American Winds is proud to be able to offer F1 and M1 Visas for all of our international students. F1 Visas are to be used for fulltime academic degree programs, while M1 Visas are to be used for vocational skills training. Below is information to help assist in the application process but if more assiastince is needed feel free to call and ask at (330) 733-2500.
What is a U.S. Visa? A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States (U.S.) must first obtain a U.S. Visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport. Each country issued their citizens a passport showing prove of citizenship. This passport must have a valid expiration date to enter this country.
We will provide you with a brief overview of the process of obtaining a Visa. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for a comprehensive understanding of Student Visa’s.
A quick review of what an I-20 form is?
When the American Winds admits a student, it sends the student a non-immigration form called the I-20 Form. This form indicates your field of study (major), the length of your course, and the date when you must report to American Winds. The I-20 form allows a student to apply for a student VISA (F-1, M-1 etc. ). In some cases the university may issue a DS-2019 form which results in a J-1 student VISA. Because the J-1 is not available to most students, the F-1 visa is discussed in the following sections.
How do I obtain a student VISA?
After you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 form, you have to schedule a VISA interview at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country. Please note that the I-20 form does not guarantee receipt of an VISA. The local Consular official makes the final decision on whether or not to issue a student VISA.
- Receive I-20 form. Contact Mike Kolomichuk (email@example.com) at American Winds.
- Schedule your VISA appointment with the U.S. Embassy Office/Consulate in your country. http://travel.state.gov/visa/embassy/embassy_4825.html
- Submit SEVIS fee payment http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu_instr.htm in time to allow Department of Homeland Security to process payment at least 3 days prior to VISA interview.
- If you paid online, print SEVIS fee payment receipt and take it to your VISA interview.
- Go to your VISA interview to request a F-1 or J-1 VISA. Be aware the VISA may not be issued right away. Many embassies mail the VISA to the student a few weeks after the interview.
- For additional information on the payment visit SEVIS website Frequently Asked Questions http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq.htm
[The following information is referenced from the Association of International Educators (NAFSA). http://www.nafsa.org/
Read the following 7 website pages on How to prepare for a Visa interview by the National Visa Center before scheduling an interview. http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info_3731.html
Before Scheduling the Interview
- Contact the U.S. Embassy http://travel.state.gov/visa/embassy/embassy_4825.html in your country to verify all of the proper identifications, letters, forms, and photographs that you will required to have present at your interview.
- Confirm the location, time of interview, and what time you should arrive.
Before the Interview
Prepare and bring to your VISA interview the following:
- A passport valid for at least six months
- Form I-20 (sign the form under Item 11)
- School admission letter
- Completed VISA applications (DS-156, DS-158, and, if applicable, DS-157)
- Two 2″x 2″ photographs in the prescribed format http://travel.state.gov/visa/visaphotoreq/visaphotoreq_5334.html
- A receipt for the VISA application fee
- A receipt for the SEVIS fee. If the official receipt showing payment is in the mail and the fee was paid electronically, the consulate will accept a temporary receipt printed from a computer. If you don’t have a receipt, the consulate may be able to see your payment electronically if the payment was processed at least 3 business days before the interview.
- Financial evidence that shows you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period you intend to study
- Any information that proves that you will return to your home country after finishing your studies in the United States. This may include proof of property, family, or other ties to your community
During the Interview
- Remain calm and answer all the Visa Officer’s questions to you openly and honestly.
After the Interview
- Upon approval, a visa will be issued. This process may take a few weeks before the VISA is actually received.
1 After I have my visa, I will be able to enter the U.S., correct? A visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States. See Admissions on the CBP website.
2 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need go through the whole visa application process again? Yes, you will have to go through the whole visa application process each time you want to apply for a visa, even if your visa is still valid. There are some situations where a visa applicant may not need to be interviewed when renewing his/her visa. See the U.S. Embassy website for more information.
3 My visa expires in 5 years, what does this mean? A visa must be valid at the time a traveler seeks admission to the U.S., but the expiration date of the visa (validity period/length of time the visa can be used) has no relation to the length of time a temporary visitor may be authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to remain in the United States. Persons holding visas valid for multiple entries may make repeated trips to the U.S., for travel for the same purpose, as long as the visa has not expired, and the traveler has done nothing to become ineligible to enter the U.S., at port of entry.
4 My old passport has already expired. My visa to travel to the United States is still valid but in my expired passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport? No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) should be from the same country and type (Example: both Uruguayan regular passports, both official passports, etc.). When you arrive at the United States port of entry (POE) the Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer will check your visa in the old passport and if s/he decides to admit you into the United States they will stamp your new passport with an admission stamp along with the annotation “VIOPP” (visa in other passport). Do not try to remove the visa from your old passport and stick it into the new valid passport. If you do so, your visa will no longer be valid.
5 How can I find out how long I am authorized to stay in the U.S.? A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security, US immigration inspector, provides you a small white card, Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record in your passport. Visa Waiver Program travelers receive Form 1-94W. On this form, the U.S. immigration inspector records either a date or “D/S” (duration of status). If your I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United States. Your Form I-94, or I-94W is a very important document to keep in your passport, since it shows your permission to be in the U.S. Review information about Admission on the CBP Website. Also, see Duration of Stay.
6 My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that? No. If the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer at the port of entry (generally an airport) admitted you into the United States for a specific period of time, s/he will note your authorized period of stay on your I-94 card, called an Arrival Departure Record. You will be able to remain in the United States during your authorized period of stay, even if your visa expires during the time you are in the United States. Since Form I-94 documents your authorized stay and is the official record of your permission to be in the U.S., it is very important to keep inside your passport.
7 My passport with my visa was stolen, what should I do? If your passport with your I-94 are lost or stolen, you must get them replaced immediately. There are a number of steps you need to take, learn more, see Lost and Stolen Passports, Visas, and Form I-94s.
8 Iran does not have a U.S. Embassy. Where can Iranians apply for nonimmigrant visas? Iranians may make appointments and apply for nonimmigrant visas at any nonimmigrant visa issuing post. However, if you do not speak English or a language commonly spoken in the country where you plan to apply, you should be aware that the interviewing officers’ lack of familiarity with local conditions in your country may make it more difficult to demonstrate your qualifications for a visa. We have Farsi-speaking consular officers in Dubai and Ankara, and many Iranian nonimmigrant visa applicants choose to apply in those posts.
9 How long may I stay in the United States on my student visa? When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, F-1 students are allow an additional 60 days to prepare for departure from the United States or to transfer to another school. If you depart the United States with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.
10 What is the general policy for people who wish to obtain visas to come to the United States? For nonimmigrant visas, generally, the applicant will make an appointment at a convenient embassy or consulate and pay the application fee. The applicant will have an interview in-person with a consular officer, who will ask questions and review documentation to determine whether the applicant qualifies for a visa. After the interview, and any necessary administrative processing, if the applicant qualifies the post issues a visa. Applicants for immigrant visas wishing to reside permanently in the United States must first be the beneficiary of a petition filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Petitions are most often based on family relationship or employment, but can also be self-generated by investors. In the case of an immediate relative, after the petition is approved, the State Department’s National Visa Center notifies the beneficiaries to schedule an interview with a consular officer at an embassy or consulate. If the consular officer determines the applicant is qualified, and there are no security concerns, the Department will issue an immigrant visa entitling the applicant to immigrate to the United States. Find out more about the immigrant visa process at www.travel.state.gov.