Getting Your Visa

Applying for F-1 Student Visa

You will receive an email notification from LWTech if you are accepted. Within 1-2 days of your acceptance, a copy of your admission letter and an unsigned copy of your Form I-20 will be emailed to you along with directions on how to receive the original admission letter and signed Form I-20. In order for you to come to the United States to pursue your educational objective, you must apply for a student visa. With the copy of your admission letter and a copy of your unsigned Form I-20 you can make your visa appointment. 

After Receiving Your Form I-20

Step 1

Verify your personal information on your Form I-20 (F-1).  Ensure that your name and birth date match your passport. If you find mistakes notify our office immediately.

Step 2

Read page 2 of your Form I-20.  On Form I-20, print and sign your name and date your Form at Number 11.

Step 3

Prior to applying for your F-1 visa you must pay the I-901 ($200 SEVIS) fee on the Unites States Immigration and Customs Enforcement website. See SEVIS I-901 Fee Frequently Asked Questions for additional F-1 visa information. 

Step 4

Schedule the visa interview, and read about preparing for your interview.

Step 5

At the port of entry into the U.S., present your passport stamped with valid visa and Form I-20 to a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Officer. The officer will review and stamp your passport with your visa status and date. Be sure to collect all of your documents and retain any additional documents given to you by the CBP Officer.

Step 6

Upon arrival at LWTech report to orientation. You must present your passport and Form I-20. The same documentation is required for any accompanying dependents. Failure to report to the school listed at Number 2 on your Form I-20 will be reported to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a violation of your immigration status.

Preparing for Your Visa Interview

To schedule a visa interview complete the nonimmigrant visa application and then schedule a Visa Appointment.

When applying for a visa with a Form I-20 from LWTech, you are applying for a non-immigrant visa. This means that you intend your stay in the U.S. to be temporary. However, the burden of proof (responsibility) lies with you to prove this. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas (F-1) are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. Each person’s situation is different, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa insurance. Below you will find some tips to assist you in preparing for your non-immigrant visa interview.

Collect All Relevant Documentation Supporting Your Trip to the U.S.

This may include:

  • Passport, valid for at least six months
  • Form I-20 (Eligibility Document)
  • Financial Support Documentation which match your eligibility document
  • Letter of Admission from Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Important: Only present what documentation is essential for the interview. Refer to the consular website for documentation your specific office requires. It should be immediately clear to the consular office the documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated.

Questions to Expect

Your visa interview is a conversation. The consular official who is interviewing you wants to hear about you and your plan, including important details about the following:

  • Your program and how it fits your career plans. You should articulate the reasons why you will study in your particular program in the United States, including why you chose LWTech. You should also be able to explain how studying in the U.S. relates to your educational objectives, grades, and long-range plans.
  • English proficiency. Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker, but do not prepare speeches. If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
  • Ties to your home country. You must be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence including: current or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc.
  • Green card lottery. If you have applied for the U.S. Green Card Lottery, you may be asked if you are intending to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was available but not with a specific intent to immigrate.
  • Past trips. If you overstayed your authorized stay in the U.S. previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation if available.
  • Employment. Your main purpose with a Form I-20 should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work on-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education.
Other Important Tips
  • Be brief. Because of the volume of visa applications, all consular officers are under pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Keep your answer s to the officer’s questions short and to the point. Only answer the question asked. If the officer poses s “Yes/No” question, simply answer with “Yes/No” but do not elaborate until asked for more details.
  • Speak for yourself. Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak for your own behalf.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Do not engage in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents or the reason for refusal in writing. This may be used to overcome your denial.
Students with Dependents
  • Dependents applying for F-2 at the same time. Be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the U.S. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the U.S. Engaging in volunteer work and attending school that is “a vocational or recreational in nature” are permitted activities.
  • Dependents remaining at home. If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

Arrival to the United States

Please read the following for more information on Navigating Customs & Border Patrol upon your arrival.

Students should plan to arrive at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (airport code: SEA) approximately 30 minutes from Kirkland, Washington.  Students must arrive before or on the Program Start Date. For example: if the Program Start Date is August 18, the student may arrive in the US up to 30 days before—the earliest date being July 19.

Directions from Seattle Airport to Lake Washington Institute of Technology

For general directions, please refer to the LWTech Directions page