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Visa Processing

In this Section

Once you receive your documents – I-20/DS-2019 – from ISSS you can now begin the process to apply your visa. You are strongly encouraged to apply early as possible to ensure you have sufficient time to travel and arrive in time for your study at CU.  Visa appointments can be made 120 days prior to your planned arrival date in the U.S.

Steps –

  • Pay your SEVIS fee – this fee is required prior to receiving your visa stamp. 
  • Schedule your visa appointment and pay any necessary fees
  • Apply for your visa at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate
    • Please visit the website to the embassy or consulate you plan to apply to for any special requirements for your visa application

Special note for Canadian Citizens You will not need to apply for a U.S. visa at the local embassy or consulate – instead – you will apply for entry in F1/J1 student status at the U.S. border. A U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officer will inspect your documents and process your entry for F1/J1 student status. Please be sure to carry all of the following when crossing the border –

  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment – this must be paid prior to arriving at the border! 
  • Your Certificate of Eligibility – this is your Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Your letter of admission to Clarkson University
  • Proof of financial support that corresponds with the information provided on your I-20/DS-2019 – this will be any and all scholarship information and personal/family funding.

Visa Denials

The vast majority of Clarkson University students will be successful in obtaining their student visas. Despite this, a small number of students may have their visa applications delayed or denied.

The most common reasons for visa denials are:

  • Failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country 

  • Failure to provide sufficient evidence of your financial support

The visa office will verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial and should provide these details in writing. If your visa is denied, please send an e-mail message to and provide the date – location of your visa interview – and – the details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for denial. Likely there is little Clarkson University can do to overcome a visa denial as this responsibility is on the student. However – we can provide you additional tips and or resources on what you can do to improve your changes. Please note – a significant change to your situation is usually warranted before visa approval.

Visa Delays

Much more common than visa denial are visa delays – this is why it is so important to apply for your visa EARLY! Here are some common reasons for visa delays:

  • Administrative Processing – this is an additional security clearance handled by the Department of State. This could be due to your country of citizenship or your area of research interests. Typically this happens to graduate students in science/engineering fields.  Please notify the ISSS staff as soon as possible if you have been selected for ‘administrative processing’ 

  • Closing or reduced hours at U.S. visa issuing posts due to security concerns – political instability

Similar to visa denials – the visa officer will verbally inform you of the reason for the visa delay. If your visa is delayed, please send an e-mail message to  and provide the date – location of your visa interview – and – the details regarding the reason given by the visa officer.

Other resources –

Study in the States

U.S. Department of State