Visa and Travel

Visa and Travel

Obtaining a visa for entry to the United States

Once you are admitted to Creighton University, you will need to obtain an F-1 student visa for your initial entry to the U.S.

A visa is a stamp in your passport from the U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad that permits you to enter the U.S. at a Port of Entry. It only needs to be valid for your entry into the U.S. and does not need to remain valid while you are here if you maintain your status. This means that if you remain within U.S. borders, your visa can expire. However, your I-20 must remain valid for the duration of your stay in the U.S.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will send you an I-20. Once you have this document, you should make sure all the information is correct and sign the document. Please email globalengagement@creighton.edu if you have any questions or concerns about your document.

F1 Student Visas

The F-1 student visa allows non-immigrants to pursue a course of study in the U.S. The dependents of an F-1 visa holder are granted an F-2 visa. F-2 visa holders are not allowed to work or study. You will receive an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from Creighton and you should apply for an F-1 visa.

The following are required steps to obtain your visa:

  1. Pay the SEVIS fee*. Once you pay the fee, you will receive a receipt of payment that you must keep and present at your visa interview. You will also need this receipt for travel and future visa renewals.
    *SEVIS stands for the "Student and Exchange Visitor Information System." It is a database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. It is used to track F-1 and J-1 students during their stays in the United States.
  2. Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to schedule a visa appointment.
  3. Prepare the following documents for your visa interview:
    • Passport that is valid for at least 6 months
    • I-20 from Creighton University
    • Your admission letter to Creighton
    • One passport size photograph (2X2)
    • SEVIS fee payment receipt
    • DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
    • Proof of payment of Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee
    • Evidence of financial ability to meet expenses
    • Evidence of English ability sufficient for course of study
    • Evidence of intent to depart the U.S. after completion of studies
    • Any other documents listed on the website of your Consulate or Embassy
    • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended
    • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.

Applicants with dependents must also provide:

  • Proof of the student's relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.);
  • It is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder's passport and visa, along with all other required documents.

Visa Wait Times

Visa wait times vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State offers average wait times. In general, it is important for students to apply for their visa as soon as they have all the necessary documents, ideally 120 days before the start of the semester.

At the initial visa interview, the applicant should provide clear and concise information about their past activities and future plans while in the U.S. In most cases, the visa is issued within 60 days.

Planning Your Arrival Date

Immigration regulations allow entry into the U.S. up to 30 days before the start date indicated on the I-20. If you are unable to arrive by the start date, please consider deferring (or delaying) your admission to the next semester. Please notify ISSS as soon as possible if you plan to defer.

Entering the U.S.

You may want to prepare for your entry into the U.S. by visiting the website of Customs and Border Patrol.

When you enter the U.S., an immigration officer (at the port of entry) will review your immigration documents (visa, I-20, valid passport). Your passport will be stamped, indicating the date in which you entered the country, your immigration status (F-1) and your authorized length of stay D/S (Duration of status). Please verify this information before you leave the "check-in" area. 

After you pass through customs, you have officially arrived. Welcome to the United States!