Menu Side Navigation Close

Student visa requirements vary by country. We recommend that you check in with your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate when you receive your immigration documents from OISS.

After you are admitted to Lehigh University and receive your I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to apply for a student visa. To get a student visa, you need to:

  • Complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You can submit the Form-901 online and pay by credit or debit card or Western Union Quick Pay. Print your confirmation to bring to your visa interview. You should pay the fee at least one week before the visa interview. You cannot pay at the time of the interview or with the consulate.
  • Visit your local embassy or consulate for a visa interview. 

Upon approval of your visa, the embassy or consulate will stamp your visa in your passport. Your student visa will have a date of validity and an expiration date. The visa will also have the name of the school listed on your I-20 or DS-2019.

    Required Immigration Documents

    To have a successful visa interview with your embassy or consulate, you need to bring the following documents to your visa interview. Please note that these requirements are subject to change. Check your embassy or consulate’s website for the most up-to-date list.

    New Students
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Lehigh University
    • DS-160 confirmation receipt
    • Admission letter from Lehigh University with your academic program and term
    • A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your program start date
    • Documentation that you meet the English language proficiency required by Lehigh
    • Documentation that you can support yourself for at least one academic year (or for the duration of the immigration document if you are a J-1 student). Consulates will generally accept bank letters or statements as well as scholarship letters or assistantships from Lehigh University.
    • Evidence that you do not intend to abandon your home country, such as a future job offer, proof of business ownership, or strong family ties. The F-1 and J-1 visas are non-immigrant visas. You must intend to study in the U.S. and return home.
    • Visa application fee
    • Receipt showing the SEVIS fee paid
    Continuing Students
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019 from Lehigh University with a valid travel signature from OISS
    • Documentation that you have been attending Lehigh University, like your academic transcript
    • A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the anticipated re-entry date.
    • Documentation that you can support yourself for at least one academic year (or for the duration of the immigration document if you are a J-1 student). Consulates will generally accept bank letters or statements as well as scholarship letters or assistantships from Lehigh University.
    • Evidence that you do not intend to abandon your home country, such as a future job offer, proof of business ownership, or strong family ties. The F-1 and J-1 visas are non-immigrant visas. You must intend to study in the U.S. and return home.
    • Visa application fee
    • Students on OPT: EAD card and a letter of employment stating that you intend to return to the U.S.
    • Graduate students: Information about your research or a letter from your department attesting to your current academic standing at Lehigh University
    • Any other documentation you may feel necessary, such as your course schedule for the upcoming semester

    Visa Interview Tips

    NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has provided a helpful list of 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa.

    Visa Delays

    According to the U.S. Department of State, some people may experience delays in visa processing due to additional security and bureaucratic requirements. Most security delays or further administrative processing will be resolved within 30 to 60 days. You cannot request expedited processing to travel to the U.S. You can check current processing times on your local U.S. Embassy and Consulate website.

    The most common reasons that Lehigh students and scholars experience delays:

    • You are a national of a country that the U.S. designates as a state sponsor of terrorism.
    • You may be involved in research at Lehigh that uses sensitive technologies.
    • Your name is a common name or the name of someone currently in the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Terrorist Screening Database.

    If one of these applies to you, OISS or Lehigh University cannot help you avoid the minimum delay of 30 days.