College acceptance time is here. Being a student from another country may seem complicated as you enter into a new school system. Being from another country requires you to have and obtain certain documents so that you can legally study here. Follow our check list so that you know exactly what you need to make your transition as smooth and simple as possible.
This may just be your most important form of identification for traveling to other countries! Before you can even be issued a student visa, you must have a up-to-date passport from your home country. And it is your responsibility to make sure that this passport stays valid throughout your stay in the United States. If your visa is about to expire during your stay, you must apply for an extension in order to keep it valid.
Once you are accepted to a university within the United States, the school should send you the I-20 form, which is needed so that you can obtain an F-1 Student Visa. But we’ll get to that later… The completed I-20 form includes all the information that the U.S. government needs to know about your term of study. This information includes your level of study, your field of study, and the dates you are expected to begin and complete your studies. They also need to know your ability to pay for your education. On top of that, you will be issued an official identification with your I-20 form. You must have it with you at all times when you are in the United States.
With a passport and the I-20 form, you can apply for an F-1 student visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate. You must show that you have sufficient financial resources such as scholarships, loans, grants, subsidies, and/or family or personal resources available to pay for your school and living expenses. Do not let this discourage you. It is possible to have a guarantor, who is someone that will guarantee your ability to pay your way through school. Financial aid is also available to help you. After you are given a student visa, which will be stamped on your passport, you can finally purchase your plane tickets!
When you finally enter the United States and show your student visa to the immigration officer, you will receive an I-94 card that will be attached to your passport. This card indicates the date of your arrival and how long you may stay in the U.S. In order for your full-time student visa status to remain valid, you must remain a full-time student. For undergraduate students this means enrolling with no less than 12 hours per semester.
Remember, it is your responsibility to have all of your paperwork and to keep it up to date. With that said, welcome, and enjoy your stay.