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Student Visas

Most non-U.S. citizen students who plan to attend the University of Tennessee need an F-1 Student visa. The F-1 student visa allows students to pursue a degree in the U.S. at the University of Tennessee. There are several steps you must take in order to receive an F-1 student visa and begin your studies.

International Student Life Cycle


How do I get admission?

Admission is the first step on your educational journey. Admission units will help you complete the admission process to the degree of your choice.

For undergraduate admission, visit

For graduate admission, visit

For English as a second language admission, visit

Once your admission has been processed, you will receive an admission letter. The admission letter means that you are ready to proceed to the next step. We cannot issue you any immigration documents until you have your admission letter.

What are the financial requirements for a visa?

It is very important that you understand the financial requirements for a visa. Part of the process is certifying that there is adequate support for you to pursue your program of study. Cost of attendance can change from year-to-year, and there are serval important things to plan for. We have the current financial requirements listed at Required Funding for Visa Sponsorship.

How do I get a form I-20?

The form I-20 is used to apply for an F-1 (student) visa. We will issue you the form I-20 after you have been admitted and submitted the necessary documents to us. In order to issue a form I-20 we need the following:

  1. a copy of your passport;
  2. a copy of your admission letter;
  3. confirmation of finances;
  4. documentation for any dependents (spouses or children) that are coming with you.

This information is submitted to us through your iVols portal. We have created a guide to help you through the submission process.

Getting the Correct Documents for Immigration 

How do I pay the I-901 fee?

After you receive your form I-20, you will have a Student Exchange Information System (SEVIS) identification number. This number starts with the letter “N,” and is at the top left corner of your form I-20.

You must now pay the I-901 fee at the official government website This is a requirement for all form I-20s issued. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has created a tutorial video that will step you through the process.

If you have questions about the payment or how to transfer a previously paid fee, see I-901 SEVIS Fee FAQ for help.

How do I apply for a student visa?

Once you have received your form I-20 and paid your I-901 fee, you are ready to apply for your visa. To begin the visa application process, visit the U.S. Department of State Student Visa website. The visa approval process can take some time to be completed. While you are waiting on your visa approval it is important to continue planning for your arrival in the U.S.

We have a guide that will help you navigate the visa application at Applying for a Visa.

There are several tips for applying for a visa available here.

If you have received a visa denial or have been placed in Administrative Processing, please see our page on Visa Denials, Delays, and Administrative Processing.

What information do I need to know before I arrive in the U.S.?

While you are waiting for your visa approval, it is very important that you complete everything that you need to do on the Pre-Arrival Checklist. This ensures that you are ready to begin your program of study successfully!