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What to Know About New Student Visa Guidance

May 2, 2023

On Feb. 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of State announced that consular officers can issue an F or M student visa up to 365 days in advance of an international student’s Program Start Date. Previously, student visas could only be issued up to 120 days before a student’s Program Start Date. 

Students can still only enter the United States 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on their Form I-20, “Certificate Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” Both students and school officials should ensure the following prior to a student’s arrival at a U.S. port of entry:  

  • Students have an active I-901 SEVIS Fee payment on the Form I-20 that they are traveling under.
  • The name of the school on the Form I-20 matches the name of the school on the visa.
  • Student financial information remains up to date in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.
  • Students do not attempt to enter the United States more than 30 days in advance of their Program Start Date.

This new guidance does not change the requirement for issuing Forms I-20 in SEVIS, paying the I-901 SEVIS Fee or seeking admission into the United States.

Additionally, the State Department published a final rule on March 28, 2023, to announce an increase to certain nonimmigrant visa application processing fees, including student and exchange visitor visa fees. The cost for student and exchange visitor visas will increase from $160 to $185 starting May 30, 2023.

Read the frequently asked questions for important reminders related to the I-901 SEVIS Fee, student financial information and more. For more information on applying for a student visa, visit the Student Visa page on

Related Tags: Students, Form I-20

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