EducationUSA | Your Student Visa Questions Answered (May 2017)
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EducationUSA | Your Student Visa Questions Answered (May 2017)

It is my pleasure to welcome our viewers
around the world to today’s EducationUSA
interactive series web chat on answering
your visa questions. My name is Alfred Boll
representing EducationUSA in the Bureau of Educational
and Cultural Affairs at the United States
Department of State. EducationUSA is the
Department’s network of international
student advising centers in nearly every
country of the world. Our more than 550
dedicated advisors work to help international
students and their families navigate the American college
and university admissions process. They do so by providing
accurate, comprehensive, and current information about
the full range of higher education options offered
by the more than 4,700 accredited American higher
education institutions. This interactive
web chat is part of a series aimed at providing
you with up-to-date information about current topics related
to American higher education. Today, we will discuss
international student visas. You will learn about
the steps to take to get a student visa, from
the forms you need to fill out to the things you need to
keep in mind during the visa interview. Our panel of visa experts will
also answer your questions about visa-related issues you
might deal with once you are studying in the United States. During the program, we will
answer questions submitted by you, the online
audience, in the chat space next to the video player. Just click on Guest at the
bottom of the ChatSpace box, choose your username,
and sign in. You can also post your
questions on Twitter using the #EducationUSA hashtag. As we get started, we want
to send a special greeting to the students
around the world who are gathered in viewing
groups at EducationUSA advising centers, U.S.
embassies, and American Spaces. And a special welcome
goes to the viewing groups at American Space Astana, IRCA
Kigali, IRC Bujumbura, and IRC Windhoek. Let us know in the
chat space if you’re in a viewing group because
we do want to recognize you during the program. Let me introduce our
panel of experts. Joining me in our
studio is Laura Stein. Laura has worked
in the Visa Office in the Bureau of
Consular Affairs at the Department
of State since 2007. She is currently a
Visa Policy Analyst in the Office of
Field Operations and serves as the
primary subject matter expert on student and
exchange visitor visa policy and procedure. Also joining me in our
studio is Jennifer Donaghue. Jennifer serves as Director
of the International Services Office at the George Washington
University in Washington, DC. An expert in international
student and scholar advising, Jennifer
also oversees GW’s employment-based immigration
work for faculty, researchers, and scholars. She has worked extensively on
intercultural communication and international student
awareness training and has been a guest
lecturer in international and higher education courses. Joining us remotely from
Virginia is Twyla Jones. Twyla currently serves as
the Assistant Coordinator for International Students
at the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia
Community College. She has worked with and
advised international students for more than 17 years. She has also designed
and facilitated education, diversity,
health-related, and training projects in Egypt, Madagascar,
Senegal, Zimbabwe, and here in the United States. Jennifer, Twyla, Laura, welcome,
and thank you for joining us. I’d like to begin by asking
you, Laura, some basic questions about the student visa process. Laura, what does a student
need to have in place before he or she applies
for a student visa? MS. LAURA STEIN: Thanks, Fred. So before applying
for a student visa, the applicant should have
received their Form I-20 from the U.S. school they were
accepted to and plan to attend. And they should have
paid the SEVIS Fee, which stands for Student and Exchange
Visitor Information System fee at MR. BOLL: OK. And what about scheduling
a visa interview? MS. STEIN: So scheduling
an appointment for your visa
interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate
is the next step. And we encourage applicants
to apply as early as possible. We do recommend that you
not purchase a ticket until you’ve actually
received the student visa. MR. BOLL: OK, that’s–
that makes sense. What about scheduling
a visa interview? MS. STEIN: So first, you’ll
want to go to our website, which is And you’ll need to complete
the online visa application form, which is the DS-160. And again, you can find
that at our website. You can also find out how
long the wait times are at each embassy and consulate. Wait times for
interview appointments do vary by location,
season, and visa category. So, again, I urge you to
apply for your student visa as early as you can. Next, you’ll go to the
embassy or consulate website for the location
where you plan to apply. And it will have specific
information for that location, including how to schedule the
visa interview appointment and how to pay the
nonrefundable visa application fee, which is currently $160. MR. BOLL: OK, so let me sum up. So once a student has the
I-20 form from whatever U.S. school they were accepted
to and plans to attend, pays the student and exchange
visitor information system fee at, completes the
DS-160 form a, and schedules the
interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, what comes next? Can you tell us a little
bit about the visa process? MS. STEIN: Yes. So on the day of your
student visa interview, you will need to bring some
documents with you to the visa interview. You’ll need to bring
your original Form I-20 that you received from the
school that you plan to attend and the DS-160 visa application
form confirmation page. You’ll also need to bring
your passport, one photo, and the visa
application fee receipt. You may also need to
bring additional documents that the specific embassy or
consulate where you’re applying has requested. And that information
would be available to you on their website. At the interview, the
applicant’s fingerprints will be collected
electronically. Fingerprints may be
collected by the Consular Officer who will interview you
or by another member of staff. And this will depend on the
location where you apply. MR. BOLL: OK, so that’s, you
know, a lot to bear in mind. What’s it actually like
for the visa applicant once the interview
begins, you know, when they’re at the window? MS. STEIN: OK, so you will
be interviewed by a Consular Officer. And you must establish
to the Consular Officer that you are qualified to
be issued a student visa. The Consular Officer
will generally be focusing on four factors
during the interview. The first two– who you are, and
what it is that you want to do. So this is really where
you’re telling your story to the Consular Officer,
maybe things like what you’ve done in the past,
what you studied in your home
country, what you’ve been doing up until that point. And then you’re also going to
want to talk about your plans for study in the United States,
how it is, for example, you made the decision to
study the specific subject matter that you plan to study. You can talk about the school
that you’re going to attend if there’s– if
there’s– you know, the specific reasons you may
have come to to select that school– just basically your story. We’re also going to be
looking at your ties to your home country. And then another fact– another
factor the Consular Officer will be looking at
is how you plan to– how you will pay
for your studies. You’ll need to demonstrate
to the Consular Officer that you have liquid
assets to cover the first year of your
program and then that you have a plan in place to
pay for the remaining years of your program. And then the fourth
factor is what you intend to do after
your studies have been completed– after you’ve
completed your studies. The interview will probably
only last for a few minutes. So applicants
really do need to be ready to talk to
the Consular Officer when they’re called
up to the window. We know that applicants
can be nervous. And we try to put you at ease. But we don’t have a lot of time
to talk, so we really do need– need you to be ready to
answer questions and really listen to the questions that the
Consular Officer is asking you during your interview. And we need you to answer
as honestly and completely as you can. It is OK to ask
for clarification if you don’t understand
a specific question that the Consular
Officer is asking. MR. BOLL: That makes a lot of– so students should try not
to be nervous, even though it can be a quick interview. And it’s like a conversation. MS. STEIN: Exactly. It’s a conversation. MR. BOLL: That’s– I think that’s a nice
way to think about it. When do students find out if
they’ve been approved or not? MS. STEIN: So
students will find out if they’re approved immediately
after the interview. So at the conclusion
of the visa interview, the officer will tell
you if your application is approved or denied. And, in fact, most
student visas are issued. 72% of student visa applications
for F- and M-category visas were approved and issued
in fiscal year 2016. MR. BOLL: OK, excellent. Thank you very much, Laura. That was a lot of
great information. We will definitely
be coming back to you throughout the program to
ask you more questions. But for now, let’s turn
to our other panelists. They work with and advise
international students on a daily basis
and can definitely help answer some questions that
students deal with once they’re here in the United States. Jennifer, let me start with you. Can you tell us what services an
international officer generally offers at a U.S. higher
education institution? MS. JENNIFER DONAGHUE: Sure. So, again, I’m the Director
at the George Washington University of the
International Services Office. And our office provides
robust support services for international students. We have international
student advisors that are designated school
officials, which I think we’ll talk about more in a moment. We also have
programmatic activities. So that’s an orientation
program, maybe a coffee hour or a workshop, a chance to
engage with domestic students from the United States. We also see ourselves
as advocates for you while you’re here
throughout your stay. And whether that’s helping
you adjust to the classroom environment, or to get out and
make friends, or figure out your academic
program, we’re here to support you
through all of that. MR. BOLL: Thank you very much. Twyla, would you
like to add to that? MS. TWYLA JONES: Pretty much
here at Northern Virginia Community College, we offer
the same types of programmings. One thing that we
do here at NOVA is actually offer a series
of different programs where we talk about
welcoming students. We also address travel,
life after NOVA. We talk a lot about interacting
with American students and really engaging
in student activities, and that sort of thing. So a lot of what we do is
actually what Jennifer actually mentioned as well. MR. BOLL: Good. Thank you. Well, let me stay with you,
Twyla, for the second question then. Could you tell us a little bit
what a– about what a DSO is and why it’s important for
students to know who their DSO is and– or how to find one? MS. JONES: One of
the main things that we do early on
during orientation both fall and spring
semester is to actually have a large orientation. We have six campuses at NOVA. And so what we do is we
get all of our students together so that all the
DSOs and our one PDSO can actually be
known to students. We let students know that,
as Jennifer mentioned, we are advocates for
international students. So it is very important that
they feel comfortable with us, they know where our
offices are located, they understand that we are
the first line that they would actually come to if
they’re having issues in classes, if they need more
information about navigating the college, as well as any
other information related to immigration and
travel types of issues. MR. BOLL: Thank you
very much, Twyla. Jennifer, would you
like to add to that? MS. DONAGHUE: So our
designated school officials are the people
who are designated to work with our F-1 students. We can grant immigration
benefits for students. We also have
advising that we do. And that might be a quick
walk-up advising session or a structured time
that we carve out to meet to talk with
a student privately about what they’re experiencing. So the designated
school officials are really a team
that work together with the PDSO, or Principal
Designated School Official, to support international
students, their immigration compliance, and really, their
whole experience while they’re in the United States. MR. BOLL: So designated
school official is a primary person
for students and is a kind of a link between also
the immigration side of things as well as their experience
at the school wholesale. Is that– Is that–
is that fair? MS. DONAGHUE: That’s correct. And I would say
that many people go into the field of
international education and international exchange
to become a DSO because they themselves had an
international study or work-abroad experience. So we value that. And we believe in the diversity
that international students bring to our campus and
to the United States. And so our job, we
feel, is very much advocating for
international students and supporting them
through the immigration piece, and beyond that,
throughout the rest of their experience. MR. BOLL: Thank you very much. Twyla, let me turn to you
again for the second question, which is– I’m sure students are thinking,
so, in terms of the immigration system, once I arrive in
the United States, what’s the next step? What do I need to do to
follow U.S. immigration rules and make sure I’m in compliance? MS. JONES: The
first step that we let our students know about
is to actually check in. Again, as I mentioned,
we have six campuses. Our students can check
in at any campus. And what we require
when they come is a copy of their
passport, their signed I-20. We want to see their visa as
well as the electronic copy of the I-94 card. We then will actually– we
have a system where we actually have students to read over
their responsibilities as an F-1 student once they’re
in the United States. Once they read that over,
