Visa and SEVIS Information

Applying for an F-1 Visa

Before making travel arrangements to arrive for your studies at Mercer University, you will need to obtain an appropriate U.S. visa. The process of securing your visa needs to be a top priority once your I-20 Form is issued. Visa processing times and interview availability differs throughout nations. The following list provides resources to help you through the process of obtaining a U.S. visa to enter the U.S. legally as a student.

     1.    Receive acceptance into a SEVP-certified school (Mercer University is a SEVP-certified school)
     2.    Work with your international student advisor to issue a Form I-20
     3.    Receive your Form I-20 in the mail and confirm that all information is correct.
     4.    Pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee of $200  for F-1 students  at the following secure U.S.

            Department of Homeland Security website:
     5.    Print and save copies of your receipt from paying the I-901 SEVIS fee.
     6.    You can now apply for a visa at any U.S. embassy or consulate. The following links will assist you

             with this process:
Homepage for U.S. Department of State – U.S. Visas
U.S. Department of State: U.S. Visas – Student Visa
U.S. Department of State: Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Times


Information for Citizens of Canada and Bermuda

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda do not require visas to enter the United States as students, although they must present a valid Form I-20 at the time of admission to the country. Students from these nations must ensure that they are issued an F-1 visa stamp within their passports until entry.

Additional Resource: U.S. Department of State – Citizens of Canada and Bermuda


Visa FAQ

Am I required to pay I-901 SEVIS fee?

The Department of Homeland Security requires a fee of $200 for all new F-1 and $180 for J-1 program applicants to cover the costs of the operation of the SEVIS program.

If you are issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 for initial attendance you are required to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Change of level to an existing and active SEVIS number for a new degree program, transfer, extension, or other updates do not require you to pay a second SEVIS fee.
You should always print a copy of the receipt (and make copies!) and take it to your visa interview and when traveling to the U.S.

What should I do if I apply for my visa and it is denied or delayed?

Obtaining a valid visa to enter the U.S. and maintaining valid immigration status while in the U.S. is the responsibility of the foreign national. If your visa request is initially denied at a U.S. embassy or consulate please contact your international student advisor.

Additional Resource: U.S. Department of State Visa Denials

Can I reapply for a visa?

After being found ineligible for a visa, the U.S. Department of State’s website states, “…you may reapply in the future. If you reapply for a visa after being found ineligible, with the exception of 221(g) refusals, you must submit a new visa application and pay the visa application fee again. If you were found ineligible under section 214(b) of the INA, you should be able to present evidence of significant changes in circumstances since your last application.”

Additional Resource: U.S. Department of State Visa Denials