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Student Visa: First Step to International Education

 By: Maria Ruby Concepcion

“International education should be part of every student’s academic career,” said Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary, to start the International Education Week 2018. Studying in a foreign country allows education exchanges which provides a venue to have stronger diplomatic ties with other countries by fully immersing a student with another country’s culture, customs, laws, and educational system among others.

To be able to study abroad, one must secure a student visa. EducationUSA YouTube account uploaded a video about queries, tips, and steps in securing a student Visa.

Steps in getting a student Visa

First, a student must be accepted in a college or university and secure a form I-20. A college or university will require the student to submit various requirements like the transcript of records, recommendation letter, recent TOEFL/IELTS score, proof of financial capability, and others. Once accepted, the student must pay the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee which can be done online. To complete the student visa application, the student must get an F-1 student visa from the U.S. Embassy located in his or her home country. Getting an F-1 visa appointment schedule from the U.S. Embassy can be done online. It is very important to not book travel to the U.S. until a student Visa has been issued.

Things to bring in an F-1 visa interview

To be completely ready, it is important that all documents must be prepared before the interview.

  • Form I-20
  • DS-160 Visa application form confirmation page
  • Passport (with at least 6 months left by the time you get to the U.S.)
  • Photo (that meets the requirements stated by the U.S. Embassy)
  • Visa application fee receipt
  • SEVIS receipt
  • Any other additional documents that the specific embassy or consulate where you are applying may have requested on their website

Tips on what to say in your interview

Jennifer Sudweeks, Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State in New Delhi, India as the U.S. Embassy’s non-immigrant visa chief, gave the following tips on what to do during the student visa interview.

  • Approach the interview as an interview and not an exam because there are no memorized answers to questions that will be given.
  • Consular Officer will focus on four things during the interview.
  1. Who are you and what are your ties? What is the story of your academic journey?
  2. What do you want to do? Where do you want to study? Why do you want to study that particular major or subject?
  3. How are you going to pay for the university?
  4. What do you want to do when you finish your studies?

If there are questions regarding the process of your international studies or any change in the plan, according to Emily Almas, Associate Dean of Admissions, Swarthmore College, it is very important to always update the international student advisor of the university or college you want to be admitted to.

References:

  • Why Study Abroad? (2018, November 26). Retrieved April 2, 2020, from https://studyabroad.state.gov/value-study-abroad/why-study-abroad
  • EducationUSA (2019, July 17). EducationUSA | Student Visas (2019) [Video File]. Retrieved from