How to Apply for an F-1 Visa

Updated on September 25th, 2023


In order to apply for your F-1 visa, you must first have an I-20 issued by Berklee for this year's Aspire: Five-Week Music Performance Intensive.

Timing Your F-1 Visa Application

Once you have your I-20 in hand, we encourage you to begin the F-1 visa application process as soon as possible. Visa appointment wait times vary by city and country and may grow as the summer approaches. 

How to Apply for Your F-1 Visa

1. Review and Sign Your I-20 upon Receipt

Upon receiving your I-20 from Berklee, please review it and immediately report any errors to, if necessary. Do not make any edits yourself.

  • Page 1: Sign your I-20 on page 1 on the line provided in the section titled Student Attestation. Note that if you are under 18 years of age, your parent/guardian must sign above the second line in this section.
  • Page 2: No action is required. This should be blank.
  • Page 3: Read the section titled Instructions to Students.

2. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

The US government requires all new students who will seek entry to the US in F-1 status to pay a SEVIS fee. The fee is currently $350, but is subject to change at any time without notice.

To pay the fee, go to and take note of the following tips and information.

  • Name: Be sure to write your name exactly as it appears on your I-20
  • SEVIS ID: This number is unique to your current SEVIS record can be found above the bar code at the top left corner of your I-20
  • School Code: Berklee's school code is BOS214F00041000

Print a copy of the online receipt, and be sure to keep it with your other important immigration documents. You will need to present the receipt at your visa interview as proof of payment.


3. Complete the DS-160 Visa Application

Find your local US embassy or consulate in the online directory at Follow the instructions on your local embassy or consulate's website to begin your DS-160 visa application. The fee for the DS-160 is currently $185, but this fee is subject to change at any time without notice.

Additional Resources:

Be sure to print the receipt of payment and confirmation page.


4. Schedule a Visa Interview Appointment

After completing the DS-160, you will be able to schedule your visa interview appointment. It is generally recommended that you apply for a visa in your home country, if possible.


5. Attend Your Visa Interview

Be prepared to present the following documents at your visa interview:

  • Your original, signed I-20
  • Your passport (must be valid for at least six months beyond your program start date)
  • Your Berklee College of Music enrollment letter
  • Your I-901 SEVIS fee payment receipt
  • One recent 2" by 2" headshot photo (eyeglasses are not permitted)
  • Your DS-160 confirmation and receipt of visa fee payment
  • Copies of each document you submitted as part of your I-20 Request, including:
    • Your I-20 Request Form
    • Your Sponsor's Letter: Statement of Financial Support
    • Proof of funding (e.g., a receipt of full payment, a bank letter/statement, and/or an award letter

Upon completing your interview, be sure to take all of your documents with you. Do not leave your I-20 with the consular officer.


6. Receive and Review your F-1 Visa

After your visa is approved and your passport is returned to you, check the visa for accuracy. If the information is not correct, it must be changed at the embassy or consulate that issued your visa.