they will sign off on that. And then we’ll register them
for our orientation for fall or for the spring semester. And that’s when we try to
open the gateway, so to speak, so that they can have a
better understanding of what comes next with regards to
registering for classes, taking any placement tests that
might be necessary for them, both with math and English. And so it’s pretty much–
we let them know that it’s– this is the– kind
of the journey that you’re about to go on. MR. BOLL: Thank you very much. Jennifer, would you like to add? MS. DONAGHUE: Sure. So I think Twyla hit everything
that we are looking for. We have students
check in in person, so an in-person physical
presence that we want to confirm, and
all the other pieces that Twyla mentioned. We are going to register the
student’s record in SEVIS. And so we need those other
pieces to be able to do that. And that happens early
on in the process and will be ongoing throughout
their stay, the SEVIS registration process. And so that’s how you
start when you get here, and with an orientation
program, and acclimating you to the U.S. culture and
the classroom experience. And that’s– that would
be the check-in process. And then, from there on, there’s
more fun experiences to be had. MR. BOLL: So just
to clarify, so it– it sounds like, you
know, the school is– has responsibilities. But you also count on the
students to be active– proactive in making sure
that they are coming to you and making sure that
they are helping you through this system? MS. DONAGHUE: Yes,
that is correct. We spend a lot of time at
orientation going over– and we make it as
fun as we can– about immigration
regulations and what the student is responsible for. There are a lot of details that
are important for the student to know. And we do everything
we can to provide you with comprehensive information. We also know that
students are jet-lagged, and they may have come
from very far away. So we try to reinforce
that information throughout their stay, whether
that’s going out and hosting a workshop or
inviting the student to come in for advising,
and just talking through their responsibilities
and all the options that are out there for you as
an international student in the U.S. MR. BOLL: That’s fantastic. So students really have
resources on campus that are part and
parcel of the system. Let me stay with you,
Jennifer– a question. What is an
SEVP-certified school? And why is that important? MS. DONAGHUE: That is important. It’s a Student Exchange
Visitor Program certification that universities are
required to have to sponsor F-1 international students. That requires that
the university comply. And we report on behalf
of international students. And we submit reports
to the government to make sure that we are doing
a good job in our tracking and compliance responsibilities. And I think it’s important. It is necessary. It is a requirement to
sponsor F-1 students. And I think it guarantees
that a university is going to do a good job in supporting
those students coming here to the United States. MR. BOLL: OK, thank
you very much. Twyla, would do you
like to add anything? MS. JONES: I think Jennifer
hit it on the head. She got everything. MR. BOLL: So, listen,
full speed ahead. Twyla, Jennifer,
thank you very much. MS. DONAGHUE: Thank you. MR. BOLL: Let’s go
to some questions from our online viewers. So the first question
we are getting is a very good one,
which is, what happens if a student is refused a visa? Laura, can I– can I
turn to you for that? MS. STEIN: Yes, so
the most common ground of refusal for a student
visa is under Section 214(b) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act. This law explicitly presumes
that every non-immigrant visa applicant is an
intending immigrant and places the burden
on the applicant of disproving this presumption. Student visa applicants
must additionally establish that they
qualify under this law by demonstrating that they
have a residence abroad with no immediate intent
to abandon that residence, the intention to depart the
United States upon completion of their studies, and
possession of sufficient funds to pursue the proposed
course of study. Amer– I’m sorry, not Americans. Applicants refused under
Section 214(b) may re-apply. Sometimes a student
is able to be approved on a subsequent application. And this may be because his
or her situation has changed or because he or she was able
to better express him or herself to the Consular Officer. This may be because
the applicant was nervous the first
time that they– that they were interviewed. Another common ground of
refusal for student visas is under Section 221(g) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act. This is what we
commonly refer to as administrative processing. It’s important that applicants
refused under this– for this reason that continue to
listen to the Consular Officer. It may be that the
Consular Officer needs you to provide additional
information or documentation in order to determine whether
you are qualified for a student visa. And the Consular Officer will
tell you what that– what that information is or
documentation that they need. Or it may also be that
your application requires additional review after the visa
interview, which is something– something that we would
be doing, essentially, on the back end. Applications refused
under Section 221(g) may ultimately be
approved and visas issued once the administrative
processing is completed. Visa applications
may also be refused under Section 212(a) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of law
encompasses a wide array of ineligibilities, including
DUIs, drug possession, and shoplifting. It’s very important that
applicants are completely honest and tell the truth. There are some situations
in which we are able to work with applicants. But they do need to
be upfront with us. All applicants whose
applications are denied will be given a letter by
the Consular Officer, which will explain and cite the
section of law under which they have been found ineligible. MR. BOLL: OK, so very
important in terms of the main category
of refusals, that applicants can show
ties to their home country. MS. STEIN: Yes,
in any case, yes. That’s a requirement
for all student visas. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. MS. STEIN: Mhm. MR. BOLL: And then an
intent to return home after the course of study. MS. STEIN: Exactly, yes. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. So we’re getting lots
of additional questions from our viewers. Some viewers are asking about
what financial documents they need for the
visa interview. Can you go into more
detail about what they need to bring to show
their funding sources? MS. STEIN: As I said
earlier in the program, you will need to demonstrate
to the Consular Officer during the interview
that you’ll be able to finance the studies
that you’re proposing to do in the United States. Specifically, you’ll
need to demonstrate that you have liquid
assets to cover the first– the first
year of your studies. There isn’t something– there
isn’t a specific document or a specific source of funding
that the Consular Officer is looking for. This is going to maybe
