Visa/I-20 - Timeline
I Have my I-20, now what?
Step 1: Getting your visa - The most interesting part
You will need to make an appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate in your country of citizenship or permanent residence. This cannot be done without first receiving your I-20 form. You will need to take all of the necessary documents (originals) that you prepared for Admission to the Embassy as follows.
A current valid passport (if Canadian not required to have a visa)
A SEVIS Form I-20 for the F-1 visa (you are holding a SEVIS I-20 if there is a barcode on it)
Your Northwest Missouri State University acceptance letter
Certified evidence of financial support for your education and other expenses
Two passport size photos
Non-immigrant visa application forms (DS-156, 7, 8 etc. varies by gender and country)
Visa fee in the currency accepted by the US consulate/embassy
Transcripts of your previous education
TOEFL, GMAT or GRE score sheets
I have my visa, now what?
Step 2: Plan your housing and send health forms
Exchange students are encouraged to live on-campus. All first time freshman (year 1 of Bachelors Degree) students under 21 years old are required to live on Campus!!! If you choose to live off-campus, it will be difficult to find apartments when you arrive in Maryville.
Send your Residential Life Form (Required for all freshmen)
Send Health Form along with application packet. Fill out the health form and bring with you to when you arrive at Northwest
Planning your trip
Step 3: Planning your trip & reserving airport pickup
Arrival days for the fall are always the Tuesday and Wednesday before the first day of class. Arrival days for spring always fall on the Wednesday and Thursday before the first day of class.Please contact the IIC for summer arival days by e-mailing us at
Please arrive during those days - there is no advantage or cost saving by coming early, but you must NOT arrive AFTER these days.
Arrival dates to be announced!
Spring 2011 January 6
Summer 2011 Contact the IIC
Fall 2011 August 24
Spring 2012 January 5
- Contact your travel agent and get your tickets for Kansas City International Airport, Missouri (Airport Code: MCI). This is the nearest airport to the University. **NOTE** F-1 students may come 30 days prior to date in Item 5 of your I-20.
- There are several Ports of Entries (POE) to the USA. The best direct flights to Kansas City exist from Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, and Newark. TRY NOT to arrive in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Miami, Washington DC or Detroit because there are few, if any, direct flights. You should fly to Chicago or Minneapolis as it is the nearest city to MCI if you are arriving from Europe, South East Asia, and East Asia. If you are arriving from Mexico, Central America or South America, you should fly to Dallas.
- Please reserve your airport pick up with us (arrival days only - see above). Give us all flight numbers, airline names, and arrival times as soon as you have your tickets (airport pick up reservation form).
Things I need to bring to the U.S.
Step 4: Documents to bring with you to Northwest Missouri State University
- Official Transcripts
- International drivers license (Optional)
- TOEFL, GMAT or GRE score sheets
- Health form completed
Step 5: Pack your bags
Remember that there is a 23kg/50 lbs max per bag - and 1 checked bag are allowed per passenger plus a laptop bag
Bring clothing to suit extreme temperatures depending on your arrival time. Click
HERE to get an idea of how the weather will be in Maryville.
Step 6: Flying and Immigration Check
- Always keep money, your passport, and tickets with you at all times while traveling.
- On the flight to the USA, the flight attendant will hand you a white card (I-94 form) and blue form. Please fill these forms out, as they are needed when you land.
- Once you land in the United States you will have to pass through immigration.
- This is where you will need to show your passport, both pages of the I-20 copies and the I-94 from that you filled out.
- The officer will ask you a couple of questions about your stay and then will stamp your I-20, (give you back your SEVIS I-20) and give you back the I-94 card.
- Verify that the stamp reads F-1/D/S (Duration of Status) on the I-94 before you leave the immigration checkpoint.
- Make sure you have the stamped copy of your I-20.
- DO NOT THROW AWAY your I-20 or I-94.
Step 7: Pick up your baggage and continue to Kansas City
After you clear immigration, collect your bags from the carousel, go through customs and give your blue form to the officer, and take them to be rechecked for your connecting flight.
Go to the gate where you will fly to Kansas City.
Once you reach Kansas City International Airport, look for people holding a sign, which either displays your name or reads "Northwest Missouri State University." (If you have properly notified us) You will have to pick up your bags from the airport baggage claim and again check it in for your next flight to Kansas City.
You will be taken to your respective residence hall.
Step 8: Orientation Report to the Intercultural International Center
Please report to the front desk for your check-in and registration process.
Mandatory exchange student orientation begins that day for all students new to Northwest. You will be guided through registration and informative sessions throughout your orientation process.