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What is an F-1 Student Visa? | Admission to US in F-1 Status | How to Obtain an F-1 Visa
Travel from Philadelphia International Airport to the University | International Student Cost
Change to F-1 Student Status | Downloadable Forms | Links

What is an F-1 Student Visa?

After you gained acceptance to La Salle and were issued a valid I-20 form, you became eligible for an F-1 visa to enter the United States as a full-time student. Unless you have a special circumstance or a relationship that allows you to study under another type of visa, you are considered an F-1 student.

Under U.S. law, an F-1 student is a non-immigrant studying full-time at a government-approved institution like La Salle University to attain an educational or professional objective such as a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctoral degree. Once you have obtained your degree or certification, the U.S. government expects you to return to your home country unless you have received special authorization from the government to continue residing in the U.S.

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Admission to U.S. in F-1 Status

Although you may have received your F-1 visa sooner, international students may not enter the U.S. earlier than 30 days before the program start date listed on their I-20. When entering the U.S., you must have the following documents to present to immigration officials:

___ Passport valid for at least six months

___ F-1 Visa (EXECPT CANADIANS) issued by a U.S. Consulate. If coming for the first time, the name of the school on the F-1 visa stamp must also match the name of the school on the I-20.

___ Evidence of financial support. Copies of the same information used to obtain your visa.

___ Form SEVIS I-20 signed by the Designated School Official (DSO) and you.

After analyzing the information above, if everything is in order, the immigration official will issue you Form I-94, which is an arrival and departure record form marked with an 11-digit number. Important: Make sure that the immigration official stamps your I-94 as D/S (Duration of status) and F-1.

Keep this form with your passport until you depart from the U.S. again.

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How to Obtain an F-1 Visa (CANADIANS, see below)

Due to increased security concerns in the United States, especially for citizens from countries in sensitive areas, the requirements for obtaining an F-1 visa vary widely from country to country. Please consult the United States Consulate in your home country or in the country you plan to apply for your visa for specific details about requirements. The following checklist includes all information that may be required from you when you appear for a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate.

Links to U.S. Consulate Websites

U.S. Visa Information

Studying in the USA Resources

Required Documents Checklist (How to Obtain an F-1 Visa)

At your interview for an F-1 visa, U.S. consular officials may expect you to have the following information:

___ Form SEVIS I-20 completed and signed by the DSO of La Salle University

___ Receipt of paying the SEVIS fee:

___ Evidence of financial ability to meet expenses-bank statements, letters of responsibility from parents or sponsors in the U.S., credit card statements, etc. Please try to use the same information you shared with La Salle to gain acceptance to the university.

___ Evidence of sufficient English ability-TOEFL scores, transcripts or certificate of completion from English program, etc.

___ Evidence of intent to depart U.S. after studies-personal letter stating your future goals of returning after program completion, letter from home sponsor or parent explaining the purpose of your studies and your eventual return, etc.

___ Form DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) .

___ Form DS-157 Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application for males between 16-45 years and all applicants born in/or citizens of Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Libya. (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

___ Form DS-158 Contact Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

___ Passport style photograph, visit

___ Academic Transcripts-English translations

___ Visa fees (if applicable) visit Fees for Visa Services and Reciprocity by Country for more information

Most sources say it is quicker and easier for students to apply for visas from their home country.

Applying from Home

Most sources say that it is quicker and easier for students to apply for visas from their home country if possible.

Applying in a Country Other Than Your Home Country

International students are RARELY allowed to apply for F-1 visas from another country besides their home country if the U.S. Consulate in that country is authorized to process nonimmigrant visa applications from third country nationals. Confirm that the U.S. Consulate outside your home country will process your visa application beforehand.

Often, it is recommended that the student have some reason for being in the country like studying or working. Also note that the visa process will take longer to process because the consular officials will have to verify all parts of the application with the student's home country. International students who have not maintained status or overstayed their visas are prohibited from applying for visas outside their home country.

When to Apply

An F-1 visa cannot be issued sooner than 90 days before the program start date listed on your I-20. However, visa processing times may be lengthy depending on the time of your application. Apply as soon as possible after receiving your I-20 to avoid delays.

