There are many things to prepare in advance of your arrival at DigiPen, some of which will take time to process — so be sure to begin your planning well in advance. In addition to complying with governmental regulations and applying for a visa, there are several everyday concerns and logistics you should be ready for, some of which we outline below.
SEVIS and SEVIS Fee
What is SEVIS?
As an international student with an F-1 visa you will become part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). SEVIS is a national tracking and monitoring system that allows the U.S government to monitor and track various events during your program of study. DigiPen Institute of Technology is required to provide the following information about you through SEVIS:
- Your name
- Date and place of birth
- Country of citizenship
- Status (enrolled, not enrolled)
- Date of commencement of studies
- Degree program and field of study
- Practical training
- Termination date and reason
- Documents related to your admission
You will learn more about SEVIS during orientation after arrival. However, before you enter the U.S. you need to understand that, once you have arrived, you must be committed to following all the rules related to your status. Any violations of status will be reported to the U.S. government. Students who do what is required of their status will not be greatly affected by SEVIS.
Before applying for an F-1 visa, you are required to pay a $200 fee, called the “SEVIS fee,” to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Individuals who are not required to obtain a visa (Canadian students) are required to pay this fee before entering the United States. The fee can be paid by mail, using Form-901, by credit card, or through the Internet and should be made payable to the Department of Homeland Security. If your visa has been denied, you do not need to pay the fee again if you re-apply for the same visa within nine months of the denial.
You will be required to pay this fee if:
You are seeking an F-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate for initial attendance at a university or initial participation in an exchange program. The fee must be paid before applying for the visa.
You will enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status, but are not required to have a visa. The fee must be paid before you apply for admission to the U.S.
You are applying for a change of status to F-1 or J-1. The fee must be paid before you submit your change of status application.
The fee is not required:
For F-2 dependents
If your immigration status is F-1 and you are transferring to another school, program, or program category
If you are requesting an extension of your program or course of study
If you paid the fee but your application for an F-1 visa was denied and, within nine months of the denial, you re-apply for the same status
For a change of status application between F-1 and F-3
Applying for a Visa
Students living outside the United States must obtain a passport from their government, and then take the I-20 sent by DigiPen and any supporting documentation to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for an F-1 visa. Apply for the visa as early as possible. F-1 students may enter the U.S. as early as 30 days before the start date noted in line 5 of the I-20. Students transferring to DigiPen Institute of Technology from another school must report to International Student Affairs as soon as they arrive.
Communication with DigiPen
Make sure that you have completed everything you need in order to come to DigiPen. Admissions, the Registrar, Financial Aid, Student Affairs, and other departments may require additional information from you at any time from your acceptance to your arrival date. Continue to check your email regularly and verify that your mailing address is accurate. You are responsible for all information sent to you from DigiPen.
Preparing for the United States
As an international student, there are several important things you should consider before your arrival: