Visa Process

Obtaining a Student Visa

All international students are required to obtain a student visa.


  • Once you receive the I-20 from CIU, you will use the I-20 to pay the $200 Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee.
  • For students who need an F-1 visa, and after the SEVIS fee has been paid, an appointment should be made as soon as possible at the U.S. consulate or embassy. Most embassies and consulates will not grant F-1 visas earlier than three months before the first day of the student’s term. (F-1 visas are 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 F-1 Transfer Form and submit it to the international student enrollment counselor.

F-2 to F-1

Individuals requesting change of status from F-2 to F-1 will need to fill out the I-539 form. Download an I-539 or stop by the Student Center and pick up a copy from the international student advisor's office in the Student Center.

You will need:

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 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.

When you have all of these documents, 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, including your I-539.

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

USCIS Texas Service Center
P.O. Box 851488
Mesquite, TX 75185-1488