Applying for a U.S. student visa can be a lengthy process. Be sure to plan ahead and consistently monitor the web site of your local Embassy or Consulate so you are aware of the estimated wait times for a visa appointment and all of the requirements for your visa interview.
Obtaining an I-20
The first step in the student visa application process is to obtain a Form I-20 from Mason Admissions. In order to receive an I-20 from George Mason University you must have an admission to an academic degree program and prove that you have sufficient finances to cover at least one year of tuition and living expenses. You should submit your financial verification documents at the same time you submit your documentation for admission consideration.
The following documents must be submitted in order to obtain an I-20 from Mason:
Graduate applicants should send all financial documentation along with other application materials to the appropriate academic unit. Processing of I-20 forms for graduate students at Mason occurs in the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS). Please contact OIPS with questions regarding this process.
After You Receive Your I-20
Once you receive your I-20 form from Mason you may contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that presides over your area and schedule an interview for a student visa. You can check the estimated wait time for a visa interview in your city at the following U.S. Department of State web site: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/tempvisitors_wait.php.
All student visa applicants are required to pay the $200 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee to the Department of Homeland Security prior to their visa interview. You may learn more about how to pay the SEVIS fee at the following web site: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/. You will be required to bring your payment receipt to your interview with you to verify that you have paid the fee.
In addition to your SEVIS fee payment receipt, you must also bring a number of other documents with you to your visa interview. A list of the required documents can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html. Also, be sure to read the student visa section of your U.S. Embassy or Consulate website thoroughly and carefully so that you are well-prepared. If you are missing any documentation or arrive for your interview with unacceptable documents, you may be turned away before you even enter the Embassy or Consulate.
Students Who Are Currently in the U.S.
If you are already have a student visa and are studying at another school in the U.S. you will have to transfer your SEVIS record to George Mason University and receive a new I-20 form. In addition to the financial verification documents listed above, you will also have to submit the following: