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Brandon College is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to accept non-immigrant foreign students
What is SEVIS ?
SEVIS is an internet-based system that allows schools and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service to exchange data on the visa status of international students. Information is constantly updated throughout a student's studies in the United States.
U.S. Embassies and Immigration officers at the airport also have access to the new system.
For more information, please visit the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services website. (click here).

The U.S. government has implemented a $200 SEVIS fee for everyone who wants to apply for an F-1 student visa. The fee is used to pay for the new SEVIS system.

Students who are transferring schools or have paid the SEVIS fee and were denied a visa within the last 12 months, do NOT need to pay the SEVIS fee.

We have designed new guidelines with a step-by-step description of the entire visa application process:

F-1 Visa Application Instructions

Click here to download detailed visa application instructions:
Step-by-Step Guidelines

Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions. We will gladly assist you!

U.S. Visa Types

The U.S. Government has many different categories of temporary visas for entry into the Unites States.

Most frequently used Visa Types:

  • B-1 Business Visa
  • B-2 Tourist Visa
  • F-1 Student Visa
  • F-2 Dependent of F-1 student
  • H-1 Temporary Worker
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor
  • M-1 Technical Student
  • WT Visa Waiver


Who should apply for an F-1 Student Visa ?

All students who are planning to attend a full-time course should apply for a student visa.
  • full-time course = minimum 18 hours of instruction per week
  • Intensive English Course (20 hrs/wk) = full-time course

What is needed to apply for an F-1 Student Visa ?
Brandon College is required by law to verify if you qualify for an F-1 student visa. We need to make sure that you have sufficient funds for school and living expenses during your entire stay in the United States, before we can issue the Form I-20.

Please fax copies of the following documents to our office (415) 391-3918:

  • Enrollment Form
  • Proof of sufficient Financial Support (Bank Statement)

As soon as we receive all required documents and the first month payment (details will be on invoice), we will immediately mail the Form I-20 to your home address.

Express delivery (2-3 days) is available upon request. Please let us know immediately if you need the rush service (postage/service fee: $75).

What is Proof of Financial Support ?
The U.S. Immigration Service and the State Department want to make sure that you have sufficient financial resources to live and study in the Unites States. Brandon College is required to verify the financial documentation before we issue the Form I-20.

Students usually submit a copy of their Bank Statement to show that they have sufficient finances. The financial support can also be provided by your family or your employer.

If your parents will provide the financial support, you should be ready to document how your family gets its income and how much that income is. Regardless of whose income it is, a letter from an employer with information about salary and employment history can be helpful. Large sums of money in bank accounts may not be sufficient proof of financial support. You should request a letter from the bank that states how long the account has existed and what the average balance in the account has been.

All Documents must be in English
Please keep in mind that all documents, letters and bank statements for the visa application must be in English and show any account balance on the bank statement in U.S. Dollars. If any document you submit is not in English, please attach a certified and signed translation.

What is the Form I-20 ?
(now also called SEVIS I-20)

The Form I-20 is proof of your eligibility to apply for an F-1 visa in your home country. This form can only be issued by an authorized school. Brandon College is authorized by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to accept non-immigrant foreign students. It is our responsibility to collect and review the above mentioned documents before we can issue the Form I-20.
You must receive a Form I-20 from the school before you can apply for an F-1 visa.

Do you need to make an appointment for a Visa Interview ?
Yes. In all countries, visa applicants must make an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for an F-1 visa. You will also need proof that you have paid the visa application fee. Now is a good time to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you and ask for the specific requirements in your country. Let us know if you need more help.

How long does it take to get a student visa ?
It is more important than ever to plan ahead and give yourself enough time for the visa application process. The U.S. State Department and Immigration Service are carefully verifying all applications in the new SEVIS system and this can take up to 4 - 6 weeks. If you contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, they will give you an estimate of the processing time.

Health Insurance is mandatory for all F-1 Students
Medical care in the United States is very expensive. When you register at Brandon College as a full-time student, you are required to show proof that you have medical insurance when you arrive. Otherwise, you will be asked to purchase insurance coverage through the school. Brandon College offers complete coverage at a low weekly rate. Click here for a Description of Coverage.

How do I maintain Legal Status?
It is very important that you maintain legal status while you are in the United States.
Students with an F-1 visa who fall "out of status" are considered illegal aliens and are subject to penalties which could render them ineligible for certain benefits associated with their visas.

To maintain legal status you must:

  • have a valid passport.
  • attend the school you are authorized to attend (the school which issued your Form I-20).
  • be enrolled adn attend full-time (minimum 18 hrs of instruction per week)
  • report address changes.

You will jeopardize your legal status if you do not follow proper procedures, so it is always best to consult with the Admissions Director in matters of immigration before taking any action.

How long may I stay on my F-1 student visa?
When you enter the United States on an F-1 student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status (abbreviated in your passport and on your I-94 card as "D/S"). That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student. After completion of the course, student are allowed to remain in the U.S. for sixty (60) days before they leave the country.

F-1 Reinstatement Requests
Brandon College will assist students with the SEVIS reinstatement process, only if he/she was not terminated by the previous school for any of the following reason(s):

- attendance issues (warnings, probation, etc.)
- lack of normal progress (low grades, GPA below min requirement)
- financial issues (unpaid tuition payment, late payment, etc.)
- disciplinary actions 

Reinstatement Processing Fee: $500
(this is a one-time, non-refundable fee which is due at the time of application).

