Your US visa is an entry in your passport which allows you to enter the United States. The classification of a US visa (F-1, B-1, etc.) specifies your purpose for coming here. Once admitted to the United States, you will then have a corresponding “immigration status” which relates to your purpose for being here and regulates what you may and may not do. Most international students who enter the United States to attend our schools are issued form I-20 to apply for an F-1 (student) visa and immigration status. Certain government-sponsored students, those in exchange programs, and some other students who have special affiliations are given form DS-2019 to obtain a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa and immigration status.
Both of these forms consist of multiple pages, all of which must remain together to be valid. SEVP provides a sheet of everything you should have to enter the United States.
Be sure to check the accuracy of the following information listed on your form:
If any information is incorrect, contact the International Student Advisor, email@example.com for a new form.
If you intend to study at one of our schools, do not under any circumstances enter the United States using this status. US law forbids individuals who enter as tourists from enrolling in a course of study until a change in immigration status (making it possible for them to study here) has been approved.
Students who plan to enter the United States as a visitor and then begin study must inform the US Consulate and request that their visitor visa be marked with the notation “Prospective Student.” Without this endorsement, an application to change from visitor status to student status will most likely be denied. Be aware that if the B-2 visa or the I-94 card you obtain upon being admitted here lacks this notation, you will likely have to leave the United States and apply for an F-1 (student) visa or a J-1 (exchange visitor) visa. Only then may you request reentry to the United States.
Changing to F-1 status or J-1 status from some other nonimmigrant status (F- 2, B-1, B-2, etc.) requires a formal application to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). Such changes are not automatically approved, can take several months, and until the change is approved you may not receive any of the benefits of F-1 status or J-1 status. Obtain change of status information from the website, complete the forms and gather the necessary documentation, and then make an appointment to speak with an advisor in that office.
Although the basic process for obtaining a visa remains the same regardless of the consulate you are using, local policies and procedures do vary. Be sure to contact your US consulate (or access the consulate’s website) for specific details.To obtain an F-1, you must:
You may also be required to show such documentation as your admission letter, academic transcripts, and standardized test scores depending upon the consulate’s local policies.
Applicants for F, J, or M visas must show “nonimmigrant intent.” You must establish that you plan to return to your home country after finishing study in the United States. If you cannot demonstrate nonimmigrant intent (even if you meet all the other requirements), your visa will be denied.
Prepare yourself by thinking about why you plan to study in the United States and why you chose The Diocese of Davenport school and your specific program of study. With this preparation, you are more likely to prove to the consul that you have made a thoughtful, mature decision.
Understand that the I-20 or DS-2019 form you use to obtain your visa determines where you will initially enroll in school. If you use a form from The Diocese of Davenport to obtain your visa, then you must enter the United States using that document and are expected to enroll at The Diocese of Davenport school before you become eligible to change schools. Do not use our I-20 or DS-2019 form for a visa and then expect to enroll elsewhere.
You will need a written receipt indicating that you have paid the appropriate SEVIS fee (Form I-901) at least three business days prior to arriving at a US port-of-entry. This fee must be paid and fully processed before you apply for entry. Refer to: http://www.fmjfee.com for more information and the options available for paying the fee. We recommend that you pay using the online option for faster processing.
You do not need a visa to enter the United States, but you must present an I-20 or a DS-2019 form, an I-901 receipt, proof of finances to cover your program of study, and a valid passport to enter the United States as a student or exchange visitor. You will not receive an I-94 card, you have to go online once you get settled at the host parents home and then go online to print off your I-94 information at:https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html;jsessionid=JLvXR1bQYQFv1nlsNTlJK5RgWcg2GVhPTGx5pSVZ3Jw2TmqfGGL5!731713051
If you fail to show these documents and are admitted as a visitor, you cannot legally enroll in classes.
Have your original I-20 or DS-2019 form with you when you appear at a US port-of-entry. In many cases, the I-20 or DS-2019 will be sealed in an envelope when you obtain your visa, with instructions only to be opened by the immigration officer at the border. Make sure you have proof of your finances and your I-901 fee payment receipt with you, as sometimes these are asked for again upon entry.
Although it is rare, you might be sent to a secondary inspection area for additional questions. This does not mean that you are in any kind of trouble, but rather something in your immigration record or about your particular situation needs to be looked at by a more experienced immigration officer. If this should happen, remain calm. If the immigration officer needs to contact the University, he or she may call 319-335-0335 between 8 am and 5 pm on workdays and at 319-384-2229 at other times.
You should also be aware of customs rules that may restrict what you wish to bring into the US In particular, there are restrictions on many types of foods, spices and medications. Look at the US Customs website for more details.
Upon admission to the United States, you will be issued a small, white card called an “I-94,” which will be stapled to your passport. This card indicates your immigration status and the length of time you may remain in the United States. It should be marked by the inspector at the port-of-entry with “F-1,” “J-1” or “M-1” status and a length of stay as “D/S.” Each F-2, J-2 or M-2 dependent will have an I-94 card marked “F-2,” “J-2” or “M-2” and “D/S” as well. Keep these I-94 cards in a safe place. Replacement cards cost over $300 each. When completing your portion of the I-94 card, use the exact same name that is on your I-20 or DS-2019 and the ISSS address if you do not know the address where you will be living in the Iowa City area.
Interviews are mandatory, and normally require an advance appointment with the consulate. Be aware that current US law does not allow the issuance of a student visa more than 120 days before the beginning date on your I-20 or DS-2019, although some consulates allow you to apply earlier and will hold your application. The US consul who interviews you is required to determine that your documents are genuine, that you intend to enroll as a full-time student, that you have enough money to support yourself and any dependents accompanying you, and that you intend to return home after you finish your studies here. There is no entitlement to a visa. You will not be granted a visa if, in the judgment of the consular officer, you have not met all of the necessary criteria.
The consul who interviews you could be very busy and probably has many people to interview besides you. Thus, the consul may or may not be perceived as friendly, and may or may not ask you several questions. Do not be concerned about any of these factors, as they should have no bearing on your application.
Please be aware that the perception of visa denials is much higher than the reality, and visa guidelines recognize that student visa applicants will normally not have the property, employment, and family ties to their home country that are typical of other visa applicants, and that lack of these should not disqualify you for a student visa. While you may still be asked about such ties and should answer such questions if asked, realize that not having such ties should not be used against your application.
Ask the consul to give you a written explanation for the denial. If the reason for the denial is Sec. 214(b) of the US immigration code, having to do with “ties to the home country or immigrant intent,” there is nothing the University can do to help you. You are the person in the best position to provide information about your ties to your home country and your future intentions. Likewise, the University cannot help if the denial is based on doubt about the adequacy of your financial support. You will need to supply different or additional documentation about your financial support to satisfy the concerns.
If the denial seems based on a misunderstanding or a problem with your documents, we might be able to help you provide the information or clarification needed to help you get the visa; we cannot, however, intervene directly with the consul on your behalf. Send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed account of the interview (i.e., questions you were asked and what you said in reply).
US law give consular officers the final say on issuing visas and rarely can anyone besides you have any influence on the decision. By providing you with an I-20 or DS-2019, UI has indicated that we believe you qualify for the visa but the final determination is made solely by the consul.
|Center for Disease Control||SEVIS General Information|
|Document Processing Times with BCIS||Student Travel Information|
(copies of US Regulations and Laws)
|US Citizenship and Immigration Services|
|Legal Information||US Dept of State Bureau of Consular Affairs|
|SEVIS I-901 Information||US Dept of State Visa Services|