F-1 Student Requirements

If you are an F-1 student attending Olin for your undergraduate studies, you must complete the following steps to facilitate your entry into the U.S. and your arrival at Olin.

1. Complete the Declaration / Certification of Finances

  • You will receive instructions in your acceptance packet. The declaration of finances verifies ability and intent to pay the cost of your academic program. ​​​​

2. Complete FORM I-20 from Olin: 

  • You will receive a Form I-20 once Olin has received the declaration of finances and supporting financial documentation along with Passport identification and expiration page(s) (do not mail originals- you will need these for your visa interview). 
  • If you are currently attending a U.S. secondary school in F-1 status, please follow instructions in our Transfer section (provide link here).

3. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee 

  • International students in F-1 status are subject to a fee which is used to administer and maintain the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
  • For detailed information and to pay the fee, please visit Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) SEVIS I-901 Fee Site.
  • When must the fee be paid?
    • Applicants who require a visa to enter the United States must pay the SEVIS fee before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interview. It is recommended that the fee be paid at least 3 business days before the embassy or consulate interview.
    • Applicants who are citizens of Canada, Bermuda, Bahamas and residents of certain other islands wishing to apply for F-1 status at a Port of Entry into the United States must pay and process the SEVIS fee BEFORE appearing at the Port of Entry. It is recommended that the fee be paid at least 5 business days before entering the port of entry.
    • Nonimmigrants currently in the United States who apply for student status must pay the fee prior to filing their change of status application.

4. Schedule a VISA Interview and Apply for the F-1 Entry VISA

  • For detailed instructions on scheduling and preparing for a visa interview, click here.
  • Canadian citizens are not required to apply for an F-1 entry visa but must still pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and request entry to the U.S. in F-1 status.

5. Arrive at the U.S. Border and Enter the U.S. in F-1 Status

  • Enter no earlier than 30 days before the program start date on Form I-20.

Following these steps will facilitate your lawful entry into the United States. Please start this process early so that your documentation is completed as soon as possible.

Visa Application Process

This information is for individuals who plan to enter the United States for the first time to study in F-1 immigration status.


  • Obtain your Form I-20 from Olin.

  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee at least three business days before your visa interview; print a receipt. For a brief explanation of the fee requirement and procedure to pay online, visit the SEVP web site.

  • Schedule an F-1 visa interview at your local US consulate or embassy. Specific instructions and requirements can be found on the consulate/embassy's website.

    • It is important to apply for your visa as far in advance as possible. Many consulates/embassies recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements.

  • Prepare and bring the required documentation to your visa interview. Confirm with the embassy/consulate what documentation is required. Below is a general check-list:

      • Passport valid at least six months into the future

      • Original Form I-20 (with your signature on page 1)

      • Olin acceptance letter

      • Completed and signed visa application form(s

      • Photograph(s) in the prescribed format 

      • Receipt of visa fee(s) payment 

      • Receipt of SEVIS I-901 fee payment

        • If you have not received an official receipt in the mail showing payment and you paid the fee electronically, the consulate will accept the temporary receipt you printed from your computer. If you do not have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if your fee payment was processed at least 3 business days before your interview.

      • Evidence of funding sufficient to cover your tuition and living expenses during the first year of your program (i.e. original Olin Declaration/Certificate of Finances)

      • 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.