Before Your Departure
How to Apply for a U.S. Student or Exchange Visitor Visa
A visa is a physical stamp in your passport that is used at a port of entry (typically an airport) to enter the United States. It is issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The type of visa you use to enter the United States determines the type of activities that you are allowed to engage in while in the U.S. and also affects your authorized period of stay in the U.S. Individuals seeking entry to the U.S. as an academic or language student should have an F-1 entry visa. Individuals seeking entry to the U.S. as an exchange visitor should have a J-1 entry visa. (Exception: Canadian citizens who are seeking to enter the U.S. for study purposes do not require a visa to enter the U.S.)
If you are transferring to Colorado College from another U.S. school/college/university, you do not need to apply for a new student or exchange visitor visa unless your visa has expired and you are leaving the United States before starting your program at CC. Please note that it is impossible to obtain a visa once in the United States.
How do I apply for a visa? Applying for a visa can be very time consuming; thus it's important to apply as soon as possible. However, you may not apply for an F-1 student visa more than 120 days prior to the program start date on your Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (Form I-20) from Colorado College. There is no limit as to how early an exchange student may use a Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019) to apply for a J-1 exchange visitor visa.
To apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa, you will need to schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Visa processing times, application procedures, and requested supporting documents vary from one U.S. Embassy/Consulate to another, so please check with the Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply for your visa. For a complete list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates, click here. Several standard items are required for the student visa application:
- A Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) and other supplementary forms (if applicable)
- A current passport, valid for at least six months
- Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20/Form DS-2019)
- Evidence of financial support for the period of time and amount indicated on the Certificate of Eligibility, such as bank statements or scholarship/grant/scholarship letters.
- Proof that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies (for example, proof of permanent residence outside the United States, preferably in your home country, proof of property, presence of immediate family, future employment offers, etc.)
- One or more passport-style photographs
- Proof of payment of the SEVIS (I-901) fee
A brief interview with a consular officer may be required as well. Be prepared to answer questions regarding the reasons for which you have decided to attend a U.S. university, your ties to your home country, and your future plans after completing your academic program. The consular officer may also request additional documents, such as evidence of English language proficiency, school records to verify academic preparation, additional evidence of strong ties to your home country and/or your ability to support yourself while in the United States. If approved, the consular officer will stamp a student visa in your passport. If you are denied a visa, ask for the reason for the denial in writing. If you do not get the reason for your visa denial in writing, it is very difficult (if not impossible) for us to advise you.
What is the Certificate of Eligibility? Once you confirm your intent to attend Colorado College, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or Form DS-2019). The Form I-20 is a 3-page, computer-generated document that is used by F-1 students. The DS-2019 form is a 2-page, computer-generated document for J-1 exchange visitors that is issued by Colorado College as your "program sponsor". Please check the information on your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 to ensure that it is accurate. If there is an error on your I-20 (e.g., name misspelled, wrong date of birth, etc.) please contact our office as soon as possible. If you are an F-1 student who is transferring to CC from another U.S. school/college/university, your Form I-20 should be marked as "transfer pending from: (the name of your previous school)." The SEVIS ID number on the Form I-20 from CC should be the same as the SEVIS ID number that you had at your previous school.
If you have been accepted to more than one U.S. college or university and have received more than one Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, do not apply for your U.S. student or exchange visitor visa until you have decided which school you will attend. If you decided to attend CC, use the Colorado College Form I-20/Form DS-2019 to apply for your student visa or exchange visitor visa and enter the United States using the same Form I-20/Form DS-2019.
How do I pay the I-901 SEVIS fee? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires F-1 and J-1 visa applicants to pay a one-time fee to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Students and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The fee for F-1 visa applicants is $200 USD and the fee for J-1 visa applicants is $180 USD. The SEVIS fee should be processed by DHS at least three (3) business days prior to the consular interview. The SEVIS fee is not payable at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You or another person (e.g., friend or family) may pay the SEVIS fee either by mail on online. Click here for more information.
How do I provide Evidence of my financial support? Evidence of your financial support must be submitted to our office by submitting the F-1 Student Financial Statement or by completing CC's Exchange Student Application for Admission form. Be prepared to provide evidence of your financial support, e.g. bank statements and letters of support from each sponsor at your consular appointment. Also, if you are receiving a scholarship from CC, don't forget to bring a copy of your original scholarship letter with you.
Before entering Colorado College, you are required to submit the following forms:
- Colorado Certificate of Immunization (a 2-page document) which demonstrates proof of:
- MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) immunization OR a signed statement of immunization exemption based on medical, religious, or personal reasons (Page 1). Please note: you may be asked to leave campus in the event of an outbreak, should you waive the immunizations.
- Meningococcal disease immunization OR a signed acknowledgment that you have reviewed the information and decided not to obtain the immunization (Page 2). Please note: you may be asked to leave campus in the event of an outbreak, should you waive the immunizations.
- A PPD test for tuberculosis within the 6 months prior to arrival on campus OR completion of the Tuberculosis (TB) Screening Questionnaire with signature of your health care provider.
You can access these forms on the Student Health Center website. Please FAX your completed forms to: +1-719-389-6928.
Completing these forms is part of Colorado College’s compliance with Colorado State Law, which requires that all students attending a residential college in the state show proof of immunity. This process is also an important part of our efforts to ensure and safe and healthy environment for everyone in the CC community. If you have any questions about immunization certification, please contact Colorado Springs Health Partners, who provide the health services in our on-campus clinic at +1-719-389-6384.
Please note that you will not be allowed to move into your CC residence hall room unless your immunization forms have been completed and returned to the Student Health Center. If you have not had a second dose of the measles vaccine, you will be required to receive the vaccination at Colorado College.
Finally, although it is not required by Colorado College, you may want to have a complete physical exam by a doctor in your home country before traveling to the U.S. Also, don’t forget to fill any prescriptions that you may need to have with you in the U.S.
The CC Bound website is an online orientation website that holds most of the information needed for you to begin your life at CC, including information on the New Student Orientation (NSO). You should review the information on "CC Bound" on a regular basis prior to your arrival on campus. There are several forms that will require your prompt attention and reply. Please read everything carefully and return all forms to the specified office(s) by the due dates. Deadlines are listed and you will be able to return most of the forms electronically. Information will include:
- Information on how to select and register for classes (degree seeking students only)
- Immunization forms
- Student health insurance information
- Housing information and forms
- Details on the meal plan and bookstore
- Student account information
International Students are expected to arrive at CC prior to the start of International Student Orientation. We will provide an airport pick up service for those students that arrive at the Colorado Springs (COS) airport on Arrival Day:
Global Scholars Program Arrival Date: July 15, 2019
All other New Students and Exchange Visitors Arrival Date: August 13, 2019
In order to facilitate this process please click on the link below to report your travel plans:
If you wish to travel within the United States before the start of classes, you may do so on your student or exchange visitor visa. You may enter as early as 30 days before the program start date indicated on your Form I-20/Form DS-2019. Do not enter the United States on a tourist visa (B-2) or under the Visa Waiver Program.
For more information on Arrival Options and getting to Colorado Springs, please click here.