USA Study Visa Rules for International Students
The United States classifies any student who resides in another country without a valid US citizenship as an international student. That said, if you’re applying to study in the USA, here are key things you should know before getting a Study Visa.
International students are required to possess a visa to enter the US for any length of time and most times, that is an F1 visa. We are going to break down the process of getting the needed visa documents ready and make your journey even easier than it’s usually described.
Before an international student is granted a student visa, he or she must have gained admission to a recognised institution in the US. As part of the admission package, the institution sends a document called an I-20 form, which is the application for an F-1 visa. The F1 Visa is the most popular/ common visa issued to incoming students into the USA who are coming to the USA to study on an academic program or to come to learn English as a Second Language.
On the other hand, if you are an exchange student, the organisation or U.S. Government agency sponsoring your study sends a DS-2019 form, which is the application for a J-1 visa.The J1 Visa is issued to students who need to have practical training as part of their academic program. Once you’ve confirmed that your details are correct on any of the forms, the next step is security clearance and the visa interview.
Visa applications are done on the http://www.usembassy.gov/ webpage assigned to your country. The website calculates wait times for you and preferences might be given if your degree starts at a rather close time, but you’ll need to explain this at your visa interview. Your visa might be issued 120 days before the time shown on your I-20 or anytime in the case of DS-2019s. You will need to pay certain fees for your visa application. First is the $200 SEVIS fee, for the computer system used to record your stay in the United States which must be paid at least three days before the date of your visa interview. Another fee is the $160 for the visa application fee paid at the bank of the embassy’s choosing. On your interview day, a copy of your SEVIS receipt will be needed.
Non-immigrant visas into the USA are only issued to people who have filled out the DS-160, which must be duly completed and a printout brought to your visa interview. Those unable to upload their photo to the form which is filled online must bring it along with them to the interview.
Your visa interview is the fourth, final and most crucial step in getting to study in the USA. First rule here is to apply early. This needs emphasising. Usually, you are advised to apply 3 months before your studies begin or even before you travel. At the interview, just like with most interviews, your interviewer wants to get to know you better as it relates to your educational and professional goals and why you have selected the US for your studies. It is very important to be prepared and know exactly how to convey what your ambitions at the institution that has admitted you are and what you plan to do when you leave. Definite answers help a lot. You also need to be able to explain your grades if they are low and say how you plan to cope with the US education system. Let’s outline so general helpful guidelines.
- Dress formally
- Arrive on time
- Give definite answers
- Be honest with those responses
- Bring all your necessary documents
Source: US Embassy Nigeria Facebook Page
You can check your application status here https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx
One of the most important documents is your financial document. This shows how you plan to pay your way through school and live in the US. Interviewers view financial support documents from family, employers or scholarship body as being stronger. It is also necessary to show how the money in the account is made; thus a supporting letter or breakdown. Sadly, you might be denied for not providing adequate information here. In the case of visa denial for this or any other reason, you can appeal and be sure to provide any other specific information that has been asked of you.
Best wishes with your application.
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