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Office of International Studies and Programs

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Phone: +1-509-963-3612
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Central Washington University
Office of International Studies and Programs
Hebeler Hall 102
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7408

New F-1 Students

Once you have been accepted to Central Washington University, you will be contacted by the Office of International Studies and Programs regarding documents needed to create your I-20. The I-20 is used to apply for an F-1 student visa.

To obtain this document from CWU, you will need to submit the following documents to We encourage students to submit their documents as soon as they have them, so that we can create their immigration document as quickly as possible.

  • A copy of your passport (Passport must be valid 6 months beyond the expected stay in the US)
  • A completed Confidential Financial Statement (Ellensburg/Centers). If full or partial funding is coming from personal sources other than yourself (for example, family or friends), each person who will provide your financial support must sign the Confidential Financial Statement.
  • Proof of liquid funds available in the amount of at least one academic year (Must have been issued within 90 days prior to submission.) The amount that needs to be shown is dependent on your academic level (undergraduate or graduate), and on the location where you will be studying. Further financial breakdowns can be found on the Confidential Financial Statement.

Acceptable financial documentation:

  • Bank statements
  • Cash deposits, certificates of deposit, savings accounts
  • Investment statements
  • Business bank statements
    • Must be accompanied by a letter on letterhead stating the financial guarantor has signatory authority on the referenced account
  • Scholarship letters
  • Lines of credit
  • Government funding

When your I-20 is ready, it will be sent to you through email. The electronic I-20 is your official I-20 document. You will need to print the I-20 out and sign (pen-to-paper) at the bottom of page 1. Your parent or guardian will need to sign your I-20 too, if you are under the age of 18.


After you have received your I-20, you will need to pay the (I-901) SEVIS fee, and complete the DS-160 form. Your SEVIS number is the 10-digit number listed at the top, left hand side of your I-20 and begins with 'N00'. Keep the receipt from the SEVIS fee payment, as you will need it at your visa appointment. Once you have paid the SEVIS fee, and completed the DS-160, you can then schedule your visa appointment within 365 days before your program begins, at the nearest US embassy or consulate in your home country.

As of September 14, 2021, the US Department of State has announced a temporary provision allowing students who are citizens of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), to attain their F-1 visa without an in-person interview in a US embassy or consulate. Additionally, students who were previously issued an F-1 visa stamp, and have never been denied a visa, may also be eligible to apply for a new F-1 visa without having an in-person interview. Students can check at their local US embassies to enquire if they are eligible to apply for a visa without an interview.


  • Acceptance Letter from CWU
  • Form I-20 (issued by CWU)
  • Confirmation Page of Form DS-160
  • Valid Passport
  • 2” x 2” photo of yourself (see requirements)
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt (
  • Financial evidence proving you or your sponsor have sufficient funds to cover your studies. Evidence should match the 'Financials' section on page one of your I-20
  • Academic records, transcripts and/or diplomas from previous schools attended
  • Standardized test scores such as Duolingo TOEFL or IELTS (if available)


Upon approval or denial of your application for an F-1 student visa, please notify


  • You can enter the country up to 30 days prior to your start date listed on your I-20.
  • Hand carry all documents and have them ready for the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer when you arrive to your port of entry. Do not place your documents in your checked luggage!
    • A valid passport
    • A valid Form I-20 issued by CWU
    • A valid F-1 Student Visa
    • Receipt of I-901 fee payment
    • CWU Acceptance Letter
  • Check your entry stamp in your passport to ensure you have been admitted as an F-1 Student.
  • Covid-19 travel requirements entering the US:
    • Starting on November 8, 2021, you will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the U.S.
      • The CDC has determined that for purposes of travel to the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and World Health Organization (WHO) emergency use listed (EUL) vaccines.
      • You can be considered fully vaccinated ≥2 weeks after receipt of the last dose if you have received any single dose of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO EUL approved single-dose series (i.e., Janssen), or any combination of two doses of an FDA approved/authorized or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 two-dose series (i.e. mixing and matching).
      • For anyone traveling to the United States who cannot demonstrate proof of full vaccination, you must meet the criteria for an exception
      • You can visit the CDC’s website for further details.

Great Resources for F-1 Students:

Study in the States: This is a great resource for potential F-1 students as well as current F-1 students. It has information on applying for visas and maintaining status in the United States.

SEVIS I-901 Fee: Where you pay your SEVIS I-901 fee.

U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services: This website has information regarding working in the United States as an F-1 student, updates on immigration rules and regulations, and application forms.

Visa interview tips: If you are nervous about your visa interview, read this article for some helpful pointers. Additionally, you can book an online apointment with the SEVIS Coordinator for specific questions about the visa interview.

How to get your I-94: This website allows you to print off your electronic I-94 card. This card is generated once you have entered the United States. If you entered by crossing the border (from Canada or Mexico) you may have received a paper I-94.

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