TO GET A STUDENT VISA
What is an I-20?
An I-20 is a three-page document that is issued by SEVIS-certified schools for international students planning to enter the U.S. It is proof that a student has been admitted to a SEVIS-recognized school, and allows the student to apply for a visa (including F-1) at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. It contains several "blocks" of information that include:
1. Personal information (name, date of birth, and nationality)
2. Information about the school you will attend, your field of study, level of study
3. How long it should take you to complete the program
4. Your proficiency in English
5. Total cost of attending the school
6. Sources of income/sponsorship while you are in the U.S.
7. Date by which you must enter the U.S.
8. A SEVIS barcode along with a SEVIS identification number
What is SEVIS?
SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. It tracks and monitors schools and programs, students, exchange visitors and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation within the U.S.
What is an F-1 visa?
An F-1 student visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign students to enter into the U.S. to attend a full course of study at colleges, universities, conservatories, academic high schools (subject to strict regulations) and institutions with language training programs.
How do I qualify for an F-1 visa?
Please refer to the U.S. State Department Student Visa guide: Qualifying for a Student Visa
What can I do after I get an F-1 visa?
On an F-1 visa, you may:
1. Come to the U.S. as a full-time academic or language student enrolled in a SEVIS-recognized program of study.
While you are enrolled in a SEVIS recognized program in the U.S, you may:
1. Transfer from one SEVIS approved school to another or switch academic programs.
2. With school’s approval, you may qualify for on-campus employment. Off-campus employment is also possible at schools where practical training is offered.
3. Re-enter the U.S. during the validation of the visa, or remain in the U.S. until the completion of your studies.
How do I get an F-1 visa?
For information on how to get an F-1 visa, please refer to the following link: Student Visa > How to Apply
What can I do if my visa request is denied?
If your visa application is denied, make sure to request an explanation of the reason for denial at the Embassy or Consulate, and also ask about the re-application procedures.
What is an I-94 Form?
An I-94 is a form used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to denote the arrival/departure of foreign citizens with nonimmigrant status.
You will receive an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record when you enter the U.S. It is a white form, usually stapled inside your passport. Your visa status and the duration of your visit are located on the form. It also has a number that the Immigration Office will use to keep track of your records, so make sure you do not lose it. Every time you leave the U.S, you should submit current I94 upon departure. However, if you travel to Canada, Mexico, or to certain adjacent islands for 30 days or less, you should keep your current I-94 form.
What is “Duration of Status”?
For information on “Duration of Status”, please visit the following link: U.S. Visas > Admission to the United States and your Duration of Stay
What is an affidavit of support?
It is a form that your sponsor signs, promising to support you financially during your studies and your stay in the U.S.
How long does it take to get a student visa?
For information on how long it takes to get a student visa, please visit the following link: Student Visa > Schedule an Interview. The amount of time to obtain a visa varies and is affected by many factors.
Do I have to go to the embassy or consulate to get a visa?
Every country has different requirements. You must check with the American embassy in your country for the latest information. Currently, all F-1 visa applicants in all countries must have an interview. You can call the U.S. Embassy in your country to make an appointment for this interview.
What should I bring to the embassy or consulate?
For information on what to bring to an embassy or consulate, please refer to the following link: Student Visa > Gather Required Documentation
When can I arrive in the U.S. with a student visa?
You may arrive up to 30 days prior to the Program Start Date as indicated on your I-20.
If I don't get a visa, can I get a tuition refund?
Yes, if your visa application is denied, and you decide to not re-apply, any amount of deposit you put toward tuition will be refunded.
IF I ALREADY HAVE A VISA
When must I renew my F-1 visa?
If you decide to travel outside of the U.S., and your current F-1 visa will expire before you re-enter the U.S., in order to continue your program, you must renew your F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
If I am in the US and my visa expires, what can I do?
F-1 students are allowed to remain in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa provided that they are maintaining their status and that their passport and I-20 are valid. Although you may remain in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa, you will need to renew your F-1 visa if you decide to travel abroad. You will need a valid F-1 visa in order to re-enter the U.S. Students needing to apply for a new visa during a trip abroad should inform the DSO (Designated School Official) before travel.
How long can I stay in the US after I graduate?
F-1 students have a 60 day grace period starting from their completion date of studies. Students are allowed to stay in the U.S. during this period. Any transfers between schools or application for a change of status must be done during this period.
Is a student’s parent eligible to obtain an F-2 visa if he/she wants to come and stay in the U.S?
No. An F-2 Visa is for the student's spouse or any unmarried children under 21, not for his/her parents.
What is a transfer?
A transfer takes place if a student wishes to change from one SEVIS-certified school to another. Each school has its own rules and regulations, but usually you will have to complete your current term before transferring and give your school advanced notice. Your current school will require that you provide a transfer form and acceptance letter from a SEVIS-certified school.
How do I transfer to Bluedata?
If you are currently studying at another school, you can transfer to Bluedata upon meeting our admission requirements (see Admission > Transfer Students). Please contact a Bluedata school agent for more information.
How long will it take to transfer from another school to Bluedata?
In general, a transfer will be complete as soon as the previous school releases the student’s SEVIS record to Bluedata, the student submits the required documentation, and the student registers for class.
CHANGE OF STATUS
What is a change of status?
A change of status is for when an individual applies for his/her status category to be changed from one to another. For example; from a tourist visa (B-1 or B-2) to a student visa (F-1, J-1, or M-1). If you are currently in the United States as a temporary worker, diplomat, exchange visitor or any other non-immigrant classification (EXCEPT Visitor in WT or WB status) and you wish to take a course of study over 18 hours per week, you will need to change your visa to a student visa.
How can I apply to change my status?
For information on changing your status, please refer to the following link: Change My Nonimmigrant Status
Bluedata can only help you if you want to change your status to F-1 visa status.
What is a visa-waiver?
The United States has agreements with a number of countries to waive the need for a visa for business and leisurely travel. Nonimmigrant students cannot enter using the visa waiver program. A non-immigrant who enters the United States using the program is not allowed to stay for more than 90 days and cannot change to another nonimmigrant status.
Please see Admission > Change of Status Students for more details.
What does "in-status" mean?
In-status means you are in good standing at your school and meet all the requirements to be an F-1 student.
What does "out-of-status" mean?
Out-of-status means that you are not meeting the requirements to be an F-1 student. For instance, you may not be enrolled as a full-time student, you may have a job outside the school, etc.
What happens if I am "out-of-status"?
There are two ways to deal with an "out-of-status" situation. You can either seek reinstatement with the USCIS or go back to your own country immediately. If you have finished your school program and do not plan to extend your course, you can only stay in the US for 60 days before returning to your home country.
What is reinstatement?
An F-1 student who has overstayed his or her authorized period of stay or has otherwise failed to maintain an F-1 student status may be reinstated to a lawful F-1 status at the discretion of a USCIS District Director.
Does Bluedata Reinstate?
Yes, Bluedata helps with reinstatement. For information about eligibility, please contact the school.
For more details, please call (212) 683-6250
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