Skip to content
Questions? Contact us at
At a Glance

How to Get a Student Visa

For a student visa, you'll first need to apply for academic admission and to show that you have funding to cover your educational and living expenses in the United States.

If both your academic and financial documents meet our requirements, we'll issue you a government document called an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student. You may then use your I-20 and other required documents to apply for a student visa at a US. Embassy or Consulate.

Financial Requirements for a UIndy I-20

As mentioned, you'll need to document that your educational and living expenses will be covered for your first year at UIndy.  Any scholarship that you receive from UIndy will be counted among your resources.

You may have more than one sponsor, either from your family or from outside your family.  Each person or organization sponsoring you should submit a completed Statement of Financial Support form along with an original bank statement or stamp.  Statements should be in the sponsor’s name, dated within one year of your intended enrollment date, and show a total closing balance exceeding the amount pledged on the Statement of Financial Support form.

Using Your UIndy I-20 to Get a Student Visa

The EducationUSA website provides all the information you need on how to apply for an F-1 student visa.

First, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you'll be using to find out about their process and to make an appointment for a visa interview. You’ll need to complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160, and of course you’ll need a valid passport and passport photo. You’ll need to pay the nonimmigrant visa application processing fee and the SEVIS I-901 fee.  Note that the SEVIS fee is paid to a different government department from the department that controls the visa process, so there is a separate procedure for paying the SEVIS fee and you will need a receipt to document that you have paid it.

Prepare the following to bring to your visa interview:

  • Educational transcripts
  • Examination results
  • Your sponsor’s financial documents (income, tax, savings, and business).

The visa interview is normally very brief and covers just a few basic questions. You will need to express yourself clearly and explain, for example, why you want to study in the U.S. and particularly at UIndy, what your career goals are and how U.S. study will help you reach them, and how you will pay for your studies.  You will also need to use transcripts and examination results to show that you are a capable student.  Be prepared to explain yourself but do not memorize answers to recite.


SEVIS stands for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It is an internet-based U.S. government database that maintains information on people with student visas.  I-20s are issued through SEVIS.

What to Do If You Are Studying in the U.S. on Another Institution’s I-20

First, in order to transfer to a UIndy I-20, you'll need to qualify both academically and financially for a UIndy I-20.  Then, after you've made a final decision to transfer to UIndy, you and the international advisor at your current institution should complete the F-1 Undergraduate Transfer In Form (PDF).  The completed form should be returned to UIndy along with copies of your passport identity page, visa, I-94 card, current I-20 and any previous I-20s.  The international advisor at your current institution will set a date to release you in SEVIS to UIndy.  This is normally the final day of your studies at that institution.  After this release date passes, UIndy should be able to access your record in SEVIS and issue your UIndy I-20.

What to Do If You Are in the U.S. on a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa

To get a UIndy I-20 and become an F-1 student, you must first check your passport or DS-2019 to see if you are subject to the two-year foreign residence requirement.  If you are, you cannot change to an F-1 visa unless you receive a waiver from your government.  If you are not subject to the foreign residency requirement you may apply for an F-1 visa by either leaving the U.S. and applying for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate or by staying in the U.S. and applying for a change-of-status.  The first step in either case is to receive a UIndy I-20.  UIndy International Services can help you with the rest of the process if you are staying in the U.S. and applying for a change-of-status.

Should You Enter the U.S. on a Tourist Visa (B-2) and Then Get a Student Visa?

No, this is not recommended unless you request a special B-2 Prospective Student visa, which would allow you to apply for a change-of-status to F-1.  From a standard B-2 tourist visa, it is generally not possible to change status to F-1.  Also, it is a violation of visa status to study toward a degree while on a B visa.