Frequently Asked Questions About Visas
What must I do to get an American student visa?
Step 1: Get
the 1-20 or IAP-66 Form (which should be sent to you
by your institution or placement organization)
Step 2 : Fill
out an application for visa
Step 3 : Go to
the embassy and hand in the application and pay
application fee if necessary
Step 4 : Go to
an interview with a Consular official
Step 5 : If
necessary (depends on country) pay for your visa
How much does a visa cost and how long does it take to
country: costs are reciprocal, application fee
1-year visa costs $195 ($45 application fee + $150
3-year visa costs $495 ($45 application fee + $450
takes you one day to get a student visa.
kind of documents do I need to provide to get a
You should take
the following documents to the embassy:
valid at least 6 months after the proposed date of
entry, longer if possible
2 photos 3x4
financial documents (see question 7)
an I-20 guarantee that I' ll. receive a visa?
An I-20 alone is
not considered sufficient financial documentation and
does not guarantee that you' ll be granted a visa. You
MUST bring appropriate supporting financial documents
to the embassy and you MUST prove to the interviewing
officer that you are a serious, qualified student.
applicants for F-1 visas are screened more closely
than applicants for J-1 visas because there is an
assumption that J-1 applicants have already been
through an initial screening process by a US
can I prove I have funds to cover educational expenses?
Can I bring my money to the embassy and show it to a
Itís a BAD
idea to bring the cash to the embassy. This looks
very suspicious and can give the impression that you
are trying to bribe the Consular Officer. DO NOT
bring a lot of cash to the embassy.
There are 2
kinds of financial certification documents for those
students who are paying by themselves:
statement (a statement from your or your parents'
employer showing last year's total income)
(if you or your parents have a bank account).
Russian banks seldom agree to complete any of the
forms you give them, instead they prefer to give you
a statement that shows the current amount of money
on your account. The statement should carry the bank
seal and be signed by a bank official. A bank
statement is the most "respectable"
financial certification. PLEASE NOTE: You need to
show availability of funds OVER TIME. Showing that
there is a large sum of money in your account on one
day of the year does not prove that the funds are
maintained for a long period of time. This is
important in establishing financial support in the
Do I need to bring financial support documents or any
You are not
required to show a proof of medical insurance if
you're applying for F-1. Students applying for a J-1
visa can be asked about medical insurance because US
law requires all J-1 visa holders to obtain medical
insurance before they enter the US but this is usually
handled through the placement organization giving the
financial support from a source in the United States
is only essential for immigration visas. However, it
can be helpful to have the following with you:
of financial support from a source in your home
country is essential and is covered in Question 5
will need the same financial documents you've
submitted to your institution during the application
How many days ahead of my school start date (as listed
on the I-20) does a visa normally allow you to enter the
An F-1 visa may
be issued no earlier than 90 days before the reporting
date on I-20. You can enter the US on any day between
the date of visa issuance and the reporting date.
Where can I get an I-94 Form (Arrival/Departure record)?
To whom should I give this form?
An I-94 is
issued when you enter the US. This form indicates
the date and location of the personís entry, the
visa classification and length of stay. For most
students there will not be a specific date but the
letters "D/S", meaning duration of status.
An I-94 is a
very important document and you should always keep
it together with your passport and your I-20.
What does "duration of status" mean?
"duration of status" is the time in which
the person maintains the legitimate status of
"student." This includes the study period, a
practical training period (if approved by the INS) of
up to one year for F-1 visa holders or 18 months for
J-1 visa holders, plus 30 days grace period to pack up
Sajjatul Islam Nobel, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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January 06, 2006.
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