Students outside the U.S.

If you are a new student currently in your home country, please follow the instructions on this page. This information, and your I-20 form, will also be sent to you after you are accepted by Shoreline.

1. Check your I-20

The welcome packet we sent you includes an important document called an I-20. You will use this document is used to obtain your student visa. It is very important that you check the document to make sure there are no errors. If there is any error, please contact us immediately.

Please check the following:

  • The spelling of your name.
    • SURNAME/PRIMARY NAME & GIVEN NAME - Your name on the I-20 document must match the way your name is written on your passport, but without special characters, such as a hypen (-) or a letter with an accent mark (é). For example, if your name appears in your passport as Chia-hao, your name will appear on your I-20 as Chia Hao; if your name is José, it will be Jose.
    • PREFERRED NAME - (optional) If your name as it appears in your passport contains special characters, it may appear here with those special characters.
  • The country of birth and country of citizenship
  • The program start date

2. Check the expiration date on your passport

The final date on your passport should be at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States.

3. Pay the SEVIS fee

This is a fee required by the U.S. government and must be paid by student visa applicants before the visa interview. For information and to pay the fee electronically, please go to the official SEVIS fee website at  When you pay the fee electronically, remember to print out the receipt. You will need to take the receipt to your visa interview.

4. Get your F-1 student visa

To apply for a student visa, you must

  • Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160
      • You must: 1) complete the online visa application and 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview
      • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
  • Pay the non-refundable visa application fee ($160), if you are required to pay it before your interview
  • Schedule an interview
      • You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live; you may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence
      • Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early; review the interview wait time for the location where you will apply
  • Prepare for your interview: Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview
    • Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).
    • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
    • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
    • Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160; if the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements
    • Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form I-20
    • Additional documentation may be required: Review the instructions for how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish that you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
      • Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study 
      • Financial document to show how you will pay all educational, living and travel costs 
      • Your academic records, such as:
        • Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended
        • Standardized test scores if you have any (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS);Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
  • New Students – F-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.
  • Continuing Students - May renew their visas at any time, as long as you have maintained student status and your SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before their classes start.

We recommend that you go to your local U.S. consulate or embassy's website for specific requirements and procedures for visa applications at that consulate. You can find a list of US consulates and embassies worldwide at:

5. Prepare to travel

  • Call your airline. Once you have your student visa, you are allowed to enter the United States 30 days prior to the start date on your I-20 (Item 5 on I-20) which is the first day of International Student Orientation. Please contact the airline to make sure you will be able to arrive before this date!
  • Send your homestay application to ABODEor USA International. If you are planning to stay in a homestay, we recommend that you send in your application, placement fee and deposit as soon as possible. Please see application materials included in your admission packet. More information is also on the the housing page.
  • Fly to Seattle. Worried about jet lag? Jet lag is the effect you feel after flying for a long time and going through many time zones. Drink plenty of water and try to sleep on the airplane. Once you arrive, try to stay awake until your new bedtime in the United States. Hopefully this will help you adjust more easily.
  • You can find some very useful information about how you can prepare yourself for entering the U.S. on the official Study in the States website.

6. Attend orientation

Attendance of the International Student Orientation is mandatory. You will learn about planning your academic path and learn everything you need to know about Shoreline to succeed in your classes and on campus. All new students are required to attend orientation.

7. Begin classes!

Please see your acceptance letter for the date of the first day of classes.