Thursday, June 16, 2016

Visa Information

Hundreds of thousands of students apply for student visas to come to the U.S. from around the world. Recent changes in visa issuance policies and procedures have made it more difficult to get a visa in a timely manner. Students should apply for their visa as soon as the necessary documents are obtained. In some countries, getting an appointment for the visa interview itself may take more than a month, so students should always plan ahead and leave themselves more time than they think they need.

The U.S. government implemented many changes in various procedures after September 11 to make sure that both U.S. citizens and visitors were safe. Two new measures allow the U.S. government to know that the students are following its education program. Registration after arrival in the U.S. is the starting point for the student tracking system. Students should always contact their chosen universitys international officer with any questions about obtaining a visa. After a student is granted admission to a university, he or she will receive an I-20A-B form that denotes that the student is admitted and eligible to apply for a visa.

The immigration laws of the U.S. permit foreign students to come to the U.S. to attend school at many academic levels. U.S. universities can get authorization and documentation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at http://uscis.gov to allow students to obtain an F-1 non-immigrant student visa classification in their home country. This document is called the I-20 form. Upon receiving the I-20, a student may file an F-1 student visa at the U.S. consulate in his or her home country.

There are two types of non-immigrant student visas: the F-1 visa and the J-1 visa. The student should make sure which visa he or she will be entitled to before applying for one. Dependents are allowed to accompany students, and may be granted F-2 or J-2 visa classification. A foreign student in the F-1 classification may stay in the U.S. for an extended period of time to complete degrees or continuing education, and may be allowed to work in the U.S. by changing his or her status to a H1B work visa.

Usually the F-1 visa will be issued for the period of study. For example, if the student is joining a Bachelors program, then he or she may be granted four or five years. If the student is applying for a Masters program, then he or she may be granted three to five years.

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