Applying for Your Visa
You should apply for your student visa well in advance of the date you will arrive in the U.S. The summer period is very busy at the U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, and it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive and begin orientation in August. Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least four to eight weeks in advance.
What to Bring with You to the Visa Interview
Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:
- Visa application (can be found on consulate website)
- Visa fee or proof of visa fee payment
- Federal SEVIS Fee payment receipt
- Required photo(s)
- Proof of financial support
- Butler University form I-20
- Butler University admission letter
- Evidence of ties to your home country (bank account, property you own, promise of a job, etc)
- Test scores and academic records
- Proof of English proficiency
Note: Required documents may vary in different countries. We strongly recommend visiting the U.S. embassy or consulate website in your country for a more comprehensive list.
SEVIS and SEVIS Fee
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
SEVIS is a national monitoring system that allows the United States government to track and monitor various events during your program of study. Butler University is required to provide the following information through SEVIS:
- Your name
- Date and place of birth
- Country of citizenship
- Status (enrolled, not enrolled)
- Date of commencement of studies
- Degree program and field of study
- Practical training
- Termination date and reason
- Documents related to your admission
Before you enter the United States you need to understand that once you arrive, you must be committed to following all the rules related to your status. Any violation of status will be reported to the United States government.
SEVIS Fee Payment Process
Option 1: Payment by Credit Card
The Department of Homeland Security has set up a website to accept electronic submission of Form I-901 and payment of the SEVIS fee using a credit card. We strongly recommend that you use this option if possible. Follow the online instructions and then print out the payment screen to verify your payment. Take the payment verification printout with you to your visa interview.
Option 2: Payment by Western Union
Western Union, in local currency, can accept the SEVIS fee. This option is only available in countries where Western Union offers "Quick Pay" service. A properly completed Western Union receipt serves as immediate proof of payment for the visa interview. You must request a "Blue Form" by clicking on "Payment Services" or "Quick Pay." You can find instructions for paying using this option on the SEVIS website.
You may find the nearest Western Union by using the Western Union Agent Locator
Option 3: Payment by Check or Money Order
When paying by check or money order there are two options:
- Paper option—Students can download or obtain the Form I-901, fill it in, and mail it with a check or money order to the specified address in Missouri. Once the information and fee are processed, SEVIS will then be able to be updated with the fee payment information.
- Internet-generated coupon—Students can go to the fee payment website, enter basic information, print out a coupon, and then mail a check or money order with the coupon to the specified address in Missouri. Once the information and fees are processed, SEVIS will then be able to be updated with the fee payment information.
In either case, a receipt notice will be issued when the fee is processed. The mailing addresses for paying by check or money order using the coupon or paper form I-901 are:
Post Office Box Address:
- I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
PO Box 970020
St. Louis, MO 63197-0020
Street address for courier/express delivery:
- I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101
All checks and money orders must be:
- Payable to the "I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee."
- Only checks or money orders may be used when paying by mail.
- The check or money order must be in US dollars and drawn on a bank located in the United States
Payment of the SEVIS fee is not limited to you the student. The Department of Homeland Security will accept fee payment from a third party individual or institution, either in the US or abroad using any of the options above.
The fee must be paid at least three business days before your scheduled interview at the embassy or consulate in order for the payment information to show in the SEVIS system. You should bring your I-901 receipt with you to your visa interview.
Completing Form I-901:
- You must have your Form I-20 in order to complete the I-901.
- You must have Butler University's School Code. Our School Code is CHI214F10469000 for F-1 students (I-20s).
Be Aware—SEVIS ANNOUNCEMENT
Effective July 31, 2013 the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will no longer mail Form I-797C "Notice of Action" for the I-901 SEVIS fee payment. The payment confirmation you can print from the FMJfee website will replace the Form I-797C. The printed confirmation will serve as proof of payment for the I-901 SEVIS fee.
Visa Delay or Visa Denial
The majority of Butler students will be successful in obtaining their student visas. Despite this, a small number of students may have their visa applications denied.
The most common reasons for visa denial are:
- Failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country.
- Failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial support.
The visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial. If your visa is denied, please send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the date and location of your visa interview, and details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for the denial. You should also notify us if you are subject to a security check and the check is not completed in time to arrive for our schedule semester.
Students from Canada or Bermuda
Students from Canada or Bermuda are exempt from having to apply for a visa. You will have to provide SEVIS fee payment verification along with your I-20 form to an immigration inspector at the port of entry when applying for entry into the United States as an F-1 student.
If Your Visa is Denied
If your visa is denied you may reapply for the visa within a 12-month period without having to pay the SEVIS fee again.
For additional details on SEVIS and the SEVIS fee, access the SEVIS website.