Visa Acquisition

Helpful information about the process and rules for studying in the United States as an international student can be found on Study in the States.

Before the interview


You must have a valid passport.  The expiration date must be at least six months beyond you date of entry into the United States. If it is not, you may be denied entry.


Review your I-20 or DS-2019. Your name and date of birth should be exactly the same as it is on your passport. If any information on your form is incorrect, contact the International Students and Scholars Office at Clark University immediately. An amended form will be issued if necessary. Sign the form at the bottom of page 1 where indicated. If you are bringing dependents with you, they will need an I-20 as well.*


Pay the required SEVIS fee and print the receipt needed to apply for your visa.

U.S. Consulate

Procedures and processing times can vary depending on which U.S. Consulate serves your area. Citizens from Canada and Bermuda may not need a visa. ** Special procedures are in place for citizens of North Korea, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. 

Complete the DS-160 Form (visa application).

Visa interview

Documents for your visa interview

  • Passport
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Form I-20 or I-2019
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (printed payment receipt)
  • Clark University admission letter
  • Original financial documents proving source of funds needed as reflected on I-20 or I-2019
  • Documents that demonstrate that you intend to return home after the completion of your studies.

Things to prove at your visa interview

  • In addition to showing the U.S. Consular Officer your required F-1 visa application documents, be prepared to answer questions such as “Why do you want to pursue this field of study?” or “Why did you choose Clark University?” Your application may be denied if the consular officer suspects that you have accepted Clark University’s offer of admission but do not intend to be a student.
  • It is imperative that you have enough funds to cover your first year of tuition, fees, and living expenses. However, consular officers must be assured that you will not run out of funding at any point during your program of study. Bring all financial aid/scholarship letters, bank statements, or affidavits of support with you.
  • Be prepared to explain your plans to return to your home country after completion of your academic program.

Things to remember

  • Consular Officers have absolute authority to grant or deny visas, and their decisions cannot be overturned. If denied, you can re-apply for the visa if you can provide additional supporting documents.
  • Many visas are denied due to “immigrant intent.” If you have relatives living in the U.S., the consular officer may believe that your intention is to remain permanently in the U.S. Your visa may be denied if you appear to be unclear about your academic goals, or about how you will use your education in your home country.
  • Biometrics will be collected when you apply for a U.S. visa.


If you have informed us that you have a spouse or children who will stay in the U.S. with you, an I-20 or DS-2019 will be included in your packet for each of them. Make sure the information on the I-20 for each dependent is correct. Sign each I-20 where indicated. If you did not include your dependents on your International Student form, please email Veda Genkos ( for information on how to add them.

**Citizens of Bermuda and Canada

If you are a citizen of Bermuda or Canada, you will receive an I-20 or a DS-2019. You must pay the SEVIS fee, but obtaining an F-1 visa is optional.

Entering the United States

Federal regulations allow you to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the Program Start Date listed on your Form I-20. Carry all the documents required for your visa interview with you when you travel. Do not pack them in your checked baggage. You will need to show these documents to the U.S.. officer at the U.S. point of entry. Answer all questions posed by the officer calmly. When the officer is confident that you are admissible, your passport will be stamped to indicate “F-1, D/S”. Make sure you have all of your documents before you leave the inspection area.

Students will check in with the ISSO on a specific date at the beginning of orientation

You will receive details about this from Admissions prior to your arrival at Clark University.  You do not need to come to ISSO prior to the appointed check-in date. If you have questions about this, you can reach us by phone at 508-793-7362, or by email at or