Skip to main content

Visa Process

Obtaining a visa can be an overwhelming process, but it doesn't have to be.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call the International Student Services office at (803) 807-5234.  We look forward to having you on campus.


  • Once the student receives the I-20 from the IAC, the F-1 student will use the I-20 to pay the $200 SEVIS fee.
  • For students who will require an F-1 visa, and after the SEVIS fee has been paid, an appointment should be made at the United States consulate or embassy for the earliest date possible. Most embassies and consulates will not grant F-1 visas earlier than 3 months before the first day of the student’s term. (F-1 visas are generally not required for Canadian citizens, but Canadians must pay the SEVIS fee prior to applying for admission at the U.S. Port of Entry).

F-1 Transfer

If you are transferring to CIU on an F-1 Visa, fill out the attached form located at the bottom of this page and submit it to the International Student Services office.

F-2 to F-1

Individuals requesting a change from F-2 to F-1 will need to fill out the I-539 form.  This form can be picked up in the International Student Advisor's office located in the Student Center or downloaded online.  In addition to the I-539 form you will need the following:

1. The new I-20 being issued to you from the admissions office.

2. A copy of your I-94

3. A copy of the F-1 spouse’s CIU I-20

4. Proof of F-2 relationship to the F-1 student (examples below)

-Marriage Certificate

-Birth Certificate

-Passport ID may indicate relationship

5. Proof of financial support (you may be able to get a copy from the admissions office)

6. A check for $300 made out to the USCIS (as of 01/22/09).

When you have all of these documents together, please make an appointment to meet with the International Student Advisor so that copies can be made for your file. You should keep a copy of your documents and I-539 as well.

Once you have completed your paperwork and meeting, your request should be mailed to:

USCIS Texas Service Center

P.O. Box 851488

Mesquite, TX 75185-1488

F-1_Transfer_Form.pdf112.41 KB