vary country to country. This is going to
vary by applicant. So there isn’t something
specific that I can– that I can tell you. But it is important, as I
said, that the applicant can demonstrate the liquid
assets for the first year and that they have
a plan in place for how they’re going
to cover the remaining years of their program. MR. BOLL: And I assume cost
doesn’t just mean tuition, but it’s also how you’re going
to pay for your living costs. MS. STEIN: Yes. MR. BOLL: Is that right? MS. STEIN: Yes. MR. BOLL: OK, so really
thinking about all the costs involved in studying
and saying– showing that those can be covered. MS. STEIN: Exactly. MR. BOLL: OK. Other viewers are asking
about changing status. for example, from a B-2 tourist
visa to an F-1 student visa. Can you– could you
talk a little bit about changing status, maybe
a little bit more broadly? MS. STEIN: If you– if you enter the United
States, for example, initially on– on a visitor
visa, on a B-2 visitor visa, and then you want to change
status to an F-1 student, it is possible to do this. It’s called change of status. And it’s a process. You have to apply with the U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS. It is possible to do it. However, it can be
a lengthy process. And you can’t begin studying
until you’ve– until the change of status essentially has been
approved and completed by USCIS and you’re in F-1 status. Because it’s a lengthy
process, students may want to consider–
maybe think twice if it’s something that
they really do ultimately want to do because they may
not end up– be– you know, may not be able to begin
their studies on time if the change of
status application is still pending with
Citizenship and Immigration Services. MR. BOLL: Thank you. Jennifer, do you have
experience with this? Do– does this– do you
see students doing this? MS. DONAGHUE: I do. I think Laura was absolutely
correct in everything she said. The big issue is timing. And can you get that
change of status approved in time
to begin studies? And, you know, is it approved
in the middle of a semester? That’s probably
not the best thing. So really, it’s about planning
ahead, having a good plan, and understanding when maybe the
change of status in the United States is not the
best option, and what would make more
sense is actually departing and re-entering as
an initial attendance I-20 student. MR. BOLL: I see, going home. Twyla, would you
like to add anything? MS. JONES: As
Jennifer mentioned, it’s oftentimes a matter of
looking at when classes begin, looking at when the stamp
inside the student’s visa who has a B-1, B-2
actually will end, and trying to figure out the
best time for them to do that. And, as Jennifer mentioned,
oftentimes, it makes more sense and it’s a shorter
piece of time for them to return home and then come
back in for the next semester. MR. BOLL: Thank
you, thank you, all. That’s very valuable advice. Another question
that we’re getting is whether or not students
can work in the United States on a student visa while
they’re in school. Laura? MS. STEIN: So within the
lifecycle of a student, there are some
opportunities to work. But it’s really something that
you work with your designated school official– you work with them on whether
it’s something you can do. So I’m going to pass that
to Jennifer and Twyla to speak more on. MS. DONAGHUE: Sure. So there are opportunities and
options and work authorizations that are open for F-1
international students that may be on campus. There’s the possibility
to work off campus through something called
curricular practical training. After you graduate, you might
do optional practical training. There are options. But I would stress
that when you have a student that’s
coming from abroad to a university, your focus– we want you to be focused
on being a student– MS. STEIN: Mhm. MS. DONAGHUE: –and
excelling in your coursework and getting the good grades
and enjoying not working. Once you start,
you may never want to stop or be able to stop. So we encourage you to
focus on your studies. And then, yes, there is the
option for work authorization. That’s certainly out
there for F-1 students. MR. BOLL: Thank you, Jennifer. Twyla, is this something
that you see often? Is it a– is it a frequent topic
that you get from students? MS. JONES: It’s
actually very funny because during our
seminars and workshops, our employment
workshop is the one that we have more– the
most students coming to because everyone wants
to know, how can I work? What can I do? And as Jennifer
pointed out, we have to make sure that we reaffirm
with them that, you know, you have student visa. And your main reason for being
here is actually studying. And we know things happen. Life happens. Things happen back
home, currency problems and that sort of thing. And so we do, during
the employment workshop, actually discuss the
different types of options that students have. But yes, it is the
very highly visited– revisited topic every semester. MR. BOLL: Thank you–
thank you, Twyla. So the next is a
related question that we’re getting from
our viewing audience. Can I travel in the
U.S. on my student visa? And related to
that, what happens if I have to go home during
my program temporarily? Something happens,
I need to go home. Laura, would you–
would you like to start? MS. STEIN: Sure. So, of course, once you’ve
entered the United States with a student visa, you
are free to move around within the United States as
you like, visit other states, and see the country. MR. BOLL: Vacation to
Hawaii, no problem? MS. STEIN: Oh, sure. MR. BOLL: Nice, OK. MS. STEIN: Vacation
to Hawaii, absolutely. You can also travel outside
of the United States as well, where–
you know, you’re free you’re free to come and go. However, if your student
visa does expire– either while you’re still
here in the United States and then you go
outside the country, or if it expires while
you’re outside the country– you will need to apply for– re-apply rather,
for a student visa at one of our
embassies or consulates from outside the United States. And then you’ll need
that student visa in order to re-enter. MR. BOLL: And so
re-applying, I assume, means having all those
documents you need and being ready for that. That is, if you
leave and you know you’re going to have
to re-apply, you– you should be organized. MS. STEIN: Yeah, that’s correct. So you’ll still– in re-applying
for the student visa, you will still need to establish
to the Consular Officer that you’re qualified to be
issued a student visa, just as you were required to
do the first time around. MR. BOLL: OK. Jennifer, do you– have you
seen these kinds of things happen as student experiences? MS. DONAGHUE: Yes,
students want to travel. They’re traveling
by coming here. They oftentimes want to
see the United States. That’s something we encourage. The important things that we
try to highlight for students are that you have your
documents with you. And so what that might
mean is if you’re local, traveling around
Washington DC, maybe going into a local state,
that’s not a big deal. But if you’re traveling
across the country, and you’re going to
California, for example, we want to make sure that you
have your documents on you in case you need
