will issue you a document called I-20.
*I-20 is a paper record of your information in USCIS database called SEVIS.


Once you received your I-20 form us, please check your I-20 against your passport information to make sure that your name and date of birth (DOB) are correctly listed and spelled. If it is not correct, contact us immediately.

Once you have your Form I-20, you are ready for the next step – paying your SEVIS I-901 fee.


Paying Your SEVIS I-901 Fee

The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F-1 students. Paying your SEVIS I-901 fee is very important. Without this fee, you will not be eligible to apply for a visa. To learn more about the SEVIS I-901 fee.


Make sure your I-20 information matches that on your SEVIS I-901 fee form.

You can pay your SEVIS I-901 Fee by mail, online at, or make payment by Western Union Quick. (Please click here for detail information.)


Get Your Student Visa


After paying the I-901 fee and getting a receipt, you can apply for a visa at any American Embassy ( before you leave for the United States.


Check attached information for useful tips when applying for your visa.

= 10 Points to remember when applying for non-immigration visa.


Once you received your visa, Check to see that you received the right type of visa. Are your name and date of birth also correct?


Prepare for Your Trip to the United States


Before you leave for the United States, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of documents you might need. It is always a good idea to carry your original documents at all times. Do not put them in your checked baggage. 

It is also a good idea to make at least two sets of copies of these documents: one copy to leave with your family or friends before you depart and one copy to give to your school officials. 

Here is a list of the important immigration documents:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20

Arriving at the Port of Entry in the United States

Arriving in the United States is a very important step, for which you should prepare. If you have everything ready, it should be a very smooth experience. The following documents give a good outline of the arrival process and exceptions:

You will need several documents:

  • Passport (valid for at least the next six months)
  • The I-20 from Santa Ana College
  • Proof that you paid the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Proof you have the financial ability to pay for your school costs plus living expenses (the amount shown on the I-20)
  • An admissions letter from the school or other proof you are a student (just in case)

DO NOT travel to the U.S. more than 30 days before the program start date on your I-20!

Present all these documents to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer who will decide whether you may enter the United States.

If the CBP officer admits you into the United States, that officer then will issue you an electronic I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record”, which you will complete en route to the United States. You can find your I-94 online. The Form I-94 is the only document that establishes how long you may legally remain in the United States for your studies.

What is Secondary Inspection?

If the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your information, or if you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an conduct additional research in order to verify your information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.

The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP officer needs to verify information with your school or program, we strongly recommend that you have our college information with you.

Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to the United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. Work with your school without delay to submit the proper documentation required by the Form I-515A. 

SAC-Tip: You should be completely aware of your intended major, and that you will take at least 12 units per semester.

Reporting to Santa Ana College

You have 30 days to enter the country before your official program start date, which is registered in SEVIS. However, you must report to Santa Ana College within 24 hours of arriving in the US.  

If you cannot enter the United States for the term listed on your I-20 or if you will be late by a few days, immediately contact us so that we can accurately reflect this information in your SEVIS record.

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International Student Program 1530 W. 17th St., U-204-D, Santa Ana, CA 92706 USA
Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: