After admission

You're almost here... 

Here are the steps to acquiring your visa and some places you can stay while applying.

Quick Links:

 Qualifying for a Student Visa
Transferring your SEVIS Record
Applying for Your F-1 Student Visa
Payment Options
Arrival Information And Assistance

Do I need a student visa to study at KCAI? 

If you decide to apply to the Kansas City Art Institute and you are accepted, you will need to obtain an F-1 Visa to come to the United States; this is true for both degree-seeking international students as well as exchange students. The F-1 Visa is a non-immigrant, full-time, student visa that allows foreigners to pursue education in the U.S. These visas are only granted to students who have been formally admitted to a U.S. academic institution.

The spouse and/or child(ren) of an F-1 visa holder may be granted an F-2 dependent visa. F-2 visa holders are prohibited from any form of compensated employment. F-2 minor children may attend public schools.

Qualifying for a Student Visa

The Immigration and National Act is very specific with regard to the requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for the student visa. The consular officer will determine whether you qualify for the visa. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate that they properly meet student visa requirements including:

  • Have residence abroad, with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence
  • Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study
  • Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.

Applying for a Student Visa

As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing time information for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate worldwide is available online at, and on most embassy websites. Learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy specific instructions, and more by visiting the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. You can find the embassy or consulate that will service you by visiting

Spouses and Children

Applicants with dependents must be able to provide proof of their relationship (e.g., marriage certificate, birth certificate) to the embassy or consulate.

More information, and more, can be found online at

You can find Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) information regarding the F-1 Visa at If you speak Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, or Portuguese you may select your native language from the drop down box and the topic areas will be displayed in your language of choice.

Already in the U.S. on an F-1 Visa?

Transferring your SEVIS Record

If you are already in the United States on an F-1 visa studying at another school, you will need to have your SEVIS Record transferred to KCAI after the completion of your current semester/term with them.

Why can’t I just get a new Initial Attendance I-20 from KCAI instead?

Your F-1 visa is tied to the SEVIS ID number on your current I-20. To maintain your valid F-1 status, you need to keep this SEVIS ID number. When you transfer your SEVIS Record to KCAI we will have access to the correct SEVIS ID number and will then be able to issue an I-20 with the SEVIS ID number that matches the one on your F-1 visa stamp. If the SEVIS ID numbers do not match, you will be denied entry/re-entry to the U.S.

You will need to ask a DSO at your current school to complete KCAI’s Transfer-In Form: Download here. You will need to present a copy of your KCAI admission letter with this form so that they may verify that you have been officially admitted. Once the Transfer-In Form is completed, please have it returned to KCAI’s International Studies Coordinator. It can be submitted by mail to Emily Lambdin, Kansas City Art Institute, 4415 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1874, by fax to 816-802-3480, or scanned and sent as an email attachment to

  • Please note that you must arrive at KCAI and check-in with the International Studies Coordinator within 15 days of your SEVIS Release Date in order to maintain your valid visa status.
  • Your SEVIS Record must be in ACTIVE status in order to be transferred. If your SEVIS Record is Completed or Terminated, please ask your DSO to contact KCAI’s International Studies Coordinator.

Applying for Your F-1 Student Visa

Applying for a U.S. Student Visa 1.

  1. Sign the front page of your I-20 and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F-1 student visa appointment. Please visit for more information.
  2.  Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee. See for information about this fee. All individuals applying for a student visa pay this fee unless they have paid it with a recent prior admission. The SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt will serve as proof of your payment. You may pay this fee online; be sure to print a receipt. This is a $200 fee.
    See below for more information
  3. Obtain and complete a student visa application form. This form is available at the information counter of the U.S. Embassy/Consulate or on-line at
    • Because the requirements to apply for a U.S. visa differ from country to country, you should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country to obtain specific visa application information.
    • On-line at you can obtain detailed U.S. visa information for your country.
    • Many U.S. Embassies/Consulates now take approximately four (4) to six (6) weeks to process student visas. Have any fees you need to pay with you when you go to the Embassy/Consulate.
  4. Go to the Embassy/Consulate or follow the mailing instructions given by the Embassy or Consulate to apply for a student visa. Along with the completed visa application, you must also bring or mail the following items:
    • The original I-20 form and the admission letter sent by KCAI.
    • A nonrefundable visa application fee. See payment instructions on the application form.
    • A passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond your intended stay in the U.S.
    • Original school transcripts and public examination certificates, including a student copy of your TOEFL/ IELTS score report, if applicable.
    • Original documents of your sponsor's most recent salaries or tax forms. If you are producing fixed deposit certificates, you must provide evidence that your sponsor has had this money in deposits for a reasonable amount of time.
    • One set of all financial documents (Bank Verification).
    • Any evidence that demonstrates strong ties to your country or any other residence outside of the USA.
    • All other documents listed on the visa application.