to produce them– in case something
happens, and you need to show that you’re an F-1
student or show your passport. When it comes to
international travel, I think the big
thing that we see is the need to plan
ahead and prepare early for getting a travel
signature on your I-20, checking your visa stamp to
make sure it did not expire. If it did, knowing
that you have to build in time to your travels
to get that visa stamp to get back in in
time to get back to class. MR. BOLL: So it sounds like
organization is everything. MS. DONAGHUE: It truly is. MR. BOLL: Twyla, I imagine
you have also similar stories and experiences. MS. JONES: We sure do. And we have seen, actually,
an increasing number of what are called 515s, where
students have left the country and not gotten the signature
on their I-20 before leaving or forgot some other
kind of document. So that is one of the issues
that I’ve seen probably in the last year and a half,
where we have to now check back with the student and make sure
they get the correct documents and take it back
to an SEVP office. MR. BOLL: Thank you, Twyla. So our next question
is whether or not a student can transfer schools
or change degrees on a student visa. And a related issue,
does the student then need to pay the SEVIS again? Laura, can I start
with you again on that? Sounds kind of technical. MS. STEIN: Yeah,
actually, this really would be a question that
would be best answered by Jennifer or Twyla– MR. BOLL: OK. MS. STEIN: –since
it’s pertaining to what’s happening
with the student when they’re here in
the United States. MR. BOLL: Jennifer? MS. DONAGHUE: Sure. So students can transfer
to other institutions. I see it all the time. Why would they want to leave
George Washington University? I don’t know. But they do. MR. BOLL: I’m sure they
come over to you as well. MS. DONAGHUE: This is true. They come, and maybe
they go, now and then. But it’s certainly an option. There is a SEVIS transfer that
takes place electronically in SEVIS. So that’s a bit of a
process that has to happen. So we request that students
come in and make that request, so we know exactly what we’re
doing and where they’re going and make sure that we’re
doing it timely for them. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. Twyla, from your
perspective, does the school really facilitate
this for the student? MS. JONES: Yes, we do. What’s very important for
the students to understand is that we need to see
an admission letter. And many times, a lot
of the SEVP schools have a form that they want
the transfer-out school to complete,
basically letting them know that the F-1 student was
in compliance and everything was OK. But yeah, we see a lot of that. This is April going into May. And so we see a lot of that
with the end of spring semester upon us. MR. BOLL: OK. And I imagine from the
community college perspective, where you also have strong
links to other institutions, you see people moving
between community colleges and other higher
education institutions. I assume this is something
that’s pretty common? MS. JONES: Definitely
George Mason University is our largest
partner with regards to Northern Virginia
Community College transferring to that school. And so there’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of communication
between DSOs at both schools. MR. BOLL: And in– just out of
curiosity, say it was a school across the country. Would it make a difference? I mean, I assume the
system is national, right, the SEVIS system? MS. JONES: Correct– correct. Yeah, it wouldn’t
make any difference. We would still have to
see the admission letter, sign off on any forms,
transfer all that information electronically, and then
wish the student well. MR. BOLL: OK, well thank
you– thank you very much. So the next question
we’re getting is, am I allowed to
apply for a student visa in a country
outside my home country? So that’s– I imagine
that’s a frequent question. MS. STEIN: Yes, yes. So the answer is yes,
you are allowed to apply outside of your home country. We typically get
questions about, you know, Canada and Mexico,
specifically, for students who are in the United
States and need to– need to renew their visas
because their visa has expired. If you are interested
in applying at one of those
locations, you will want to look on the websites of
those consulates and embassies to see, first of all,
what the wait times are, in particular, for what we refer
to as third-country nationals, you know, coming in to
apply in Canada or Mexico, rather than going back
to their home country. But it is possible. So, you know, so it’s
something that a student– that a student could do. You still do need to
establish, though, that you qualify for the
student visa, including your ties to your home country,
which sometimes can be more difficult to establish when
you’re applying in a country outside of your home country. So students do need to keep
that in mind when they’re– when they’re thinking about
applying in a location that’s outside of
their home country. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. MS. STEIN: Mhm. MR. BOLL: Just to
follow up, Jennifer, is– does the school
take a position on where students should
apply for their visas? Or does the school get
involved in this issue at all? MS. DONAGHUE: We certainly
have students that ask us what their options are. And so we would present the
same information that Laura did. And depending on the situation
and what’s happening, we may encourage a student
to go to their home country, just to make sure that
nothing goes wrong for them. And that’s kind of
the safest route. But if they are willing to
know and deal with the fact that if they go
to a third country that there could be
an issue potentially and they may get sent to their
home country for processing, that’s an option, too. I think the biggest thing we
try to provide is information, so they know what
they’re getting into, and allow them to
make those decisions. MR. BOLL: Thank you. Twyla, do you see– see it from the
same perspective? Do– does– are you asked by
students, where should I go? MS. JONES: All of the time. And I actually have
some stories of students in the past, both a four-year
institutions and community colleges, that have actually
gotten into situations when not returning home but
yet going to a third country to try and renew their visas. And so I always lay
everything out on the table and let students
know, you know, you’re going to take a risk if
you’re going to do this. But it’s up to you. Some students do it
without any problems. Some had problems in the past. And so I always
want to let students know that information up front. MR. BOLL: Thank– thank
you, all three of you. And so, in any
case, if you do– it sounds like if you do choose
to apply in a third country, make sure that you know what
the timing is, the wait time. Look at the appointments. It’s not just a matter of
turning up and saying, hey, I’m applying for a visa. But it’s the whole
process again, right– MS. STEIN: Yes. MR. BOLL: –that
we went through? OK, thank– thank you all. OK, our next question
from our viewer is, what if my visa expires
before I graduate while I’m still in the United States? So the visa– I’m
still studying. Visa is expired. Can I just keep studying? MS. STEIN: Yes. So this is– this gets into
a discussion of duration of status. So I’ll talk about that some. So your visa, basically, is– it’s allowing you to
enter the United States. Once you’re here, if
you’re granted entry by Customs and Border
Protection at the port of entry when you arrive, you know,
usually via airplane, they’ll admit you. And they’re going
to grant you what’s called duration of status. And the best way– the
best and easiest way that I can explain
this is that a student may remain in the United
States for as long as he or she wishes, as long
as he or she is maintaining student status, meaning engaging
in that full course of study. So you could potentially
stay in the United States for the entirety
of your program. If it’s a traditional
four-year school, you could stay in for the whole
four years if you wanted to. And if your visa
expires during that time while you’re here in
the United States, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t affect your
status in the United States. It’s if you wish to
depart the United States if your visa is expired. That’s when it’s
going to matter. And that’s when you’re
going to need to re-apply. MR. BOLL: So the
visa is for travel. But once you’re
here, you can stay– MS. STEIN: Exactly. MR. BOLL: –for the purpose
that you’ve entered. MS. STEIN: Yes, you
have duration of status, which stays in place, as
long as you’re– as long as you’re continuing,
basically, to be a student. MR. BOLL: So, Twyla, let me
ask you in– in that vein. Do– if a student is here
and the visa expires, does the school have
a preference about whether or not the
student actually has a valid visa or not? MS. JONES: We
always let students know that the most important
documents once they’re here are actually that their
I-20 remains current and their passport
remains current. And we let them know that
that visa for an F-1 student is a travel document. That is the number one question
that makes students very uneasy once they get here
or once they realize their visa is going to expire. And we explain, probably
more than 20 times in a day, that it’s very important that
the I-20 and the passport remain current. But as long as they don’t
leave the United States and try to return on a
expired visa, they are fine. MR. BOLL: Jennifer, are
there are situations where students have
then had to travel because of an emergency– MS. DONAGHUE: Mhm. MR. BOLL: –and haven’t
had a valid visa? Does– you see that? MS. DONAGHUE: It’s happened. We do everything we can
to make sure students know what they need to
get back into the country. And so we have had
emergency situations where students may have
left without a travel signature on their I-20,
perhaps without knowing that their visa had expired. They have to get it
renewed to re-enter. If it’s about sending them an
I-20 with a travel signature, we could probably work that out. But the visa is
something that has to be valid at that time of entry. So it’s– traveling is– can be a little tricky. And so we do everything we can
to provide as much information as possible for– so students are prepared. MR. BOLL: So bottom
line, don’t do anything without talking to your DSO– MS. DONAGHUE: Yes. MR. BOLL: –without
talking to your school. Make sure that you– that students are talking
to the schools about this. MS. DONAGHUE: That’s important. It’s important to
have a relationship with your international
office and your DSOs just so you can ask questions. And we can check
your SEVIS record. We can look at your
immigration documents. We can make sure your
travel signature will be valid at your time of re-entry. It’s a two-way street to keep
that communication going. MR. BOLL: Thank you. OK, our next question is,
once an international student is accepted at a
university, how long will it take for him or her
to receive the I-20 form? Very good question. Jennifer, do you want to–
do you want to take that? MS. DONAGHUE: So it– actually issuing
the I-20 does not take a tremendous
amount of time. It must be done by
a designated school official or a principal
designated school official. But what can take a
little time is actually getting that document to
the international student. So whatever that
shipping process may be, that could be a day. That could be several days. There could be
holidays involved. And it could take
longer than anticipated to reach the student. And then, of course,
there’s that time needed to apply
for the visa stamp and get it and prepare to leave
and come to the United States. So again, so much of this is
about planning ahead and being organized and making sure
you allot enough time so that you’re not rushed. MR. BOLL: OK, very interesting. Twyla, let me ask you this–
the next question we have, which is, how can my
family travel with me or visit me while I’m studying? Do you see families
coming to join students? MS. JONES: We definitely
do see dependents, spouses coming to visit and sometimes
also applying for an F-2 visa to come and sometimes
study, sometimes go to high school, junior high
school, elementary school. We also, at this period of time
with graduation coming upon us, we have a lot of students
requesting letters of enrollment education’s
enrollment for their families to visit for graduation. So we do see this a lot. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. Laura, do you want to talk about
the technicalities of this? MS. STEIN: I did. So, as Twyla said, it
is possible for spouses and children, if you have
minor children, they can– they can apply for the
F-2 visas to basically accompany you to the United
States while you’re studying. Other– any other
family members– brothers, sisters,
parents, they– they would not qualify to get
the F-2 visa to accompany you. Family members can–
family members, you know, parents, brothers,
sisters, friends, they can come visit you while you’re
here in the United States studying and also,
like, for graduation as twila said and
they would usually they would need a visitor
visa or perhaps they may be able to use
the Visa Waiver Program if they’re from one
of our visa waiver countries. You mentioned the
letter, Twyla, that some of the students or
the family members are asking for a letter. I just want to
point out that this isn’t something that’s required
to apply for a visitor visa. You know, the Consular
Officer may take the letter from the school
they may look at it. But it’s by no means a document
that’s going to be required. And it’s– as with
all types of visas, it’s the applicant who needs
to establish that they qualify for the visa. So the Consular Officer
will be looking to– looking at whether
the family member is qualified to receive
that visitor visa. MR. BOLL: So there’s
never an automatic visa. It’s always a
case-by-case decision based on the specific
applicant who is applying. MS. STEIN: Exactly. And in every case– in every case for every visa
classification, every visa type, it’s the
applicant who must establish that
they are qualified to be issued that visa. MR. BOLL: OK, thank
you very much. MS. STEIN: Mhm. MR. BOLL: We have a
question from IRC Bujumbura. Thank you, Bujumbura. They ask, is the process any
