Before Arrival

Congratulations on your admission to South Seattle College! You may now be wondering what to do next. Use this checklist as a resource to prepare for your arrival in Seattle.

Step 1: Receive and review your acceptance materials.

Your admissions packet will be sent directly to you within 3-5 business days of your admission. It will include your acceptance letter, orientation schedule, and your Form I-20. Review all of the documents in your acceptance packet and ensure that the information is correct, including the spelling of your name, your birth date, your intended major, and your program dates. Don’t forget to sign the bottom of your Form I-20. If you are younger than 18, your parent or guardian must also sign the form.

Step 2: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.

You can pay the I-901 Fee online. Print the receipt immediately and keep it with your Form I-20. If you have questions about the I-901 fee, please read the SEVP FAQs page.

Step 3: Schedule your visa interview.

Except for Canadian citizens, all international students must have an F-1 visa to study in the US. Find your nearest US Embassy or Consulate and complete the DS-160 to schedule your F-1 student visa interview. Visa interview wait times vary by embassy, so check your estimated wait time in advance. You may apply for a visa up to 120 days before the academic program start date.

Step 4: Prepare for your visa interview.

Bring your passport, I-20, financial documents, and acceptance materials with you to the interview. Because of the high number of applications, consular officers must conduct brief interviews. They usually make a decision based on impressions formed during the first few minutes. The officer may ask about your intentions or prospects for future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, and long-term plans in your home country. Keep your answers short and to the point.

During your visa interview, you must demonstrate to the consular office that you:

  • Have strong ties to your home country and intend to return home after your studies in the US
  • Have sufficient funds to pay for your financial needs while you are studying in the U.S. This includes tuition, health insurance, housing and travel expenses etc.
  • Have legitimate intentions to study full-time and gain education and training which will be useful in your home country.

Helpful tips:

  • Speak in English, if possible.
  • Listen carefully to the question asked. Answer that question only.
  • Know about South Seattle and how it fits into your career plan.
  • Be prepared to explain why you want to study in a particular program in the U.S.
  • Keep your answers short.

Step 5: Prepare for your arrival.

After you receive your F-1 visa, you can begin making housing and travel arrangements. Please review the orientation calendar to ensure that you will arrive in Seattle on time. Remember to bring your admission folder, including I-20, acceptance letter and other documents with you to orientation.

When traveling to the US, ensure that you have your passport, Form I-20, acceptance letter, and I-901 fee receipt in your carry-on luggage. You need these documents when you pass through Customs. They will not be useful to you in your checked luggage!