Prepare for Your Travel

Once you have been accepted to KSU, you will be notified by email. We will then enter your information into the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) database. SEVIS is a federal government database that contains information on all visiting international students studying in the United States. For more information on SEVIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security, please visit the following link: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/overview. Once you are entered into SEVIS, we will issue an official Form I-20. This very important document, as well as your official acceptance letter, must be present with you during your visa application interview at a US Embassy or Consulate. These documents must also be present when you enter the United States.

Once you receive your official acceptance letter and I-20 form from the Kentucky State University, you will be able to apply for your visa. To submit an F-1 Student Visa Application, please visit this link: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/study-exchange/student.html/. We suggest submitting visa applications as soon as you receive your I-20 and enrollment acceptance letter to better ensure your materials are promptly accepted and returned to you.

Required material and/or documents include the following:

  • A signed Form I-20 (A Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status)
  • Passport valid for a minimum of 6 months into the future at the time of entry to U.S.A.
  • Letter of admission/acceptance from KSU
  • Completed nonimmigrant visa application form (DS-160). Form available at your local US Embassy or Consulate’s website: http://www.usembassy.gov
  • Two Passport photos
  • Financial support documents (Current proof of support that meets expenses for the duration as indicated on Form I-20. You can provide bank statements, award letters or approval letters, etc.)
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • Receipt showing payment of $350.00 SEVIS fee (I-901 fee).

SEVIS and Visa Application Fee

F-1 and J-1 visa applicants must pay a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee of $350.00 before they apply for a visa. The fee can be paid to the Department of Homeland Security either by mail or online, and it must include a Form I-901. The fee can be paid by you or a third party.

To pay by mail:

  1. Obtain a copy of Form I-901 ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2015/i901.pdf.
  2. Complete Form I-901. Print your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 Form. You will need your SEVIS ID number (on the upper right corner of your I-20 and starts with N) and your SEVIS code (CLE).
  3. Write a check or have an international money order in the amount of $350.00 made payable to I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee.
  4. Mail the completed I-901 and the payment to the address listed on Form I-901.
  5. Go to fmjfee.com, print a couple of copies of your Payment Confirmation as receipts and keep them with your other important immigration documents where required.

To pay online:

  1. Find Form I-901 at fmjfee.com.
  2. Complete the Form online and insert the credit card information, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Put your name exactly as it appears on your I-20 Form. You will need your SEVIS ID number (on the upper right corner of your I-20 and starts with N) and your SEVIS code (CLE).
  3. Print a couple of copies of your Payment Confirmation as receipts, and keep them with your other important immigration documents where required.

Arrival Date and Transportation Arrangement

After enrolling in school, a welcome letter with important information will be sent to your email (this is the quickest and most cost efficient way to obtain important information). This includes the information of mandatory orientation for international students. You should arrive on campus before the International Student Orientation day. Once you book your flight, you need to contact the OIA for pick-up arrangement. The OIA will inform you of the driver’s contact information before your departure.

Preparing for Your Entry

As an international student, you need to bear in mind that a valid visa does not guarantee successful entry into the United States. It is the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry, not the consular officer that authorizes the traveler’s admission to the United States and determines the period of authorized stay.

When you arrive at the U.S. Port of Entry, a CBP officer at a primary inspection booth will ask you some questions to verify your documentation and may examine your luggage.

The CBP officer may send you to secondary inspection if you do not have the required documentation or if she/he cannot verify your information. A CBP officer at the secondary inspection will conduct a more detailed inspection to determine your admissibility. However, if she/he is unable to verify your legal admissibility, you may be allowed a temporary entry into the United States with a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor,” (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/library/forms/pdf/i515a.pdf). This document allows you to have temporary admission into the United States for 30 days. To maintain your nonimmigrant student status, you must address your Form I-515A within the time provided to you. If you receive a Form I-515A, alert your designated school official (DSO) as soon as you arrive on campus. It is critically important you work with your DSO to address the Form I-515A within the 30 days given to you. For more information, you can visit US Department of Homeland Security website regarding the Form I-515A (https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/what-is-a-form-i-515a).

To help you with a successful entry to the United States, we have some tips for your entry preparation:

  • Make sure you have the following documents with you in hand
    • Valid passport with a US visa stamp
    • Original signed Form I-20
    • Evidence of financial support
    • KSU admission/acceptance letter
    • Proof of payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Do not bring any restricted items like alcoholic beverages, firearms, fish, plants, seeds, soil, animal products, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Have in hand with you the contact information for KSU:
    • Yolanda Benson, Registrar, Principal Designated School Official (PDSO), office phone 502-597-5795, email yolanda.benson@kysu.edu
    • Eric Yang, Director of International Affairs, Designated School Official (DSO), office phone 502-597-6327, Cellphone 502, Fax 502-597-6763,email eric.yang@kysu.edu