Immigration and Visas

Obtaining a Student Visa

You should apply for your student visa well in advance of the date you will arrive in the U.S. The summer period is very busy at the U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, and it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive and begin orientation in August. Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least four to eight weeks in advance.

While the visa requirements vary from country to country, at a minimum, students will need the following:

  • Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 exchange students) issued by Xavier University.
  • Proof of sufficient funds for tuition and living expenses for one year.

Please note that you should not enter the United States on a visitor's visa (B-1 or B-2) and expect to change status in the U.S. This is extremely difficult.

Visit the U.S. Department of State's site to locate the embassy or consulate near you and for information on waiting times for student visa appointments.

Sevis and the Sevis Fee

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a national database that allows the United States government to track and monitor various events during your program of study. Xavier University is required to provide information through SEVIS, such as the local address, enrollment status (enrolled or not enrolled), and dates of study for students in F-1 and J-1 status.

F-1 and J-1 students must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee before applying for a visa. The current rates as well as payment of the SEVIS fee can be done over the internet (preferred option) or by mail.

Please note that credit card payments of the SEVIS Fee can not be accepted for the following countries:

  • Ghana
  • Gambia
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Cameroon

For additional details on SEVIS and the SEVIS fee, access the SEVIS website.

Visa Delay or Visa Denial

The majority of Xavier students will be successful in obtaining their student visas. Despite this, a small number of students may have their visa applications denied. If your visa is denied you may reapply for the visa within a 12-month period without having to pay the SEVIS fee again.

The most common reasons for visa denial are:

  • Failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country.
  • Failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial support.

If your visa is denied, please send an email message to the Center for International Education and provide the following information:  

  • Date and location of your visa interview.
  • Reason for the denial (the visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for denying your visa).
  • Notify us if you are subject to a security check that will not be completed in time to start your classes.

Students from Canada or Bermuda

Students from Canada or Bermuda are exempt from having to apply for a student visa. However, students still have to pay the SEVIS fee and provide proof of payment (receipt) along with your Form I-20 to an immigration inspector at the port of entry when entering the U.S.