Applying for a Student Visa: The First Step to Study Abroad in the U.S.
Almost half of our student body at Colorado Heights University comes to us from other countries and as a Director in the CHU Office of Admissions; I help them through the F-1 student visa application process. If you have relatives dreaming of coming to Colorado to study, there are a few things they should know.
It can be overwhelming, so to get started, a prospective student should review the visa application instructions on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate office where they plan to submit their application. A list of Consulates and Embassies can be found at www.usembassy.gov. The requirements may vary, so checking the specific location is important.
Application Forms and Fees
The first form in this process is the I-20/DS-2019 form (I-20) that is issued by the university to the student after they have been accepted. Once the student receives the I-20 and the university acceptance letter, they can follow the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s instructions on their website to schedule an F-1 student visa interview. Many consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel.
The next form to complete is the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The local U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s website will guide the student to complete this form online and to pay the visa application fee.
Finally, there is a fee they pay online to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) which monitors students and exchange visitors in the United States. The university school code is needed to pay this fee at www.fmjfee.com.
Important: On all forms and documentation, write your name exactly how it appears on your I-20/DS-2019 form.
F-1 Student Visa Interview
I can’t emphasize enough how crucial the preparation for the interview can be. Each visa officer has individual authority on the decision if the visa is to be granted or denied.
Students need to prove to the officer that they are an eligible student, are planning to return to their home country at the end of their studies, have enough financial assets to cover their education and that they are serious and committed to their studies. In other words, the officer must see that an American education is not just a way to come to the U.S.
There’s also a list of paperwork the student is required to have at the interview. We provide the students with a detailed checklist of nine different forms of documentation they should have with them. You can find this on our website at www.chu.edu under the “International” tab.
CHU Staff Available To Help
Although it’s a complicated process, our multilingual staff is trained to help the applicant understand the importance of each step and to be fully prepared.
Arisa Dou, CHU Admissions Representative who speaks Chinese and Japanese, said, “When I explain the visa process to an international student in their own language, it helps them understand how important the interview really is.”
When I asked Yoshi Sakashita, an MBA graduate of CHU from Japan how he felt about the process, he said, “Coming to the U.S. was made so much easier with the help of the university staff. I would have been lost without their assistance.”
This is just a quick summary, so for more detailed information you can visit the “International” tab on chu.edu or contact me at inter firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!