Before You Arrive

After you’ve been accepted to Bethel, we recognize there’s a lot you need to do to get ready for your time in the U.S.

Obtain a Student Visa

One of the first steps is to apply for your student visa.

  1. Find out visa requirements.

    Contact US Embassy/Consulate for visa requirements in your home country.

    J-1 exchange students receive scholarships from the government in their home country and are usually subject to return to their home country for 2 years after completing their program in the U.S.

  2. Start compiling the documents you will need in order to obtain a visa.

  3. Schedule a visa interview.

    Make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate for a visa interview. You are allowed to apply for your visa 90 days before the program start date, which is indicated on your I-20.

    The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for a visa. Applicants must demonstrate that they meet student visa requirements including:

    • Acceptance at a school
    • Sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study
    • Prepared for the course of study
    • Intention to leave the United States upon program completion
  4. Pay your SEVIS fee at least 3 days before your visa interview.

    Pay your SEVIS fee online at least 3 days before the visa interview. You must have received your I-20 in the mail from Bethel before you can pay the fee because you must enter the SEVIS ID (located in the upper right corner of the document, above the barcode, on the SEVIS form).

  5. Check that you have all necessary documents before your interview.

  6. Do not make travel arrangements until after you receive your visa.

Contact Bethel

Let Carol Chang know the result of your visa interview as soon as possible so that she can get you signed up for the Friendship Family Program. This is a program that will pair you up with a host family here in Minnesota.

Arrange Airport Pick Up

Learn about your airport pick up options and make arrangements for when you arrive.

Plan for Minnesota Weather

Learn about our climate here in the Midwest so you can get prepared before you arrive in Minnesota.