F-1 Visa Guide

F-1 Visa Process

Who is required to apply for an I-20/F-1 visa? If you are a non-United States passport holder living outside of the US, you are required to apply for the F-1 student visa. A web form will automatically be generated for you. You will receive an email with a web link and temporary login information.

Who does NOT need to apply for an F-1 visa? Legal Permanent Residents or ‘green card holders’ do not need to apply for a visa, but must show their green card to the Visa Services Office upon arrival to the program (this is required each time you arrive on campus)

Employment Authorization Card (EAC) holders (those in the process of applying for a green card) do not need to apply for a visa, but must complete the web form and submit the original signature page and a copy of their EAC. EAC holders must show their card to the Visa Services Office upon arrival.

Please use the Visa Application Guide for iMEP Students Spring 2023 to help ensure that you have collected all the required documentation you need.  NOT all checklist items will apply to everyone.
  • Webform Part II is completed and submitted for review
  • Webform Signature Page is printed and signed (sign and date with blue ink)
  • Color copies of your passport and previous US Visas are clear and legible
  • Originals of proof of funding documents and a sponsorship letter if you are not self-funded (Funding Guidelines)
  • Certified English translations are attached to any funding documents not written in English
  • If applying with Dependents:
    • Color copies of your spouse’s passport and previous US visas are clear and legible
    • Copies of your marriage certificate are clear and legible.  Certified English translation is attached if the marriage certificate is not in English.
    • Color copies of your children’s passport and previous US Visas are clear and legible
    • Copies of your children’s birth certificates are clear and legible.  Certified English translations are attached if the birth certificate is not in English
Use your temporary login to complete Part II of the web form (the department will complete Part I for you). Review the  Visa Application Guide  if needed, view the DVS Power Point presentation outlining the instructions.  Please remember to sign and submit the final page of the web form. Once you have completed the web form and supplied the necessary supporting documents, we will initiate the I-20 process. The I-20 is a required document that is used when applying for your student visa at the US Consulate in your home country.

Upload Documents for I-20/Student Visa Application >

Please direct questions you may have to marcia.crippen@duke.edu. We cannot request an I-20 for you until ALL of the checklist information has been received. Submitting Documents for the I-20: Submit documents at the link below. DO NOT MAIL or EMAIL documents.

Once all of your materials are received by Student Services, please allow 20 days for your I-20 to be processed. The Visa Services Office at Duke University will send your I-20 to the address you have listed in your web form. During this time, please visit the website for the US consulate in your home country to determine what additional materials you will need to apply for the F-1 visa. In addition, consulate regulations vary from country to country – some may require you to make an appointment to apply while others may have specific walk-in hours during the week.

IMPORTANT: The Visa Services Office at Duke University strongly recommends that you DO NOT schedule an appointment with the US consulate until you have received your I-20. While we will do everything possible to assist you in this process, please understand that it is your responsibility to obtain the student visa prior to your arrival in Durham, North Carolina. You may begin the visa application process within 120 days of your scheduled arrival in the United States.

The Visa Services Office recommends obtaining two (2) original copies of your financial documentation (send only one original to the Student Services Office) because you will most likely need an additional set when you apply for your visa at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. Visa Services will NOT return the financial documentation that you provide to obtain your I-20.

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