different for high school or secondary school students? Laura, let me begin with you– MS. STEIN: So the visa– MR. BOLL: –for that one. MS. STEIN: –application
process is going to be– is going to be the
same, where you get your I-20 from the school. If you’re coming on a J-1
as an exchange visitor, that form number
is DS-2019, so just a slight– a slight difference. But otherwise, the
process is the same, as far as applying for the
visa, completing the form, scheduling the interview,
and ultimately, attending the interview. MR. BOLL: And so the high
school, the secondary school would be in the position
of the university. They would be the opposite
side that’s issuing the form and that the students
are dealing with? MS. STEIN: Yes. MR. BOLL: OK, got it. Got it. Thank you. Our next question
is, will a student be told at the end
of the interview whether the visa was
issued or refused? And will the interview
be in English? MS. STEIN: So at the
end of the interview, the student will be told
whether their application is approved or denied. You know, going back to what we
talked about earlier, depending on what the specific
grounds of refusal is, you definitely want to
keep listening, in any case. If it’s a refusal
under Section 221(g), the administrative
processing, it could be that you’re ultimately approved if– if– after you’ve provided
any missing documentation if that’s the case, or
if there’s something that the Consular Section
is doing on the back end. Once that’s completed, you
may ultimately be approved. So it’s important that
you continue to listen. And then, with the–
with the 214(b) refusal, you can re-apply. The interview, in most cases,
will be conducted in English, if your– if your program
of study is in English, which we know, in most cases– in most cases, the programs of
study here in the United States are going to be in English. Classes are going
to be in English. So, yes, you can expect to
be interviewed in English by the Consular Officer. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. MS. STEIN: Mhm. MR. BOLL: Just curious,
Jennifer, do you– in terms of the visa process, do
students basically, you know– is it– is it a process
that you find transparent? Do students understand
how this works? MS. DONAGHUE: I– again,
I think a lot of it goes into needing to
plan ahead and know what you’re getting into. I think watching webinars
like this fantastic webinar this morning are
very positive just to paint the picture so
that you understand what’s going to happen, that you
don’t have anxiety over it because you know what this
interview will be, that it will be in English, the
questions that may be asked, what they’re looking for. So as long as you know
that going into it, I think students do fine. And, as Laura explained,
if you are denied, there’s the possibility
to apply again. And then it’s that
process going forward. So, as we mentioned,
your visa may expire while you’re
in the United States. So if you need to go
abroad and have it renewed, you know what you’re
going into again. So I think probably
the first time might be the one time students
are really questioning about what will happen. And hopefully, this webinar
giving you some reassurance that you can do it. And it will probably not
be as bad as you think. It might be a
positive experience and certainly worth it
to come here and study. MR. BOLL: That’s fantastic. Twyla, do you– do you
want to add anything? MS. JONES: One thing
that we do– and I’m sure many of the
institutions in the U.S. do is we actually provide a
list of questions or information about the interview and what
may be asked and how to respond and a lot of the things that
Laura actually went over. So we actually provide that
information for our students before visiting the embassy. MR. BOLL: OK, so try not to
be nervous, but be prepared. So, Twyla, let me start with
you for the next question, which is, can I apply
for an internship or work on a student visa? So we’ve already
talked about work, but what I wonder
about internships. MS. JONES: Certainly. That would– for us,
it actually falls up under CPT, or Curricular
Practical Training. And so there– this is
an employment benefit for F-1 students. But there are
certain criteria they have to meet before
they can do that. At NOVA, we have very few
CPT internships available. I know our automotive program
is one of the very few that we have where there’s an
actual class that a student must take that’s part
of the coursework, meaning that this
coursework is– and this internship are
required for graduation. We have very few of those. And I’m not sure about
George Washington. But at my previous
institution, we had a few more where
students were actually able to do internships. But Jennifer may actually
have more possibilities at George Washington,
being a larger institution. MR. BOLL: Jennifer, would– MS. DONAGHUE: So there
is– there’s certainly work authorization opportunities
through curricular practical training, through
working on campus, through post-completion,
OPT, Optional Practical Training, the ability to work
for an international org, an unpaid or voluntary position. So there are lots
of opportunities. The key is talking with
your DSO to make sure that you’re not violating your
status, that you’re not working without work authorization,
that you’re not volunteering at a position that might
be looked at as being not correct by
Department of Labor law here in the United States. And, again, I encourage students
to focus on why they’re here, which is an academic program
and studying and building themselves up. We have a robust
career services program at George Washington
University that helps students work
on their cover letter, work on their resume, learn
how to behave in an interview– and how to shake
hands and be engaging as someone who’s in the
hot seat at an interview. So all of those
services are there. And I think that all ties into,
ultimately, landing the job. MR. BOLL: Thank you, both. Laura, anything you’d like
to add from a consular perspective? MS. STEIN: No, I
mean, again, we know that internships and work are a
part of the student life cycle. But it’s something that’s
happening, you know, once you’re in
the United States. So– so your school
officials are the best source for guidance on that. MR. BOLL: OK, thank
you very much. Let me stay with you for
the next question, which is, whether or not
a visa is issued for the entire duration
of an educational program or on a yearly basis. How– how does that work? MS. STEIN: So the answer
is, it’s going to depend. First of all, it’s
going to depend on how long your program actually is. Your visa may, in
fact, cover– your visa may, in fact, be valid for just
as long as you are studying. It also depends on what
your nationality is. We have– not to get too–
too down in the weeds, but we have something called
the reciprocity schedule, basically, with every
country in the world that dictates how long
each category of visa is going to be valid for. Just as an example,
Chinese students, their F-1 visas are
valid for five years. Other nationalities, they may
be valid for just one year. But do keep in mind
the student visa, it’s just– as we
said earlier, it’s your travel document for
