How To Get Your Student Visa
Start the process for leaving your country:
Apply for a passport. (Allow weeks or even months for this process)Ask what other specific exit documents are required by your country in addition to the passport to allow you to study abroad. These may include:Legal agreements requiring you to return at a specific age, at the completion of your program or for military service.
Financial disclosures verifying the amount of money you are taking from the country.
Start the process for ENTERING the United States:
· Obtain an I-20 form (Certificate of Eligibility for student applicants) from the school you are going to attend. Most schools will mail this form to your home upon acceptance.
· You will need to go to your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consular Office to apply for an F-1 student visa. In order to apply you will need to complete Form OF-156, an Application for Non-Immigrant Visa. You will be asked to present your I-20 form (which you will receive from the school). You will also need to show that you have financial support for the entire time you plan to study in the U.S.
· Get an "Affidavit of Support" form from the Embassy or Consulate. Complete this form with information about your sources of financing and submit it along with your other documents. Some schools may also require a copy of your financial support statements.
· Additionally, you MAY be required to show: proof of good health; evidence of competence in English; evidence of educational attainment; a guardianship form; your enrollment contract with the school; photographs; police certificates. You must show your intent to return home upon completion of your education.
Please note that this is a standard procedure. If you are applying under other circumstances (such as if you are funded by an agency or on a tourist visa) there will be different forms and requirements. In these cases, please contact the school's Director of Admissions.Your meeting with the consulate office could be very brief. Have all forms and documents available and fully completed.If you are turned down the first time, experienced people advise that you try again. A fee will be charged for the visa.
With your passport and visa you may now enter the airplane on your way to attend boarding school or camp in the United States. It is important to begin this process as soon as you receive the I-20 from the school. While it may only take one day to obtain a student visa, it can also take weeks.
Once you arrive at the school or camp, take your passport, I-20, F-1 and return airline ticket to the international student advisor or admissions director. They will make copies of your passport and secure it in the school vault for your safety. If you plan to leave the United States during any vacation or weekend, be sure to retrieve your passport and documents and be sure to have the back of your I-20 signed by the designated school official. This will allow you to leave and return to the U.S. easily.If you have any questions regarding this process, simply contact the school's or camp's admissions office. They are prepared to help.