If you are currently abroad, and do not yet have a valid U.S. student visa, you generally apply for one at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
You should apply for your student visa well in advance of the date you would like to depart for Wheaton. Winter holidays (such as Christmas and New Year's Day) and the summer can be very busy times at many U.S. consulates and embassies, and same-day service is not always available at many of the larger visa issuing posts. The procedures for obtaining a U.S. visa vary around the world. In some countries, you can only apply by mail.
In other countries, you can only apply in person, and an appointment may be required. At some consulates and embassies, you will be interviewed by a U.S. consular official. At others, you will only need to give your passport and supporting documents to a clerk, who will return them to you once your visa application is approved.
Applying for an F1 (Student) Visa in Your Home Country >>
(Link to U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Visa Services)
Required Documentation for Your U.S. Student Visa
To apply for a U.S. student visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you need to present:
- a valid passport
- the required fee
- application form OF-156. Applications are available without charge from all U.S. consular offices or at http://travel.state.gov.
- one photograph 1 1/2" square (37 x 37 mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
- proof of admission to Wheaton College
- evidence of sufficient knowledge of English
- evidence of academic credentials qualifying you for admission
- Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20)
- evidence of sufficient financial support
- evidence of sufficient ties to your home country
Special note for Canadian citizens:
Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a U.S. visa to enter the United States. However, an officer of the U.S. Immigration Service will inspect your papers, either at a pre-inspection site in Canada or upon entry to the U.S. You must have with you proof of Canadian citizenship, your admission letter to Wheaton College, your Wheaton Certificate of Eligibility, and proof of financial support that corresponds to the information on your I-20. It is essential that you enter the U.S. in the appropriate status, so be sure to have complete documentation with you.
If you are currently in the United States:
If you already have valid F-1 student status by being enrolled at another school, college or university in the U.S., and do not plan to travel outside the U.S. prior to beginning your studies at Wheaton College, then the Office of International Student Services will do the necessary transfer procedure to notify the appropriate U.S. federal agency that your status has been transferred to Wheaton, once we have verified your registration. It is essential that you bring your Certificate of Eligibility to the office of International Student Services as soon as possible after your arrival. Such documents are generally collected during Orientation.
If you are currently in the U.S. in a visa classification other than F-1, you should contact the Office of International Student Services for information.
Visitor/Tourist (B-2) Visa:
DO NOT attempt to enter the United States on a visitor/tourist visa (B-2) unless it is designated "Prospective Student" by a consular officer. The U.S. Immigration Service rarely authorizes a change of status from B-2 to F-1. DO NOT attempt to enter the United States under the visa waiver program, available to citizens from nearly 30 countries throughout the world. The waiver program is designed for tourists only, and attending school under the waiver program is a clear violation of U.S. immigration law.