Canadian Citizens

The SEVIS form I-20, included with your letter of acceptance authorizes you to apply for admission at the nearest port of entry in your area (land/air/or sea). Canadian citizens do not require an entry visa to enter the United States, but DO require an I-20.

To enter the U.S. in F-1 student status, Canadians DO require an I-20 and proof of payment of the SEVIS fee. To pay the SEVIS fee, go to and follow the instructions. Be sure to make a copy of the receipt to take with you when you enter the United States.

At the port of entry, Canadian students must present the Form I-20 and supporting financial documentation to the immigration inspector to be admitted into the U.S. in F-1 status. You will be given an I-94 Admission/Departure card to complete. Be sure to look at your I-94 card before you leave the inspection area to ensure that it has the notation "F-1, D/S" written on it. Canadian students must have an I-94 card to confirm current F-1 status. If not, you are considered to be in Visitor (B-2) status, a status which does not permit study in the U.S.

Some Canadians have mistakenly assumed that regulations that apply to international students do not apply to them. Students from Canada are subject to the same regulations regarding employment in the United States, requirement for full-time study and all other provisions for maintaining status. It is especially important for Canadian students to be vigilant about entering the United States in proper student status, as immigration inspectors are accustomed to admitting Canadian citizens as visitors.

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Travel from Philadelphia International Airport to the University (

The easiest way to travel from the airport to the La Salle University is by taxi (approx. $40 plus 15% tip). There are also various private shuttle services, including Deluxe, Lady Liberty, and Supper Shuttle, which will take you from the airport. Advance reservations for these shuttle services are not required and space is limited (first come first serve). After you pick up your luggage at the luggage claim area in the terminal, go to the ground transportation desk and ask for assistance or to contact these companies directly for scheduled times. The shuttle service operator will tell you when and where to meet the van. Another alternative is to arrange in advance for a private sedan company to pick you up and drop you off on campus. You MUST contact the MIC to alert us of your arrival regardless if you are living off-campus.

If you arrive late and need a place to stay overnight, we highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express, Midtown. The hotel is located at 1305 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. This is a CENTER CITY hotel that provides La Salle students and associates with a discounted rate of $119.00.00 (per room, per night), plus tax. This is the BEST deal in town and walking distance from restaurants, historic sites and café's. You can visit or email them at You MUST mention La Salle University at the time of reservations to receive the discount.

Name of Company:                                         Telephone:
Capital Taxi                                                       215-235-2200                     
They accept both cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).
Olde City Taxi                                                  215-708-8888
They accept both cash and only American Express credit card.

Liberty Taxi                                                      215-389-8000
They accept both cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).

A fixed price of $28.50, plus 15% tip for all taxi cabs from the Philadelphia airport to (surcharges change, this is not a fixed rate) CENTER CITY ONLY!


There will be a number of taxi cabs available 24 hours a day.  Please be sure to keep in mind that taxi companies are regulated by the City of Philadelphia. Specifically, upon entry to the cab, the fee will automatically cost $2.70 and then $2.30 per mile thereafter.  The approximate distance from the Philadelphia airport to the La Salle Campus is 16.5 miles. This price will adjust slightly dependent upon the gasoline increase/decrease. All taxi drivers can be identified by their license which MUST be displayed on the window inside the cab. Please be sure to write down their information upon entry.

Limo Company:
Dave's Limo                                                        215-288-1000

You must make arrangements PRIOR to arrival to ensure the most efficient services are provided to you. Once you have received your luggage proceed to ground transportation where you will call the company. They will direct you to the pick up location.

Shuttle Services:
Shuttle vans arrive to and from the airport are contingent upon demand. The hours of operation are usually between 5:30 am and 12 midnights.  The last run from the airport is approx. 11:35 pm and is subject to availability.  No Reservations. No guarantee. Most accept cash and credit cards.

Lady Liberty                                                     215-724-8888
Go to baggage claim and dial #27 from the ground transportation desk. They do NOT guarantee availability. No reservations only first available. They accept both cash and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover).

Travel from New York's JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport or New Jersey's Newark Airport to the University

Unless you are familiar with New York City or Newark, or have friends there that can assist you, it is not advisable to travel into these cities to get the bus or train to Philadelphia. This is often more expensive and can be very confusing. While waiting, you may meet individuals who offer to drive you to Philadelphia. Do not take their offers. Always make certain that your transportation is arranged with a reputable company.

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International Student Cost

The amount of financial support students must demonstrate includes tuition, fees, the estimated cost of living in Philadelphia for the academic year (fall and spring only)-- approximately $13,000, and the estimated general university fee, cost of books and mandatory health insurance for the academic year – approximately $2,000. Undergraduate and Graduate students are required to be full-time students. Students should expect fees to increase slightly each year. A completed Certificate of Financial Responsibility is a mandatory piece of the admissions process and it must be submitted. All costs are listed in US Dollars.

Full-Time MBA
$8,850 (per semester)
Master of Arts in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies
Master of Arts in Central and Eastern European Studies
Master of Arts in Clinical-Counseling Psychology
Master of Science in Computer Information Science
Master of Science in Information Technology Leadership
Master of Arts in Education
Master of History
Master of Arts in Professional Communication
Master of Arts in Theology/Ministry
Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Speech-Language Hearing Science
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Undergraduate (see Note #1 below)
Living On-Campus
Living Off-Campus
$32,500 per year
$32,500 per year
$420 per year
$350 per year
$1,000 per year
$1,000 per year
$1,000 per year
$1,000 per year
If you will live on-campus
(see Note #2 below)
add $13,000 for housing, meal plan, fees, & living expenses
If you will live off-campus
add $13,000 for living expenses
  1. For nursing programs, there will be additional costs depending on your course schedule.  Please see your tuition statement for further information
  2. Based on double-room occupancy and 14 Meal Plan Plus $250 flex; actual cost may be higher
Exchange Student per semester
TUITION Covered by agreement
FEES Covered by agreement
BOOKS $500 per semester
On-campus expenses
(estimated, depending on room size and meal plan selection, see Note #2 above)
$7,500 per semester for housing, meal plan & living expenses
TOTAL $8,500 for semester

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Change to F-1 Student Status

An individual who legally resides in the U.S. with another visa may apply to USCIS for a change of status from their current status to F-1 Student in order to attend La Salle University on a full-time basis.


The following visa holders are prohibited from changing status to F-1 while in the U.S.:

• M-1 Students

• C, D, and K visa holders

• J-1 physicians admitted to receive graduate medical evaluation or training

• J visa holders subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement

• WT and WB visitors admitted under the Visa Waiver program

B-1 and B-2 visa holders have entered the U.S. on a visitor visa. As long as the visa has a "prospective student" notation on it, they may apply for and have a strong chance of their application being approved F-1. Other B visitors may experience some challenges in proving that they entered the U.S. without prior intent to study. The approval is completely contingent upon the Adjudicating Officer at USCIS

NOTE: B visa holders may not begin attending classes until their change of status has been approved. In addition, you must apply for the Change of Status from B1 or B2 Visitor to F-1 student within 30 days of the expiration of your Visitors status. Applications sent before 30 days will be rejected and returned to you.

Required Documents Checklist (
Change to F-1 Visa Status in U.S.)

Student cover letter explaining why you want to change to F-1 Status. Reference I-539   Application to extend or change nonimmigrant status in the subject heading of your letter.

• Complete Form I-539 which can be found on the USCIS website,

$300 Application Fee (payable to Department of Homeland Security by   personal check, money order, or cashier's check)

• You must also complete form I-901 and pay the required SEVIS processing fee, which can be   done on-line at:

ORIGINAL Form I-20AB requesting a Change of Status

• Copy of Form I-94, Passport, and all other immigration documents

• Photocopy of financial support documents used to gain acceptance at La Salle University

• Letter from the International Education Coordinator

• Letter of acceptance in the program and the prospective dates you will attend the university

• Photocopy of class schedule if already registered for classes

• Gather all of this information, make photocopies for your records, and make an appointment   with the International Education Coordinator PRIOR to sending your application:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Attn: I-539 Application Enclosed
Vermont Service Center
75 Lower Welden St.
Saint Albans, Vermont 05479

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Downloadable Forms:
Undergraduate — Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form Word Document
Exchange Students — Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form Word Document
Graduate — Certificate of Financial Responsibility Form Word Document
Transfer Form (Incoming Student) Word Document
Campus Map

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For more information regarding Prospective Students, click on the link below:

Resource Links

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