The majority of international students at NEC will require a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status (SEVIS I-20 form) and an F-1 student visa to study at NEC. 

To obtain the I-20 form, you must follow the below steps:

  • Receive an acceptance letter from NEC
  • Confirm attendance at NEC through submitting the Candidate Response Form and Tuition Deposit
  • Submit the Certification of Finances (COF) form along with appropriate bank statements.  This form verifies that you have the financial support to fund your studies at NEC.  It is included in your acceptance packet.
  • Once your file is completed, you will receive the I-20 form via express mail service from NEC.

The below information is for students who have obtained the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status (SEVIS I-20 form) and are now ready to move forward in obtaining the F-1 student status. 

  • Read over your I-20 form.  Please make sure that the spelling of your name and your birthdate match your passport exactly.  If there is anything wrong, notify the International Student Services office immediately.  If everything is correct, please complete item 11 on page 1.
  • Make sure that your passport is valid.  The expiration date must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you intend to remain in the U.S.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee.  The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security require proof of payment of the SEVIS fee before issuing a visa.  In the packet enclosed with your I-20 form, you will receive specific instructions on how to pay the SEVIS fee and if you might be exempt.
  • Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule your F-1 visa appointment.  Citizens of all countries, except citizens of Canada, are required to be in possession of F-1 visas to enter the U.S. to study.  You must schedule this appointment in your home country, with the exception of citizens of Cuba, Syria, Sudan, and Iran.  Please see http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors_info_additional4.html for more information.  All documents required to obtain your F-1 visa are found on the U.S. Consulate's webpage: http://www.usembassy.gov/.  In addition to the Application for Nonimmigrant Visa (Form DS-160), please be prepared to submit an application fee, passport photo, valid passport, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status (I-20 form), proof of paid SEVIS fee, admission letter from NEC, and original financial documents to support your studies.  
            Please be prepared to discuss in your visa interview your study plans and your intentions to return home after your studies are completed.  You might be required to show documentation that proves you have strong ties to your home country and that you plan to return home after your studies are completed.  If you have questions on this, please contact International Student Services at NEC.
  • Travel to the U.S. and apply for "admission" to the U.S.  Once you obtained your F-1 student visa, you are ready to travel to the U.S. to begin your studies.  You are allowed to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to your program start date, listed on the front page of your I-20 form.  During your trip, you will receive a small white card called "Arrival Record/Departure Record (Form I-94).  Please don't lose this card!

    Carry the following documents with you in your carry-on luggage and be prepared to submit these to the U.S. Immigration Officer
                 - SEVIS I-20 Form
                 - Valid passport with valid F-1 visa inside (Except Canadian citizens)
                 - Proof of SEVIS fee

    Carry these documents in case the immigration officer asks to see them.
                 - Admission letter from NEC
                 - Original financial documents and COF Form
                 - Documents to demonstrate your intent to return home after your studies

    If all is well and the immigration officer "admits" you into the U.S., he/she will stamp your passport and create an electonic I-94 record if you travel by air or by sea. If you travel by land (car/train/bus) through a bordering country, you will be given an paper I-94.  When you leave the inspection area, please make sure you have all your documents and belongings with you.

    Caution: Please be sure to enter the U.S. in F-1 student status.  Do not enter the U.S. on a B-1 or B-2 visitor visa or in WT or WB status through the "Visa Waiver Program".  It is unlawful to pursue full-time study in the U.S. under these classifications.  It is difficult and sometimes impossible to change your immigration status to F-1 once you are in the U.S.

For any questions on obtaining your I-20 form or F-1 student visa, please contact the International Student Services!


IT'S LIKE AN ACT OF MURDER; YOU PLAY WITH INTENT TO COMMIT SOMETHING. DUKE ELLINGTON