You may find the following tips to be useful when applying for a student visa:

  • You must be honest when completing your visa application.
  • You must prove that you have sufficient funding to cover the entire cost of your education during your first year of study (and adequate funds for each subsequent year of study).
  • If you are coming to KCAI on Exchange, you must prove that you have sufficient funding to cover the expenses listed on your I-20.
  • You should provide as much financial documentation as possible to the Embassy/Consulate (such as detailed bank statements, property records, letters from you or your parent's employers, etc.).
  • You must have a clear educational goal in mind when you apply for a visa. It is important for you to know about KCAI. If you have any questions, contact us. The consular official will be looking for specific information about how you decided to attend KCAI. What process did you follow? Why did you choose KCAI over other institutions? Reasons may include but are not limited to: degree programs available; financial assistance, low cost of living expenses and tuition; location (metropolitan city but not a big city like Los Angeles, New York, etc.); you may have a friend who is currently enrolled; you might have met a faculty or staff member from KCAI. Think about all of this and anything else and be prepared to respond to the questions. In addition, you must have a clear employment objective when you return to your home country.
  • If the Consular Official believes that it is your intent to immigrate to the U.S. rather than return to your country after your studies are completed, your visa will be denied. This is one of the major reasons for visa denials.
    • You should not be discouraged if you are denied a visa. If you are denied a visa, the consular officer will notify you in writing of the specific reason. You then should reapply for a student visa when you can submit the needed items or documentation.

Form I-901 and the SEVIS Fee

The following information (and more) is found at:

Form I-901

You will need to complete a Form I-901 with information from your Form I-20 and pay the required fee. The SEVIS I-901 fee is $200. You can fill in the Form I-901 online at

Payment Options

You can pay your fee by credit or debit card if you are submitting your form online. If you pay by credit or debit card, you should print out a receipt if you need one immediately and cannot wait to receive a receipt through the mail.

You can pay by international money order or check drawn on a financial institution in the United States and payable in United States currency.

Checks are accepted subject to collection. If the bank on which it is drawn does not honor the check, you will be charged a $30 fee You may also pay through Western Union.

* If you fill in the Form I-901 online and choose the option to pay by check or money order, you will be able to print a payment coupon. There is a control number on the top of the coupon. Write the control number, your name and your SEVIS ID number on your check or money order and attach the coupon.

* If you use a paper Form I-901, write your SEVIS ID number and name on your check or money order and attach the form before sending it in.

Record of Payment

There are two records of payment:

*Electronic payment information kept in the SEVIS I-901 fee payment system
*A paper receipt

You will get a paper receipt in the mail for all payments. You can also print a paper receipt immediately if you file online and pay with a credit or debit card.

Arrival Information And Assistance

Kansas City International (KCI) Airport is served by large airlines including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Midwest Airlines, United Airlines, Continental Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Please make sure that Kansas City is your final destination (the airport code is MCI).
For transportation from the airport to KCAI, there are a number of methods available:

Super Shuttle:
The cost for ONE-WAY transportation on a Super Shuttle is approximately $21.00 USD, plus tip. Additional passengers on the same trip are discounted. All major credit cards, cash and International Travelers Checks are accepted. You can arrange for the KCI Shuttle to pick you up by calling 816-243-5000 or you can make a reservation online at:

The cost for ONE-WAY transportation via taxi is $60 to $80 USD, plus tip.

Hotels Near KCAI:

  • If your housing in Kansas City is not immediately available, you may wish to stay in an area hotel until you are able to move in.
  • Best Western Seville Plaza Hotel, Tel: 816-561-9600, 4309 Main Street, Kansas City, MO
  • Holiday Inn Express-Westport/Plaza, Tel: 816-931-1000, 801 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO
  • Holiday Inn, Kansas City, Tel: 816-753-7400, 1 East 45th Street, Kansas City, MO

The Average cost per night at a local hotel will be $75 to $100 USD

Explore the KCAI Viewbook

The Kansas City Art Institute's viewbook provides an overview of KCAI's academic programs,  students, faculty, alumni and campus. Download the viewbook here  (PDF)

Financing options

Ninety-five percent of students at KCAI receive some type of financial aid. Find out more about how to make attending KCAI a reality.

Virtual Advisor

Have questions about KCAI? Find the answers here.

Visit KCAI

The best way to know if the Kansas City Art Institute is right for you is to experience it. Schedule a tour today.