Visa Application Process

Important Information on the Student Visa Application Process

This page provides information on the U.S. student visa process for those of you outside the United States, who have not yet obtained your student visa or will soon be applying for one. If you have already obtained your F-1 visa to come to Diablo Valley College, congratulations! We look forward to seeing you here for the mandatory check-in session.

If you are outside the United States and have not yet applied for your student visa, please plan to do so as soon as possible. Many of the US embassies and consulates worldwide, have long waiting lists for individuals needing visas of all kinds. In your case it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive for the mandatory check-in session you will select online.

We strongly suggest that you visit the EducationUSA office nearest you for information and help on how to obtain an F-1 Visa in your country.


What to Bring with you to the Visa Interview

Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:

  • passport
  • required photo(s)
  • visa fee or proof of visa fee payment
  • U.S. non-immigrant visa application form
  • Proof of SEVIS fee payment (SEVIS fee detailed information)
  • Diablo Valley College admission letter
  • Diablo Valley College SEVIS I-20
  • academic records (from high school and college -if applicable)
  • proof of financial support
  • Any other documents required by the embassy or consulate. 

Remember that if you plan to attend Diablo Valley College, you must present the visa officer with a SEVIS I-20 issued by Diablo Valley College. You cannot apply for a U.S. visa using another school's I-20 and then try to attend Diablo Valley College as that is considered to be a fraudulent entry by the U.S. Immigration authorities.

Strategies for the Visa Appointment

The following are potential areas that you may be questioned about when interviewed by the consulate representative:

  1. You must be definite and clear about your educational plans. You should be able to explain precisely what you wish to study and why you chose Diablo Valley College for your education. If your intent is to transfer, emphasize that your goal is to get a Bachelor’s degree and that Diablo Valley College has excellent transfer rates to universities across the US. Diablo Valley College continues to be the number one transfer school to UC Berkeley.
  2. You should have some idea what school you want to transfer to. Be especially prepared to explain reasons for studying in the United States rather than your country.
  3. Demonstrate convincing reasons for consular officials to believe that you intend to return home after studies in the United States. Emphasize ties to your home country such as employment, family obligations, property or investments that you own or will inherit, and clear explanations of how you plan to use your education to help your country or pursue a career when you return home.
  4. Be prepared to prove financial ability to pay for your education and living expenses. Since students may not plan to work to support themselves, you must show the consular officer that you have the annual amount in United States dollars listed on your I-20 form.
  5. You must have financial evidence in the form of bank statements, affidavits of support, scholarship award letters, etc.

For more information, please visit the Study in the States website.

Visa Denial or Visa Delay

Visa Denial

Although we know that many students are granted their visas to study in the United States a certain number of students may have their visa applications denied. 

The most common reasons for visa denial-

  • Failure to prove sufficient ties to your home country.
  • Failure to provide sufficient evidence of financial support.
  • Failure to convince the consulate representative that the community college is the best choice for you.

The visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa denial. If your visa is denied, please fill out our  Cancel/Defer I-20 form and provide the date and location of your visa interview, and details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for the denial.

Visa Delay

Much more common than a visa denial is a visa delay. This is why it is so important to apply for your visa early! Here are some of the most common reasons for visa delays:

  • Closings or reduced hours at U.S. visa issuing posts abroad due to security concerns (for example, the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Jakarta, Indonesia were closed due to credible terrorist threats).
  • Closings or reduced hours at U.S. visa issuing posts abroad due to political instability in the host country.
  • Student’s record does not appear in the SEVIS system at the U.S. embassy or consulate, even though the student presents a SEVIS I-20. If you are told that your record does not appear in the visa officer's SEVIS system, immediately contact the International Student Office at DVC and provide the date and location of your visa interview. We will contact the appropriate authority to have your SEVIS record re-submitted directly to the location where you have applied for your visa.
  • The need for a security clearance prior to visa issuance if the visa applicant is determined to be pursuing a "sensitive area of study" as indicated on the State Department's Technology Alert List used by the consulate.
  • The need for a security clearance prior to visa issuance if the visa applicant is male, between the age of 16-46 and a citizen of or born in one of the "special registration" countries (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen).
  • The need for a security clearance for any non-immigrant visa applicant male or female, age 16 or older who is a national of or permanently residing in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria. These individuals will not be issued visas unless the applicant can show evidence that he or she is not a threat to U.S. national security.
  • The new U.S. Department of State requirement that all applicants for non-immigrant visas be interviewed. This new policy is less of a problem for visa posts in Asia and Africa that have generally interviewed all visa applicants, but could be a very big problem for U.S. visa posts in Europe and South America, which have traditionally not interviewed all visa applicants.

To mitigate the problems of visa delays due to security clearance requirements, the State Department has announced that it will make a maximum effort to try to approve student (F-1) visas prior to the start date on a student’s I-20, and urges students to apply for their visas at the earliest possible date to avoid such problems.

Similar to a visa denial, the visa officer must verbally inform you of the reason for the visa delay. If your visa is delayed, please send an e-mail message to and provide the date and location of your visa interview, and details regarding the reason given by the visa officer for the delay. Please note that if your visa is delayed so that you will not be able to enter the US by the first day of class you will be required to defer your attendance at Diablo Valley College to the next term.

Useful Resources for Additional Information

For more information regarding student visas please visit: