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Degree-Seeking Students Pre-Arrival Steps

Pre-Arrival Steps

Upon acceptance to UNCW, all international applicants who want to have UNCW sponsor their F-1 visa are required to:

  • Submit a completed I-20 application. You must apply using your UNCW account credentials (username without ""). 
  • Copy of Passport Biographical Page
  • Proof of Financial Support. Documents submitted must meet these requirements:
    • Dated no older than 6 months
    • The total amount of funding (bank statements/letters, scholarships, graduate student funding, etc.) you provide must equal or exceed the cost of attendance listed below.
    • Bank statement or letter from your bank must be in English and must include:
    • account holder's name
    • funds/balance currently available
    • currency in which the funds are displayed on the document(s)
    • If a bank statement or letter is not in the student's name, a Sponsorship Letter, signed and dated by the account holder(s), is also required. You can access the sponsorship letter template here.
    • Scholarship Award Letter, if applicable.
    • If you are a graduate student who has been awarded an assistantship or other financial support from your academic department, follow the instructions in the I-20 application to send the additional F-1 Graduate Student Funding form to your graduate department advisor to complete.
    • Total funding must be equal or greater to the 2023-24 UNCW Cost of Attendance.

Once you complete the I-20 application process and have received your signed I-20 from UNCW, you will need to apply for the F-1 visa:

1. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee

All students must complete U.S. government form I-901 and pay the fee associated with this application. You must show your I-901 receipt when you apply for your visa and when you enter the U.S. More information is available on the I-901 SEVIS Fee website.

2. Apply for an F-1 visa stamp

All students, except citizens of Canada, must apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of the U.S. if they do not already have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport. It is recommended that you apply for the F-1 visa in your home country whenever possible.

  • Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160)
    • Documents required to complete the DS-160 include:
      • Passport
      • Travel itinerary, if you already have it
      • Dates of previous travel to the U.S.
      • Your SEVIS ID number listed on your form I-20
      • UNCW School Code: listed in the School Information section on page 1 of the I-20
  • Schedule a Visa Interview Appointment: Visa application processes vary by embassy. For specific instructions, check the S. Embassy or Consulate websitewhere you will be interviewed. You can check visa appointment wait times on the U.S. Department of State website.
  • Attend your Visa Interview
    • Documents to Take to Your Interview
      • Form I-20
      • UNCW Admissions letter
      • Proof of financial support - you may use same documents you submitted with your I-20 application.
      • I-901 SEVIS Fee payment receipt
    • Additional Documents
      • In addition to the required items above, you may also choose to bring additional documents as evidence that your stay in U.S. will be temporary and that you plan to return home at the end of your academic program. Additional documentation may include:
      • Proof of a residence in your home country
      • Family business in your home country
      • Spouse or children staying in home country
      • Please note:It is impossible to specify all of the documents you may need to provide at a visa interview appointment as applicants' circumstances vary greatly. Check the S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will be interviewed for their specific requirements.

3. Enter the U.S. and check-in with OISS.

International students who want to attend UNCW in a legal status other than F-1 student (e.g., H4, E2, L2, etc.) do not need to submit proof of financial support or the International Student Data Form. They must provide a copy of their current visa.
UNCW ELC students who have been accepted to a UNCW degree program must work with OISS so that they can issue them a new I-20 reflecting the change of degree level.

If you are currently attending another institution in the United States as an F-1 student and are transferring to UNCW, you will need to complete the form I-20 application for UNCW and have your F-1 SEVIS immigration record transferred from your current school to UNCW. F-1 students are required to have an I-20 issued by UNCW to attend classes at UNCW in lawful F-1 status.

  • F-1 code is: University of North Carolina Wilmington ATL214F10513000
If you are currently in the U.S. in another visa classification (e.g., H-4, L-2) and want to change your status to F-1 student, be prepared for this process to take several months up to a year. Please contact OISS as soon as possible to discuss the Change of Status process.