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EIU Office of International Students and Scholars

Welcome to EIU!


Congratulations on Your Acceptance!

On behalf of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), we congratulate you on your acceptance to Eastern Illinois University (EIU)! We are very excited to welcome you to EIU and Charleston, Illinois, and we hope you will join us in the many activities that OISS is planning for you.


Apply for Your Student Visa

Now that you have been admitted, we encourage you to apply for your student visa. Follow these steps:


1. Complete the DS-160 Form:

Fill out the DS-160 form for your F-1 student visa at the United States Department of State Electronic Application Center. The DS-160 form is an online application for a nonimmigrant visa. Ensure you complete the form accurately and thoroughly, as any mistakes can delay the process. You'll need to upload a passport-style photo that meets the specific requirements detailed on the website. Once you have submitted the form, print the confirmation page for your records and bring it to your visa interview.

Website: DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application


    • The DS-160 form is the online application for a nonimmigrant visa, including the F-1 student visa.
    • Be sure to fill out all sections accurately and truthfully. This form will require your personal information, passport details, travel plans, and the purpose of your visit to the U.S.
    • You will need to upload a recent passport photo that meets the specific U.S. Department of State Photograph Requirements.
    • After completing the form, you will receive a DS-160 confirmation page with a barcode. Print this page, as you will need it for your visa interview.


2. Find the Nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy:

Locate the closest U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you will attend your visa interview. Each U.S. Embassy or Consulate operates independently and may have different procedures, so check their specific instructions for visa applicants.

Website: United States Embassy Locator


    • Use this website to find the U.S. Consulate or Embassy closest to you.
    • Each consulate may have slightly different procedures for visa processing, so check their specific instructions and available services.
    • It’s important to start this process early, as visa appointments can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.


3. Book Your Visa Interview Appointment:

Schedule your visa interview appointment through this website. It's important to book your appointment as early as possible since waiting times can vary. The website will guide you through creating an account, paying the visa application fee, and selecting an appointment date.


4. Prepare the Required Documents:

    • Passport Photo: Upload your photo while completing the DS-160 form. Ensure it meets the U.S. Department of State Photograph Requirements.
    • Copy of the Biography Page of Your Passport: This is the page with your photo and personal information. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in the U.S.
    • Visa Application Fee Payment Receipt: You will need to pay the visa application fee (MRV fee) as part of scheduling your appointment. Keep the receipt as proof of payment.
    • I-20 or DS-2019 Form: Issued by EIU, these forms are required for F-1 and J-1 visas, respectively. Ensure that you have signed the form where indicated.
    • Acceptance Letter from EIU: This official letter confirms your admission to Eastern Illinois University and may be required to demonstrate your intent to study.


  • Additional Documentation: According to the U.S. Department of State, additional documentation may be required. A consular officer will interview you to determine your qualifications for a student visa and may request evidence of:
      • Academic Preparation: Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended, as well as standardized test scores required by EIU.
      • Intent to Depart the U.S.: Proof that you intend to return to your home country after completing your studies, such as a job offer or enrollment in a future academic program.
      • Financial Evidence: Documents showing how you will pay for your educational, living, and travel expenses while in the U.S.


  • Be prepared to demonstrate strong ties to your home country, such as:
      • Professional Job: Evidence of employment or a job offer in your home country.
      • Home Ownership: Property ownership documents.
      • Strong Family and Social Relationships: Proof of close family ties or social connections that require your presence in your home country.


* For more info about applying for a student visa, check here:   Applying for a U.S. Visa Stamp


What to Expect at the Port of Entry


    • Website: U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Arrival Procedures
    • Description: Detailed information on what documents to present and what to expect upon your arrival in the United States. Upon arrival, you will need to present:
      • Your passport with the student visa
      • Your I-20 or DS-2019 form
      • Your SEVIS fee payment receipt
      • Any other documents you carried to support your visa application The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may ask you questions about your studies and plans in the U.S. Answer these questions truthfully and clearly. Once admitted, you will receive an entry stamp or paper Form I-94, proof of your legal entry into the U.S.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Office of International Students and Scholars

2170 Blair Hall
600 Lincoln Avenue
Charleston, Illinois
61920-3099 USA

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