I-20/Visa Application Process

If you are an international student admitted to Austin Community College and are applying for the F-1 student visa, follow the instructions below. Once you finish these steps, you must complete the remaining enrollment steps for international students.

DO NOT make travel arrangements before you receive the visa.

Receive and Print the Form I-20

The International Student Office will email you the Form 1-20 for your F-1 appointment. Please print the I-20 and sign it as you must have the physical copy at the visa appointment. This form certifies your eligibility to study at ACC but does not guarantee visa approval. DO NOT make travel arrangements until your visa is approved. 

Agents or recruiters may not receive the Form I-20 directly from ACC and control the distribution of the Form I-20 for the prospective student. 

Review and download the Form I-20 Issuance and School Use of Recruiters Policy Guidance on ICE.gov.

Steps to Obtain the F-1 Student Visa and Travel to ACC

Along with your Form I-20, the International Student Office has mailed you a Welcome Guide. Please read the Welcome Guide in its entirety. It contains information on how to apply for the F-1 student visa, make preparations to enter the U.S., and other details you will need to know for the registration process. Following are some of the main steps you should complete before arriving to the U.S.

1. Pay SEVIS I-901 fee.

The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F-1 visa students. Once you receive your Form I-20, go to the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website for instructions on paying your SEVIS fee.

2. Apply for visa/schedule interview.

Refer to the U.S. Department of State non-immigrant visa website to complete the required application forms:

  • DS-156
  • DS-157
  • DS-158

Confirm you have the required documents and schedule your visa interview following the instructions on the website of your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

If all goes according to plan, you will receive an F-1 visa stamp in your passport. Congratulations!

Some U.S. Embassies actually put your I-20 in a sealed envelope and staple it to your passport. It is recommended that you do not open this envelope. The immigration officer at the U.S. port-of-entry will open it and check your documents when you arrive. Check your visa for errors before you leave the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

3. Make travel arrangements.

Review your Welcome Guide to determine your permitted travel dates. Plan to arrive in the United States two to four weeks before the program start date. See the required arrival dates. You may NOT enter the U.S. more than 30 days before this date. You must enter the U.S. by the program start date on your I-20 to avoid being turned away at the U.S. port-of-entry.

4. Additional tasks before arrival to ACC

We strongly encourage you to read the instructions to complete these steps before traveling to the U.S.

5. Check in at the ISO with your travel documents

ACC expects you to arrive by the program start date on your I-20 for testing, advising, class registration, and orientation. You will not be able to register for classes until you check in. You MUST check-in at the ISO in person, no online check-ins are permitted.  

Upon arrival in the U.S., you must report to the International Student Office within 48 hours.

On your first visit to the office, you must bring the following items:

  • Passport (Containing your F-1 Student Visa)
  • Most Recent Electronic I-94 Record – Bring two printed copies.
  • Your ACC SEVIS Form I-20
  • Your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt can be re-printed from: www.FMJfee.com.
  • $29 to pay for placement testing. Review your Welcome Guide to determine if testing is required.

Failure to report to the International Students Office with these documents will jeopardize your F-1 Student visa status.

Back to Top
  • Meet Virtually with the International Student Office

    You can meet with International Student Office staff without an appointment Monday through Friday. See times and other information.

    Join Zoom

    Meeting ID: 995 8669 0635
    Passcode: 640601

  • Back to Top