Student Visa (F-1/M-1)
Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. Visit the Department of Homeland Security Study in the States school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.
When you are accepted by the U.S. school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The U.S. school will provide you with a Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1/M-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students (Form I-20) to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. If your spouse and/or children intend to reside with you in the United States while you study, they must obtain individual Form I-20s, but they do not pay the SEVIS fee. Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1)
Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a J-1 visa, you must first apply for and be accepted into an exchange visitor program through a designated sponsoring organization. Visit the Department of State J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program website to learn about program requirements, regulations, and more.
When you are accepted into the exchange visitor program you plan to participate in, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Most J-1 Exchange Visitors must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019. After your program sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system, a SEVIS-generated Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (Form DS-2019) is provided to you. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and minor children, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Each person receives a separate Form DS-2019. Visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website to learn more about SEVIS and the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
Instructions to Apply
Step 1. Fill out the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
All applicants are required to complete the DS-160 application form online. Enter your name, date-of-birth, and passport number correctly or your interview appointment will be delayed. After you fill out the form, you must out print the confirmation page to 1) use the confirmation number to schedule your appointment and 2) to bring the confirmation page of DS-160 to your interview.
You do not need to pay a travel agent to fill out this free form. Document translations are not required we will tell you at the interview if any translated documents are needed. Please be advised that some travel agencies are incorrectly telling nonimmigrant visa applicants that they need translated copies of bank documents, birth certificates, school records, etc. This is false. Do not waste your money with expensive and unnecessary translations of your birth certificate or any other documents – our employees speak and read Arabic and Kurdish.
Step 2. Make a Visa Appointment
All visa interview appointments are scheduled through the Embassy’s online appointment system:Baghdad NIV Appointment SystemErbil NIV Appointment SystemYou will enter your DS-160 confirmation number.Appointments are free and you should not pay anyone to make the appointment for you.Do not make more than one appointment for the same visa interview we will delete duplicate appointments and we may inadvertently delete the one you planned to attend.Appointments are offered on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and some Wednesdays. The Consular Section is closed on some U.S. and Iraqi holidays.
New Students – F-1 and M-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 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.
Continuing Students – May renew their visas at any time, as long as they have maintained student status and their SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before their classes start.
Exchange Visitors – Exchange visitors beginning new programs may not enter the United States more than 30 days before their program start date.
Step 3. Pay the Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Fee at the Bank of Baghdad
All applicants must pay the visa application fee at the Bank of Baghdad before the interview. You are required to bring the original signed, white copy of the bank receipt – the yellow copy is your copy, it will not be accepted, and you will be required to reschedule the appointment if you do not bring the correct, original signed, white copy to the interview appointment.
NOTE: U.S. government sponsored exchange visitor (J visa) applicants and their dependents are not required to pay application processing fees if participating in a Department of State, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), or a Federally funded educational and cultural exchange program which has a program serial number beginning with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 printed on Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. U.S. government sponsored exchange visitor (J visa) applicants and their dependents are also not required to pay applicable issuance fees.
Step 4. Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee Online Via Credit Card Payment
Regulation requires all prospective F and M students and most J Exchange Visitors to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit FMJfee.com to access the SEVIS Form I-901. Watch the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment video to learn about each step of the payment process.
Step 5. Take Your Visa Photo
You are required to bring one photograph that meets Department of State requirements: Click here
Step 6. Appointment Confirmation
If you successfully printed out the appointment confirmation page, and if you did not schedule duplicate appointments, your appointment is confirmed.
The Consular Section will not respond to email requests for appointment confirmation.
Step 7. Access to the International Zone and U.S. Embassy Baghdad
Two to three days prior to your visa interview appointment, you will receive by email an access letter that you must print out to use to access the International Zone and the Embassy. The Consular Section will not respond to email requests for access letters
You will receive your access letter prior to the appointment.
Step 8. Your Visa Interview: What You Must Bring
- The DS-160 application form confirmation page.
- One photo.
- The white, signed Bank of Baghdad visa fee receipt.
- Your passport.
All Student Visa (F-1/M-1) and Exchange Visitor Visa (J-1) applicants should collect the following:
- Student (F-1/M-1) visa applicants should also bring their Form I-20 and proof of SEVIS payment.
- Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa applicants should also bring Form DS-2019, proof of SEVIS payment if applicable, and Form DS-7002 if participating in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories.
- Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa applicants should also bring Form DS-2019, and Form DS-7002 if participating in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories.
Additional Documents – Student Visa Applicants:
Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of your academic preparation, such as:
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
- Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.
Additional Documents – Exchange Visitor Visa Applicants:
Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified. For example, additional requested documents may include evidence of:
- The purpose of your trip;
- Your intent to depart the United States after your trip; and/or
- Your ability to pay all costs of the trip.
Step 9. What Not to Bring to the Visa Interview
- Expensive, unnecessary, translated documents. Please do not pay visa agents to translate or prepare documents for you. We do not need to see invite letters.
- An unrequested, unnecessary DHL slip If you qualify for a visa, you will be asked to submit a DHL shipping receipt after the interview
- Heavy jewelry that will slow or halt metal detector screening
- Bulky purses or bags that will slow you through the security screening
Step 10. After the Interview
If you are refused a non-immigrant visa, we understand you are disappointed, but the adjudication was made in accordance with U.S. law. We strongly recommend not re-applying for a non-immigrant visa for at least six months.
If you are approved a nonimmigrant visa issuance, and if your visa does not require administrative processing, please email a DHL Shipping Receipt to BaghdadNIV@state.gov.
Approved Visas Pending Administrative Processing
If you are approved a non-immigrant visa issuance, and your visa requires administrative processing, please be advised it can take up to one year for the administrative processing to conclude. You may check the status of your visa online: Visa Status Check. The Consular Section will not respond to requests for updates on administrative processing.