Brandon College cannot guarantee a successful outcome of the reinstatement request under any circumstances; this is the sole responsibility of the U.S. CIS. 

The processing fee includes:
- review of the Immigration Form I-539 and supporting documents
- assistance filing all necessary documents (student responsible for postage)
- careful, ongoing monitoring of studies while in reinstatement status 

Students applying for reinstatement are required to:
- attend a full-time course at Brandon College until the request is approved in SEVIS (minimum 4-week increments).
- provide Brandon College with copies of all communication and documents submitted to Immigration during the reinstatement process.

For further questions, please contact one of our admissions representatives: 1-415-391-5711 
F-1 Visa Application Procedures
F-1 Student Visa Application
Please use the electronic Form I-160 which is available online at:

Form DS-160
Nonimmigrant Visa Application (online form)

Form I-901
SEVIS Fee Remittance for F Nonimmigrants (online form)

F-1 Student Visa Application Procedures
Step-by-Step Guidelines
Here are some useful links

List of U.S. Embassies and Consulates:

SEVIS Fee Online Payment Website:

Passport Photo Requirements:

ICE U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
Official SEVIS website

Visa Wait Time:

What is the SEVIS fee?
This SEVIS fee is required of all foreign nationals who come to the United States for the purpose of pursuing a full course of study in institutions such as colleges, universities, and language training programs.  It is payable one time for each single educational program in which an F-1 student participates, extending from the time the student is granted F-1 status to the time the student falls out of status, changes status, or departs the U.S. for an extended period of time. 
This fee is new and goes into effect September 1, 2004.  SEVIS fee payments will be used by the United States Department of Homeland Security to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.  This program makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the United States.  The fee also funds the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a computer system employed to track international students and exchange visitors during their stays in the United States.
Who must pay the SEVIS fee and when?
You will need to pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued a Form I-20 on or after September 1, 2004 AND one of the following conditions applies:
1)      You are seeking an F-1 visa from a United States embassy or consulate for first-time attendance in a language training program.  In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE visa issuance.
2)      You hold a valid F-1, have been absent from the United States for a period of more than 5 months (not working on your studies during this time with the prior approval of your school), and will re-enter the U.S. for a new program of study.  In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE re-entry to the U.S.
3)      As a resident of a contiguous territory or adjacent island, you are exempt from the visa requirement (for example, you are a citizen of Canada or Bermuda), and will apply for admission at port-of-entry to begin initial attendance at a U.S. school.  In this case, the SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE entry to the U.S.
F-2 visa holders, the spouse and dependents of the F-1 visa holder, are not required to pay the SEVIS fee.  See the section entitled “A Note About Processing Times” for further important fee payment considerations.
How much is the SEVIS fee and how do I pay it?
The SEVIS fee is US$ 200.  This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee.  The SEVIS fee must be paid by the Internet or by mail.  It cannot be paid at a U.S. embassy or consulate and it cannot be paid at port of entry. 
The fee can be paid by one of two means:
1)      Electronically, by completing a form I-901 through the Internet and using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit card.
2)      By mail, by submitting Form I-901, Fee remittance for Certain F, J, and M Nonimmigrants, together with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. currency.  Sources for such checks and money orders include banks chartered or operated in the U.S., foreign subsidiaries of U.S. banks, or foreign banks that have an arrangement with a U.S. bank to issue a check, money order, or foreign draft that is drawn on a U.S. bank.
A third party such as a friend, family member, or other interested party can pay the fee on your behalf through the same means described above. 
A Note About Processing Times and Payment Verification
If you pay the SEVIS fee by Internet, your payment is processed immediately and, at the time you make payment, you can print a receipt directly from your computer.  This computer-generated receipt can be used to verify you have paid the fee at an embassy, consular post, or port-of-entry.  Mailing the SEVIS fee does not constitute payment.  The fee is processed when it is received by DHS.  If you mail your payment rather than pay on the Internet, it can take a considerable amount of time for payment to be received and for you to receive a receipt by return mail. 
Whether you choose to pay the fee by the Internet or by mail, a paper receipt will be mailed to the address you provide on Form I-901.  You may choose to have this receipt sent to you either by regular mail or, at an additional charge, by express delivery. 
A paper receipt is not required in order for you to be issued a visa or to be admitted at the port of entry.  Embassies and consular posts will be able to verify your fee payment without a receipt in most circumstances if you pay the fee far enough in advance of your visa interview.  Electronic payments must be submitted at least 3 business days in advance of the interview if you will rely on electronic fee verification at the consulate.  Mailed payments must be sent in a manner that assures arrival at the DHS address listed on the I-901 at least 3 business days before the scheduled interview. 
If I have already paid the SEVIS fee for one school, and then decide to attend another, do I have to pay the fee again?
If you have been accepted to more than one institution and paid the fee using the SEVIS ID number of an institution you will not be attending, you will not have to pay the fee again.  Bring the I-20s of both the school for which you paid the fee and the school you will be attending, as well as your SEVIS fee payment receipt, to the consulate or port-of-entry (if you are applying for a visa, you should bring both of the I-20s back to the consulate)
Is the SEVIS fee refundable if I am denied a visa?
Once paid, the SEVIS fee is non-refundable, unless paid by mistake, even if your visa is denied or, subsequent to issuance of the visa, you choose not to come to the United States. 
If you applied for an F-1 visa and paid the SEVIS fee within the last year but were denied a visa, you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee again as long as you re-apply for the same kind of program with 12 months of the initial denial. 


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