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Obtaining a U.S. Visa

Follow the steps below to obtain F-1 Student Visa status with Gordon College. The International Student Office is here to help you through this entire process. Please feel free to contact us or your Admissions Counselor with questions.

Will You Need a Visa to Enter the U.S.?

If you are not a U.S. Citizen or a U.S. Permanent Resident, you may be required to obtain an F-1 Student Visa to come to the United States as a documented non-immigrant and Gordon College student.

Which type of incoming international student are you?

Foreign citizens who are currently OUTSIDE of the United States for high school or college must obtain an F-1 Student Visa before they will be permitted to enter the United States and attend Gordon College.

Foreign citizens who are ALREADY IN the United States for high school or college must continue maintaining their active F-1 Student Visa status to attend Gordon College. Or, if you are currently in a dependent-visa status (such as F2, R2, or H4), you have a choice to keep or change your status.  If you want, we can help you seek a “change of status” to F-1 visa status. Alternately, if you are currently an F-1 student, we will help you transfer your SEVIS record to Gordon College.

Foreign citizens who are ALREADY IN the United States for high school or college, but who do NOT have active visa status of some kind, are typically unable to get F-1 Visa status while remaining in the U.S. These students should seek guidance of outside legal counsel for case-by-case advice. Please note that DACA, TPS, and other non-visa students are welcome to attend Gordon College.

The F-1 Visa itself is a physical sticker (or stamp) in your passport. It serves as your “entry document” into the United States. After you have entered the United States using an F-1 Visa stamp, you will be considered to be “inactive F-1 status” during the duration of your time as a student at Gordon, as long as you obey the regulations pertaining to your visa status. For more information, please see the U.S. State Department website for Student Visa information. During International Student Orientation, we will go over all of the important rules and regulations pertaining to your F-1 status.


Step 1: Your International Student Deposit

Accepted students may secure their spot by sending an International Student Deposit payment to Gordon College. Your specific dollar amount requirement is listed in your official Financial Award Letter from the Office of Student Financial Services at Gordon College. You may also contact your Admissions Counselor to learn the specific dollar amount required for your deposit, and to learn about paying your deposit by wire transfer or by check.

Next, your Admissions Counselor will send you an email to confirm that the Financial Office at Gordon College received your deposit payment. Please email your Admissions Counselor for more information.

Step 2: Your Initial I-20

After you have paid your International Student Deposit payment, we will create and mail you the Initial I-20 paperwork.

You will have an individual record and identification number in the US government computer system for international students, which is called the Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Or, if you are currently in the US for high school or college as an F-1 Visa student at another school, your SEVIS number will probably remain the same; in this case, we simply transfer your SEVIS record from your current school to Gordon College.

  • Complete the “Application for Initial Form I-20” and email to Gordon College.
  • Note your unique SEVIS identification number, printed on the top of your I-20, beginning with a capital N.
  • Complete the student attestation/signature part of page 1 in blue or black pen ink: sign your signature and write the date.
  • Immediately read over your entire Initial I-20 carefully. Are there any errors? Is anything confusing? Please contact us!

Step 3: Your I-901 SEVIS Fee

  • Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee of $350 directly to the US government (not to Gordon College) at https://www.fmjfee.com/
  • After paying the fee, print the receipt (Form I-797), so you can bring it to your Visa Interview as proof of payment.

Step 4: Your Visa Interview

  • Find a local US Embassy or Consulate near you, and review its website for instructions about getting an F-1 Visa.
  • Complete the online DS-160 (if required), and print the confirmation page.
  • Schedule a Visa Interview appointment at the local US Embassy or Consulate near you.
  • Gather all necessary documents.
  • SEVIS Fee Receipt - showing you paid the $350.
  • DS-160 Confirmation Page - with the barcode.
  • Initial Form I-20 - original paper with signatures.
  • Your Financial Documents - bank statements to show the ability to pay for what’s not covered by aid.
  • Letter(s) from Gordon College - Acceptance, Scholarships, and Deposit Confirmation.
  • Passport - will still be valid 6 months in the future.
  • Two Photos - passport-style photos, 2”x2”
  • Possibly: Any additional fees or documents, as required at your location - listed on their website.
  • Possibly: Anything showing your "strong ties" to your home country, such as bank accounts in your name, property ownership documents, or information about job prospects after you complete your degree.
  • Attend your visa interview in person. Receive your F-1 Visa (passport stamp) at the embassy or in the mail.

Step 5: Your Travel Arrangements

It is a good idea to wait until you have your visa before you make your travel arrangements.

A Gordon College driver will be available to pick you up (no charge) at Boston Logan International Airport when you arrive, if you will be traveling by yourself. Alternately, you may choose to make your own arrangements to arrive on campus (for example, in a rental car if you are with family).

  • As you consider your travel plans, you are welcome to discuss any questions with us. Then, purchase a ticket.
  • If you are planning to purchase a round-trip ticket, please note that move-out day is always the day after the last final exam. 
  • Email us your detailed flight information and ask for the free ride to campus from the airport, if you need one.
  • Let us know if any of your family will be coming with you to the Welcome Dinner on International Student Move-In Day. View a list of hotels and the special rates for Gordon guests.

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