Basic Info about F-1 and J-1 Visa Application Process

Congratulations on being accepted to Pacific Lutheran University! With your I-20 or DS-2019, you may now start your process to apply for F-1 or J-1 student visa.

Each U.S. embassy and U.S. consulate sets its own interview policies and procedures regarding student visas—consult with your local U.S. embassy and consulate offices for specific instructions.

Plan ahead! Keep in mind that June, July and August are the busiest months in most consular sections, and interview appointments are the most difficult to get during that period. F-1 visa application can be submitted 120 days prior to program start date. There is no restriction on when J-1 visa application can be submitted.

If you are successful at the interview and granted for a student visa, you should be able to receive your visa within the wait time set by the U.S. Embassy. Check the regular visa wait time here.

After receiving your student visa, please notify PLU. For undergraduate students, contact International Admission ( For graduate students, contact Graduate Admission (

Application Process

  1. Pay SEVIS I-901 fee online.  Be sure to print out and keep your payment receipt!
  2. Complete DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application.  Make sure to write down your application ID number so that you can access your application later!
  3. Pay the visa application fee as instructed on your local U.S. embassy or consulate’s web site
  4. Make an appointment for a visa interview at local U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country

Items to Bring to Your Interview

  • Valid Passport
  • I-20 issued by PLU for F-1 OR DS-2019 Issued by PLU for J-1
  • Letter of Acceptance from PLU
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
  • Visa fee payment receipt
  • Printed confirmation page for DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  • One 2 x 2 (5.1 cm x 5.1cm) photograph in prescribed format
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended if available (college, university, high school, or middle school)
  • Scores from standardized tests such as the TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, etc (if available).
  • Financial documents showing source and amount of funding available to pay for your education in the U.S.
  • Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the U.S. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community.

Commonly Asked Questions in Visa Interviews

Why do you want to study at PLU? What do you plan to study?

How you plan to use your education when you return?

Do you have family members in the U.S.? If you do, be able to answer where they live and their relationships to you.

Who is funding your education and living expenses in the U.S.?

What ties do you have to your home country that will ensure that you will return after completing your education in the U.S.?