Obtain Your F-1 Visa

Congratulations on your admission to Sweet Briar! We look forward to supporting you with the next steps to obtain your F-1 visa.

Here are the steps you need to take in order to enter the United States as a student:

1. Sign & Return your Cost of Attendance Letter


We want to ensure that you have the funds necessary to cover not only the cost of attendance, but also other costs associated with studying in the USA. These costs are similar to those that you would incur studying at any college or university within the USA. The admissions office will send you your financial aid award letter and cost of attendance letter. Review both carefully and then sign and return the cost of attendance letter in your Sweet Briar admissions portal.

2. Provide Required Documents - Due by June 1


Before we can generate your Form I-20, we must receive:

  • Scan of your valid passport photo page with at least 1 year of validity
  • Signed Cost of Attendance Letter
  • Signed Certificate of Finances
  • Supporting documents to show proof of funds noted on your Certificate of Finances

You must provide proof of the funds you are dedicating towards your studies for your first year of attendance. This proof can be in the form of a bank statement and/or letter from the bank. We will accept documents that meet the following criteria:

  • Documents should be recent, meaning that they should have been generated within the last three months.
  • Funds must be liquid, meaning they are not held in a retirement account or in the value of a home or property.
  • We must see demonstrated, projected income that will show us a financial ability to continue paying for your costs of attendance beyond your first year.
  • If you have a sponsor(s) such as your parents, aunts/uncles or sibling, you must provide a sponsor’s salary statement from their employer. The statement must be on company letterhead and the name of the sponsor must be visible on the statement. The salary statement must show the amount of money your sponsor makes per year. We can apply up to one third of the total annual base salary towards the required funding for your I-20. The statement should be signed by someone with signatory authority such as Human Resources or a supervisor. The statement must have an issuance date no older than 6 months from the date that the DSO reviewed your financial documents.

Upload all documents to your Sweet Briar admissions portal. If you have additional questions, please email multiculturalcenter@sbc.edu.

3. Receive your Form I-20


After receiving your documents, allow for 5-7 business days (Monday - Friday) for us to generate and upload the Form I-20 to your Sweet Briar admissions portal. After receiving your Form I-20, review it carefully to ensure there are no errors.

4. Pay the SEVIS Fee.


Many U.S. Consulates will not process emergency appointment requests until this payment is made. We strongly recommend you pay as soon as possible.

5. Apply for an F-1 Visa with a U.S. Consulate


Make an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in your home country to obtain an entry visa stamp. The appointment cannot be more than 120 days before your program start date as shown on your Form I-20.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is my visa status the same as the visa in my passport?

A. No. All international students apply at the U.S. Consulate for an entry visa stamp, applied within their passport. This stamp is shown when entering the country. Once in the United States, F-1 students are allowed to stay - even after the entry visa in the passport expires - as long as they maintain their visa status.

Q. I am already in the U.S. and plan to start or transfer my degree program to SBC, what do I need to provide SBC?

A. If you are already in the U.S. on an F-1 or other type of visa, you will need to provide the Cost of Attendance letter and Proof of Financial Means documentation before we can assist you with next steps, including transferring in your I-20 from another college or university.