Congratulations on your acceptance to Blackburn. There is no other college or university in the United States quite like Blackburn College. Our unique campus culture is the byproduct of the purposeful melding of our nationally acclaimed student-managed Work Program and rigorous liberal arts academic curriculum. The result is a unique living laboratory for learning where the boundaries between job and classroom are blurred, and mentoring from faculty and staff who really care about you. The following are the next steps for you to get ready to come to Blackburn College.
An acceptance packet will be sent to you containing your acceptance letter, Financial Aid Award and your I-20 form. Please note: International Students who are transferring from another college or university that currently has an I-20 / F-1 Student Visa must contact that college/university’s International Student Services Office (P/DSO) and request a transfer of their I-20 to Blackburn before we can update and issue your new I-20. Students who are applying for their F-1 Student Visa for the first time, please follow the “getting your F-1 Student Visa” instructions below.
Financial Aid Award – in order to receive the award offered to you, you must accept it. One copy of the letter is for your records. The other is to be sign, dated and returned to our Financial Aid Office. Please be aware to receive and keep the International Student Award, a student must participate in Blackburn’s Work Program. Please read, sign, and return the printable .pdf of the Work Program Agreement form.
Reserve your housing (residence hall) at Blackburn All International students are required to reside on campus in one of the college’s six resident halls. Exceptions include students accompanied by dependents; students 21 years of age or over; and students who have senior academic standing.
You are required to pay a $150 tuition deposit, payable to Blackburn College, before you are assigned a room. For more information about Blackburn’s residence halls and completing the housing request form (roommate questionnaire) is available on our website. You will be notified of your assignment and roommate. Click here to complete the housing request form.
Submit Immunization Records To ensure the health of our students, the State of Illinois requires students born on or after January 1, 1957, and who are registering at any college or university, to present evidence, signed by a physician, of immunity against measles – mumps – rubella (MMR – 2 doses), tetanus, diphtheria and meningitis. Failure to provide such evidence will result in your departure from the institution.
Work Program Application needed for participation in the Work Program Blackburn students who reside on campus are required to participate in the college’s student-managed work program. You can find more information about Blackburn’s Work Program and the Work Application can be found at on our website. Click here to complete the Work Program Application Form.
Pledge of Compliance
Compliance to immigration rules and regulations is critical in maintaining legal status in the United States. International students are responsible for knowing the policies and procedures for F-1 students. Failure to comply can result in deportation. Please read, sign, and return the attached Pledge of Compliance with U.S. Immigration Rules and Regulations form. Click here for a printable .pdf of the Pledge of Compliance form.
Registering for Classes
You will be contacted by an Admissions Representative when the registration period for the next term opens. You will be required to complete the New Student Enrollment Form prior to registering for classes and the Admissions Representative will assist you with your course selections.
I-20 Form and getting your F-1 Student Visa
STEP 1: Receive your Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status – Form I-20
This form is a very important document as you are required to present it when applying for your F-1 student visa. Upon receiving your I-20, you should make sure that the name and date of birth appears exactly as it does on your passport. If not, contact Blackburn Designated School Official (P/DSO) to make any needed corrections.
STEP 2: Complete an I-901 form and pay SEVIS fee
Regulation requires all prospective F-1 students to register and pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee before a U.S. Embassy or Consulate can begin your visa process (approximately $200 USD). Go to https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/ for complete information about paying your SEVIS fee. Follow the instructions carefully. For even more information, you may also visit http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students/.
Once the fee is paid, an I-797 receipt confirmation should be issued to you. The I-797 is another important document and you will be required to produce this receipt during your visa interview.
STEP 3: Apply for Your Visa and Schedule Your Interview
All nonimmigrant visa applicants worldwide must use the online DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form, go to https://ceac.state.gov/GENNIV/ to complete the required application forms and pay the fee (approximately $160 USD). Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application and received the confirmation, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by an Embassy/Consular officer, and to schedule an interview. You can find a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates at http://www.usembassy.gov/, with links to their websites where you can find information about scheduling a visa interview appointment. If the Embassy or Consulate at which you apply informs you that you must have a visa interview, the visa application process cannot be completed until you appear for the interview with an Embassy/Consular officer.
Prepare for your interview
These documents are required for visa Interview, have these items ready to present. NOTE: Keep these documents in a safe place, you will need them again!
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of your study in the U.S.
- I-20 form and the I-797 payment receipt of SEVIS fee
- DS-160 confirmation letter and a passport size photograph of yourself
- Blackburn College acceptance letter
- Academic Credentials – Copies of all high school/secondary school or college transcripts; copies of your English Proficiency Test results (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) if English is not your native language.
- Evidence of Financial Resources – Financial documents showing proof that you have the necessary funds to cover cost of tuition and living expenses during your stay; Affidavit of Support for Sponsors and their bank statements, if applicable.
During your interview, you will be asked a variety of questions to determine whether or not you should be granted a visa. The questions will pertain to your ties to your home country, family relationships, English language skills, academic background, the program in the United States to which you have been admitted, and proof of your financial ability. Refer to the ‘F-1 Visa: Frequently Asked Questions’ section at the end of this document to see the type of questions you may be asked.
Once you are granted a visa, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will add a visa sticker with your photo to your passport. Please note: a country reciprocity fee may apply. The visa sticker allows you to enter the U.S. Be advised that even if you are granted a visa, it is up to the immigration officials at the United States Port of Entry to let you into the country and to determine the length of stay.
If you are denied a visa, be sure to ask questions to determine the reason for the denial. Then visit the United States Department of State website at to learn more about the process. It is not uncommon for a person to be denied a visa and later granted the visa after scheduling another interview.