Visa Information

Apply for an F-1 Visa

General instructions for applying for an F1 visa can be found here. Please note that application requirements and procedures vary by country, so be sure to check the website of the U.S. Consulate that serves your country/community. A list of U.S. embassies and consulates can be found here.

Before applying for your visa, make sure you have received your Boston Conservatory I-20 and have paid the I-901 SEVIS fee.

For additional advice on applying for a student visa, read “10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa.”

Information for Canadians: If you are Canadian, you do not need to apply for an F-1 visa at a US Consulate, but do need to (1) obtain an I-20 from our school, (2) pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, and (3) carry your passport, financial documents, SEVIS fee receipt, and any previously issued U.S. immigration documents (e.g., old I-20s) with you when you enter the U.S.  You will apply for F1 status at your port of entry to the United States.

SEVIS Fee Information

What is the SEVIS (I-901) Fee?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires a $200 SEVIS fee from all foreign nationals who come to the United States to pursue a full course of study in colleges, universities and language training programs. This fee is separate from and in addition to the visa application fee.

DHS uses SEVIS fee payments to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which makes it possible for international students and exchange visitors to attend schools in the U.S. The fee also funds the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a database that maintains information on international students and visitors.

Who must pay the SEVIS fee?

You must pay the SEVIS fee if you were issued a Form I-20 on or after September 1, 2004 and if one of the following conditions applied:

  • You are a new student who has an “initial attendance” I-20 and you plan to begin an academic program in the U.S. in F-1 status. You must pay the SEVIS fee BEFORE your visa appointment.
  • You hold a valid F-1 visa, have been absent from the U.S. for a period of more than five months (not working on your studies during this time with the prior approval of your school), and will re-enter the U.S. with a new I-20. You must pay the SEVIS fee before you re-enter the U.S.
  • 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 a port-of-entry to begin initial attendance at a U.S. school. You must pay the SEVIS fee before you enter the U.S.

NOTE: The SEVIS fee is NOT required for: (1) students currently in the U.S. in valid F-1 immigration status, (2) F-2 dependents, and (3) students transferring to a new school or changing to another degree program or level within five months of completing of the previous F-1 program.

IMPORTANT: You must pay the SEVIS fee at least three business days before you apply for your visa.

How can I pay the fee?

Please visit U.S. Immigration and Customs for information about paying the I-901 SEVIS fee. Once you pay your fee, be sure to print your receipt to show at your visa interview!

NOTE: You cannot pay the SEVIS fee until you have your new I-20 from Boston Conservatory at Berklee!