Students living outside the United States have to go through the same experience of finding the right college and applying to college if they decide to study at a US university; But international students not only have to be accepted by the US university, but also have to obtain permission from the US government to live and study in the United States. Although the process is relatively simple, obtaining the permit requires good planning and preparation. Read on to learn the basics on how to apply for a US student visa.
The Process of Admission to a University Center
Before you can apply for the visa, you must know which university center you will attend.That is, similar to what students in the United States do, international students must study college options, apply to several of them, and be admitted to at least one of them. But, unlike these, international students must be able to show the college that they have chosen that they can afford all tuition and living expenses while they are studying in the United States.Depending on the college you choose, financial aid or scholarship-based grants for international students may be available, however, you still need to have a well-planned and documented financial plan for the years you plan to study at U.S.
Once you have been accepted and the college is convinced that you can support yourself, you will be sent the I-20 form. This form documents that you have been offered entrance to the university center and the center is convinced that you have the financial resources to study in it. The document will also indicate the “date to person”; That is, the date on which they anticipate their arrival at the university center to begin classes.
The I-20 form is one of the main documents that are necessary to apply for your student visa.
Documents and More Documents
Once you receive the I-20 form from the college, it is time to collect the other documents you will need to apply for the visa. Students who plan to pursue a two- or four-year academic curriculum must apply for an F-1 visa.
You need several documents to apply for the visa:
- The I-20 form, which you will receive from the university center.
- The DS-156 form, available on the US Department of State’s website, http://evisaforms.state.gov/, and the DS-158 and DS-157 forms (for Which you can get at your local US embassy or consulate.
- A passport that is valid for at least six months (a longer term is preferable).
- A photograph of him passport size.
- The receipt that proves that you paid the fee to process the visa. How to pay the rate varies by country, so be sure to get the details of your local US embassy or consulate.It may be that in some countries you can pay the fee at the consulate.
Although the above documents are the only official documents you need to apply for the visa, you also need to collect the documentation to support certain aspects of the visa application process.
The Three Important Questions You Should Answer
The application for your visa, documents supporting your application and your interview with a consulate official (see below) should work together to answer the following questions:
- Are you really a student?
- Do you intend to return to your home country after attending college?
- Do you have enough money to support yourself while you are in the United States (without getting a job, which is illegal for nonimmigrant students)?
Remember that, under US law, the job of the consulate official is to find grounds to deny you the visa. Officials are bound to assume that you are attempting to immigrate to the United States permanently. Your job is to show them the opposite.
The documents needed to answer the above questions may differ depending on the country and its situation, but these may include all or any of the following:
- Your academic record to date.
- Copies of the grade obtained in the standard tests you have taken (SAT, TOEFL, GRE, etc.).
- Letters of admission and grant of economic aid by the American university.
- Financial documents, such as your bank statements or those of your family, copies of income tax returns that show your income or your family and statement of any investment you intend to use to fund your studies.
- Documents showing all scholarships or monetary aid from other sources (monetary aid from the university center, government grants or other organization, external scholarships).
- Registration of registrations or licenses or other business documents, if you or your family own a business.
- Evidence that you intend to return to your home country, such as a company statement that you will be taken into account to offer you a job or that you have been offered a position once you finish your studies in the U.S; Proof that you have assets in your home country, or anything else that shows you have strong links in your home country.
If you are not sure of the documents you need to bring, talk to your high school counselor, the person in charge of the international students at the university or someone from the US Consulate.
All visa applicants must have an interview with an official of the US embassy or consulate.Different consulates may arrange the interviews differently, so check with the consulate well in advance.
In addition, US embassies and consulates in some countries are very busy and may have a long waiting period for visa interviews. It is a good idea to check with the consulate when you begin the application process to enter the university center, even before receiving the I-20 form in case your consulate has a waiting period. Some countries may have a waiting period of months; Others can set the interview fairly quickly.
During the interview, consular officials will ask you a series of questions about your college curriculum, finances, and career after you attend college. Again, they are looking for any reason to believe that you are not really a student and that you are trying to stay in the United States illegally, or that you will not be able to stay financially in the United States.
The best way to succeed in the interview is to get well prepared. Think carefully about your answers to some of the following questions:
- Why do you want to study in the United States?
- Why did you choose this college or university?
- Why did you choose that branch of specialization? What type of work will you prepare for this branch of specialization?
- How will you prepare for a job in your country to study in the United States?
- What things have you been involved in that show your commitment to your home country?
- How will you pay for college tuition and living expenses in the United States?(Remember: Students with an F-1 visa are not allowed to obtain work in the United States, except in special circumstances.) So you can not count on the income you receive for working to pay for your studies and your expenses while in the college).
- Other questions about the United States, its curricula, its career plans and its finances.
You may want to practice your answers with a counselor or friend. Be courteous and answer short and precise answers. Most interviews last for less than five minutes, so the short answers are the best.
Start the Early Process
Since the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11, 2001, the process of issuing student visas has been scrutinized by the media (several of the hijackers had visas to study at aviation schools in the US) . At present, the US government looks more closely at applicants than in the past, and additional security background research is required for some of the applications. Because of these changes, it is very important for international students to plan everything in advance.
For more detailed information
This is just a summary of what international students can anticipate regarding the application process for US visa luna. For more detailed information and additional help, talk to your high school counselor or the international student counselor at your college. In addition, the website of the Secretary of State, http://www.state.gov/, has enough information.
If you have questions regarding the visa process, it is best to call the local US embassy or consulate directly or check their website for information. Calling the consulate may seem intimidating, but it is the best way to get accurate information about the visa process in your country.