U.S. Immigration Procedures

US Visa Procedures:

Upon receiving your deposit and confirmation to enroll at Albion College, the College will mail to you an I-20 or DS-2019. The I-20 is sent to degree-seeking students to obtain an F-1 visa and the DS-2019 is sent to exchange students and native speakers to obtain a J-1 visa.

After you receive the I-20/DS-2019:  

  • Check the document for accuracy, and if correct sign and date the form.  If there are errors, contact the person who signed the form.
  • Use the "SEVIS ID number" found at the top right of the form to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule a visa appointment.  Note:  visa processing times can range from 1-6 months, it is smart to apply early.
  • Visit your country’s U.S. Consulate or Embassy website to learn about their visa application procedures, processing times, and required supplemental documents.  

Tips when applying for a Student Visa

Preparing to travel to the U.S.: 

The following documents are required/ recommended when coming to the U.S. and requesting an F-1 or J-1 visa status. Bringing these documents will minimize the risk of delays, additional questions, or denial at the U.S. port of entry.


  • Valid passport with an expiration date that is at least six months beyond the date you will re-enter the U.S.
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa   (Canadian citizens are exempt of the visa requirement)
  • Original and updated I-20 or DS-2019


  • Official or unofficial transcripts
  • Albion College catalog description of your major
  • Proof of financial support

At the US Port of Entry:

If you are missing any of the required documents when you are entering the U.S. you may be allowed to enter the U.S. temporarily. USCIS may issue you a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor.” If you receive an I-515A it is important that you respond in a timely manner. If you do not properly respond, you are at risk for status termination.

After arrival, review your immigration record by logging into the CBP I-94 site.  This will tell you your immigraiton status, and the length of time you are allowed to stay in the US.  

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers have the authority to search any and all electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops brought into the U.S. at a port of entry. In addition, CBP also has the authority to search the social media accounts of individuals entering the US if deemed necessary.

If you miss a connecting flight or have difficulty when in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, contact Albion College at 517/629-0392 during the day, or if it is after 5 p.m. call Albion College Campus Safety at 517/629-1234—a Campus Safety representative will then get in touch with our Designated School Official.