Visa Information

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All international students who come to the United States to study fulltime must have an F-1 student visa. If you are already in the United States with another type of visa, please check here to determine your eligibility to enroll in the IEP.

Receiving your I-20:

The IEP will send you an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility as part of your acceptance package after you submit a complete application to the Intensive English Program. Please read it carefully and make sure all information is correct. In the Student Attestation section, please write your name, signature and date on the first line.

Pay the SEVIS Fee:

Before you schedule an appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you must pay the SEVIS fee of $350. This fee is different from the visa application fee, and it is paid separately. The easiest way to pay this fee in most countries is online at using a credit card. When you pay the SEVIS fee, you will need two numbers:

  • The SEVIS identification number can be found on the top right corner of your I-20, above the bar code.
  • The University of Miami School Code is MIA214F00234000 and can be found in the School Information section of your I-20.

Consular Interview:

After you pay your SEVIS fee, you should schedule a face-to-face interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Please bring the following documents with you to your consular interview:

  • I-20 Certificate of Eligibility
  • IEP acceptance letter
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your expected stay in the US
  • Financial documents that show you have enough money to cover tuition and living expenses during your time in the US, such as bank letters, bank statements, sponsorship letter, etc.
  • Evidence of your relationship to your spouse and children if they plan to come to the United States with you

Consular interviews typically last only a few minutes. During this time, the official is usually trying to decide if you intend to stay in the US after you have completed your program. The consular official will ask you questions to determine your social, economic and familiar ties to your home country. If the official thinks you plan to stay in the US permanently, he or she will probably deny your visa. Tell the official when and why you will return to your home and family.

Also think about the reasons why you want to study English in the United States The consular official may ask you questions similar to the questions below to determine if you are a serious student and if you plan to return to your home country:

  • Why do you want to study English in the United States?
  • Why did you choose the University of Miami?
  • How will your English studies help you to achieve your academic and professional goals?
  • What do you plan to do after you finish studying?

Do not say that you want to go to Miami to be with friends and family, because you like the beach, or for some other reason not related to your studies.

Remember that each consular official may see as many as 200 visa applicants a day. Help them by being prepared. If the consular official approves your visa, they will put a visa stamp in your passport. In some consulates, they will put the visa stamp in your passport on the day of your interview, while in other countries they will keep your passport for up to a few weeks.

Visa Denials

If the consular official says that he/she cannot grant you a student visa, ask them the reason for their decision. Send an e-mail to the with this information. We typically recommend that you try to reapply for the F-1 visa only if there is a significant change to your situation or if there is information that you did not adequately present the first time.

Traveling to the United States

With your F-1 visa, you are permitted to enter the United States up to 30 days before the program start date listed in Section 5 of your I-20. You may be turned away at the port of entry if you try to enter the United States after the start date on your I-20. Contact us if you think you will not be able to arrive by your program start date.

When you pass through customs, you will need to present:

  • Your passport/F-1 visa
  • The University of Miami I-20 (3 pages)
  • The SEVIS fee receipt
  • Your I-94 is now electronic. The customs agent will look it up in the computer.

Do not put these items in your checked luggage. You must have these documents in your hands when you enter the United States. The immigration official should stamp "F-1 D/S" on your passport and I-20. The immigration official will return your passport/F-1 visa, I-20 (pages 1-3), and SEVIS fee receipt to you. Please bring these documents when you come to campus to begin for registration and orientation. We will review them to make sure you have entered the U.S. in the correct status. We can assist you to print out your I-94 if necessary.