Form I-20/Visa Application Process

Once you have been accepted and are applying for the F-1 student visa, follow the instructions below to complete the I-20 process.

Once you finish these steps, you must complete the remaining enrollment steps.

DO NOT make travel arrangements before you receive the visa.

Receive and Print the Form I-20

The International Student Office will email you the Form 1-20 for your F-1 appointment. Please print the I-20 and sign it as you must have the physical copy at the visa appointment. This form certifies your eligibility to study at ACC but does not guarantee visa approval. DO NOT make travel arrangements until your visa is approved. 

Agents or recruiters may not receive the Form I-20 directly from Austin Community College and control the distribution of the Form I-20 for the prospective student. 

Review and download the new Form I-20 Issuance and School Use of Recruiters Policy Guidance on here.

Steps to Obtain the F-1 Student Visa and Travel to ACC

Along with your Form I-20, the International Student Office has emailed you a Welcome Guide. Please read the contents of the Welcome Guide in its entirety, as it contains information on how to apply for the F-1 student visa, make preparations to enter the U.S. and other details you will need to know for the registration process. Below you will find some of the main steps to complete before arriving to the U.S.

1. Pay SEVIS I-901 fee

The SEVIS I-901 fee is required for all F-1 visa students. Once you receive your Form I-20, go to the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website for instructions on paying your SEVIS fee.

2. Apply for visa/schedule interview

Refer to the U.S. Department of State non-immigrant visa website to complete the required application forms:

  • DS-156
  • DS-157
  • DS-158

Confirm you have the required documents and schedule your visa interview following the instructions on the website of your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

If all goes according to plan, you will receive an F-1 visa stamp in your passport. Congratulations!

Some U.S. Embassies actually put your I-20 in a sealed envelope and staple it to your passport. It is recommended that you do not open this envelope. The immigration officer at the U.S. port-of-entry will open it and check your documents when you arrive. Check your visa for errors before you leave the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

3. Make travel arrangements

Review your Welcome Guide to determine your permitted travel dates. Plan to arrive in the United States two to four weeks before the program start date.See the Required Arrival Dates.  You may NOT enter the U.S. more than 30 days before this date. You must enter the U.S. by the program start date on your I-20 to avoid being turned away at the U.S. port-of-entry.

4. Additional tasks before arrival to ACC

We strongly encourage you to read the instructions to complete these steps before traveling to the U.S.

5. Check in at the ISO with your travel documents

Austin Community College expects you to arrive by the Program Start Date on your I-20 for testing, advising, class registration, and orientation. You will not be able to register for classes until you check in. You MUST check-in at the ISO in person, no online check-ins are permitted.  

Upon arrival in the U.S., you must report to the International Student Office within 48 hours.

On your first visit to the office, you must bring the following items:

  • Passport (Containing your F-1 Student Visa)
  • Most Recent Electronic I-94 Record - Bring two printed copies.
  • Your ACC SEVIS Form I-20
  • Your I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt can be re-printed from:
  • $29 To Pay for Placement Testing. Review your Welcome Guide to determine if testing is required.

Failure to report to the ISO with these documents will jeopardize your F-1 Student Visa status.