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: Applying for Student Visa
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: How Long May I Stay on my F-1 Visa?
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 does it take to get a student visa”, please visit the following link: Applying for a student visaThe 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: 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.