I-20 & F-1 Visa

All non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent resident holders who are planning to visit the U.S. to study are required to obtain an F-1 visa. A student who wishes to enter the US for studies on an F-1 visa will need to submit appropriate documentation in order to be issued a Form I-20 by Mason Fairfax Campus.

 

I-20 Application

Form I-20 is a document issued to transitioning Mason Korea students by Mason Fairfax that indicates a student's primary purpose for coming to the United States.

 

Application Process

To receive I-20, applicants must submit the following documents to the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS). Visit I-20 Application Portal linked below for more information.

  1. Copy of Fairfax Transition Application form approved by your academic advisor
  2. Copy of passport bio page 
  3. Certificate of financial responsibility(CFR) form
  4. Proof of Funding

  >> Go to I-20 Application Portal

The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) will review the application and create the form I-20 in the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The review process could take 3 - 5 weeks after the submission of the application. Form I-20 will be sent to students via their Mason emails with password protection.

Recommended timeline for your I-20 application.

  • Fall transition: submit I-20 application by April
  • Spring transition: submit the I-20 application by mid-October.

 

Next Step

When you receive your I-20, follow the instructions below. 

  1. Open the document using your Gnumber. 
  2. Check the information on the I-20 to make sure everything is correct. 
  3. Print the I-20 and sign it on page 1.  

Carry your I-20 at all times during your travel to the US. The Form I-20 is an important document that you should keep safe, as you will need it throughout the international student life cycle.

Students who received I-20 should move on to the next step individually to pay the SEVIS fee and apply for an F-1 visa at the US embassy.

 

SEVIS Fee 

What is the purpose of the I-901 SEVIS Fee? 

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) uses SEVIS fee payments to fund and maintain the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the immigration database used to process documents for international students and exchange visitors during their stay in the United States. 

The fee is required of all F-1 and J-1 non-immigrants who come to the U.S. for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study at institutions such as colleges, universities and language training programs, as well as visitors who engage in exchange programs. It is normally a one-time fee. 

For more information, please visit the following link: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq 

 

Payment Instructions: 

  1. Go to the SEVIS Fee webpage at fmjfee.com 
  2. Click “Pay I-901 Fee” 
  3. Enter your name, date of birth, and SEVIS ID number as it appears on your I-20 
  4. Pay the $350 fee with your credit card 
  5. Print your receipt and keep it with your I-20. You will need to show your receipt when you check in with OIPS upon arrival at Mason. 

 

F-1 Visa Application

Students who received I-20 and paid the SEVIS fee should individually apply for an F-1 visa at the US embassy. An F-1 visa is a type of non-immigrant visa which allows individuals to study in the United States.

An F-1 visa can only be issued by a US consulate or embassy abroad. Once students have met the eligibility requirements, George Mason University – Fairfax Campus (GMU) will provide each applicant with the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa at the nearest U.S. Embassy. 

 

Application Process

There are four core steps you need to go through.

  1. Complete DS-160 form
  2. Pay the visa application fee (USD 150 - 200)
  3. Schedule a visa interview

You can find more detailed guidelines on the following US Embassy webpage.

  >> Go to US Embassy - Apply for Visa

 

Visa Interview

Required Document

You must submit the following document to the embassy as a part of your visa application.

  1. Approved Form I-20
  2. SEVIS fee receipt
  3. DS-160 confirmation page
  4. Visa application fee receipt
  5. Valid passport
  6. One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph taken within the last six months
  7. Interview appointment letter

 

Supporting Documents

In addition to the above-required documents, you should consider bringing the following documents to your interview. Original documents are always preferred over photocopies. Do not fax, email, or mail any supporting documents to the Embassy:

  • Original Bank Statement (a copy will not be reviewed)
    If you are financially sponsored by another person, bring proof of your relationship to the sponsor (such as your birth certificate), the sponsor's most recent original tax forms, and the sponsor's bankbooks and/or fixed deposit certificates.
  • Transcript
  • Documents demonstrating strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country that will compel you to return to your country after your program of study in the U.S. ends.

Applicants with dependents must also provide:

  • Proof of the student's relationship to his/her spouse and/or child (e.g., marriage and birth certificates)
  • It is preferred that families apply for their visas at the same time, but if the spouse and/or child must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder's passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Most visa interviews last about 5 minutes. It is important to demonstrate to the visa officer your plans of study, ties to your home country, and your plans to return home after the completion of your program. He or she may ask you questions like: 

  1. Why did you choose George Mason University? 
  2. What interests you about your program of study? 
  3. What do you plan to do after you obtain your degree or certificate? 
  4. What kind of work will you do when you return home? 

Remember to be honest and yourself. First impressions are important! 

Usually, a decision to grant or deny a visa is made during the interview. However, some students might be subject to administrative processing or security clearance. 

Please contact oipsadmi@gmu.edu if you are subject to administrative processing, a security clearance, or if your visa has been denied under 214b (non-immigrant intent). 

 

OIPS 

Office of International Program and Services(OIPS) assists transitioning Mason Korea students with I-20 and F-1 visa applications. The office also advises continuing F-1 students on maintaining F-1 status. Make sure to check out the official website for more information. 

 

Student Union Building 1 (SUB I), Room 4300 

 Website: https://oips.gmu.edu/
 Phone: (703) 993-2970
 Fax: (703) 993-2966 
 Email: oips@gmu.edu