Steps to Getting a Visa

You will receive an email notification from Kent State if you are accepted. Within 2-3 days of your acceptance, a copy of your admission letter will be emailed to Kent State International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS). We will then email you a scan of this letter. In order for you to come to the United States to pursue your educational objective, you must apply for a student visa. For most students, this is an F-1 visa. In order for you to apply for this visa, we must create a Form I-20/DS-2019 immigration document. Follow these steps to apply for a student visa.

Before receiving your I-20
  • Have you sent us proof of financial support for one year?  You must show that you have the financial resources to pay for one year of studying in Kent. This document can be in the form of a bank statement, graduate assistantship letter, or financial guarantee from your government. If you do receive an assistantship, please email us a copy of the offer letter, as we only receive notification of your acceptance to Kent State and we are generally not notified whether or not you will receive funding from your department or school. The total amount of funding we are required to see can be found here: Tuition & Fees

Note: Are you transferring from another US high school, college, university or institution? If so, we do not create a new SEVIS record for you; instead you should arrange for the transfer of your record to Kent State University. You will need to read our Transfer In Guide for more information and to arrange this transfer. After your record is transferred to us, we can create a new Kent State I-20 for you, provided that you have shown us your proof of financial support.

  • After we have proof of financial support, we create the I-20 and send it to your mailing address, along with a packet of information. You will receive an email from ISSS with a scan of the documents we are mailing, as well as tracking information for the package. Depending on where you live, it may take two to three weeks for your I-20 to arrive. We use DHL to mail documents internationally. Please be patient during this time - we have no control over the international mailing system. If you have not received your I-20 four weeks after you were notified that you were accepted, please contact us at


  • Do not make your visa appointment until you have your I-20. You will not be able to obtain a visa without your I-20. We cannot expedite or “rush” an I-20 to you if you have scheduled a visa appointment without an I-20.
  • Are you from Iran? It may take significantly longer (one to three months) for your I-20 to arrive after we have mailed it.
  • Are you from Saudi Arabia? Check with your local DHL Center to see if your packet has arrived. Your local DHL Center may try to contact you by phone when your I-20 arrives.
  • Are you from China? Your I-20 will be sent to our Beijing China Center. The China Center will then contact you to arrange for delivery.
After receiving your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Step 1: Verify your personal information on your Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1). Ensure that your name and birth date match your passport. If you find mistakes notify our office immediately.
  • Step 2:  Read page 2 of your Form I-20 or DS-2019. On Form I-20, print and sign your name and date your Form at Number 11. On Form DS-2019, complete “Exchange Visitor Certification” Box (at bottom).
  • Step 3:  Prior to applying for your F-1 or J-1 student visa you must pay a $200 SEVIS fee to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 
  • Step 4:  Schedule the visa interview, and read about preparing for your interview.
  • Step 5:  At the port of entry into the U.S., present your passport stamped with valid visa and Form I-20 or DS-2019 to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officer. The officer will review and stamp your passport with your visa status and date. Be sure to collect all of your documents and retain any additional documents given to you by the CBP Officer.
  • Step 6: Upon arrival at Kent State University report to the Office of Global Education, 106 Van Campen Hall, 625 Loop Road. You must present your passport and Form I-20 or DS-2019. The same documentation is required for any accompanying dependents. Failure to report to the school listed at Number 2 on your Form I-20 will be reported to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a violation of your immigration status.

Never leave your documents unattended. These forms are critical to your stay in the US.  

If you have questions on the procedures listed here, email