entering the United States. If it does expire
while you are here, that doesn’t impact your
ability to continue to study. You’re under duration of status. And you can continue to study. The validity of the
visa only is going to matter if you need to depart
the United States and re-enter. MR. BOLL: Does that– does the schedule of validity– MS. STEIN: Reciprocity. MR. BOLL: –reciprocity– MS. STEIN: Yeah. MR. BOLL: Does that change
every once in a while? MS. STEIN: It can, but it’s
something that’s not really happening all the time. It’s– yeah, so not
that– not that often. MR. BOLL: OK, OK, thank you. A related question
from our viewers– could a visa
application be refused even if a student has
been admitted to a college and even, for example,
has a scholarship? MS. STEIN: So yes,
it could happen that your application
could be refused, even if you have a scholarship. Of course, admittance to
a college or university, a U.S. institution,
is a requirement to even apply for
the student visa, that the school has accepted
you and given you that I-20. So that’s, you know, that’s
sort of a baseline to even apply for the student visa. But regardless of
whether you have the I-20 and whether or not you’ve
been granted an internship, you still need to establish
that you qualify even with those factors in place. MR. BOLL: I see, OK. So, in any case,
you have to qualify. MS. STEIN: Exactly. MR. BOLL: OK, the– the– any form or scholarship
is not an automatic ticket. MS. STEIN: Exactly. MR. BOLL: OK. MS. STEIN: Yes. MR. BOLL: Thank you. Our next question is, if I have
an F-1 visa and also a B-1– meaning a visitor or a tourist
visa to enter, B-1, B-2– which one do I use to
enter the U.S. to study? Can I have more than one
valid visa at a time? MS. STEIN: So it is possible to
have more than one valid visa. And– and that’s a pretty
typical combination of having a B visitor visa as
well as an F-1 student visa. When your purpose of travel,
though, to the United States is to study, you should be
entering with the F-1 visa. So that’s something you
might want to make sure is happening at
the port of entry, that they are, in fact,
admitting you on the F-1, and you’ll present in your I-20. So again, that’s a
good– a good cue that your intent, of course, is
to study in the United States. MR. BOLL: So that
makes a lot of sense. Do you– I’m just
wondering, Jennifer– do you see students coming with
those questions as well, or– MS. DONAGHUE: Yes. So sometimes we have the
student who may have actually come to study at
George Washington University and their
I-94 reflects B status or a different visa
than that F visa. And so that’s something
that has to be reconciled, whether that’s going
back to the airport and trying to figure out how
that could be reconciled, or departing and re-entering. So we stress with
students the importance when they’re coming
through inspection to– after they’ve
passed through, to look and see how they’ve been
categorized through their entry process and make
sure they are an F-1. We check that as part of
the check-in process that we mentioned earlier– through that in-person
and that document check– so that we can
register the student in SEVIS. So it is very important,
very, very important. MR. BOLL: Thank you, Jennifer. Twyla? MS. JONES: Well, as
Jennifer mentioned, as part of the
check-in process, we’re looking over those
documents, making sure that everything is OK. And if we do see
any discrepancies, we’re definitely going to
let the student know and try and resolve those issues. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. Next question, I think,
goes to Laura first. Could you go over again
more about visa denials? What should I do if I’m
rejected for a student visa? I can imagine that
is– that’s, you know, on a lot of students’ minds. MS. STEIN: Yeah. Well, you know, I
want to stress again that, in fact, most
students are approved– MR. BOLL: Are approved. MS. STEIN: –right? As we said at the beginning,
72% in fiscal year 2016. So– so do keep that
in mind, you know, when you’re going
to your interview. So sure, we can go through
the refusal information again. Did you just– do you want to
go through the various sections of the law again, Fred? Shall we do that? MR. BOLL: I would say maybe
not the whole sections of law, but maybe about kind of
the spirit of a student. Is there anything that
the Consular Officer would have said that might give
the student a hint about, you know, where she
or he stands, what– I mean, of course they’ll be
informed about their refusal. But, for example, if
it’s Section 221(g), the student knows it’s
administrative processing, that they need to stay in
touch, that there’ll be– there’ll be some communication– MS. STEIN: Right. MR. BOLL: –right? MS. STEIN: They might, under– I will say this. Under a refusal under 221(g),
they might say something to the effect of, your
application is pending– pending administrative
processing. So that would be something
that they would say. And again, you’d get– you’d
get the letter from the Consular Officer citing Section
221(g) in writing. MR. BOLL: Right. And if it’s a
refusal under 214(b), they really need to show
that their circumstances have changed since the interview. MS. STEIN: Yes, yes. MR. BOLL: Right? MS. STEIN: So if you’re
refused under Section 214(d)– 214(b), which is probably
going to be the most the most frequent reason
for a visa refusal, it’s possible to re-apply. And you determine if
you want to re-apply and when you want to re-apply. We do advise that
you– that you– you know, don’t– there’s
probably no reason to come in again the next day
and try to re-apply. But rather, if
your circumstances have changed, if there’s
something– something additional you can demonstrate
to the Consular Officer during the visa
interview, at that point, you might want to
consider re-applying. And, you know, if you feel
like you’re going to be able to express yourself better–
maybe you were nervous the first time– then you may certainly re-apply. MR. BOLL: Right. But being organized,
having the documents, making sure that you have
ties to your home country, all of those things
stay the same. MS. STEIN: Exactly. The– the threshold, really– you know, the threshold of
qualifying under the law remains the same. You do still need to meet
all of those requirements in order to qualify. MR. BOLL: OK, thank you. MS. STEIN: Mhm. MR. BOLL: Thank you. Our next question
is, can I get a visa before I am admitted
to a U.S. institution? So is it does it ever happen
that students get a student visa without being admitted? MS. STEIN: No. We cannot we cannot grant
a student visa if you haven’t been
admitted to a school. If you haven’t been
admitted to the school, you haven’t been
issued the I-20. MS. DONAGHUE: Mhm. MS. STEIN: The I-20 is, you
know, that most sort of basic– basic qualification towards
establishing that you qualify for the student visa. So it would not be
possible to issue a student visa until you’ve been
accepted to a school. MR. BOLL: Makes perfect sense. What– what if I’m a student who
wants to come see the campus? So I’m a prospective student. I haven’t enrolled. I haven’t applied yet. And I’m– say I’m 16 or 17,
and I want to go visit five schools. Do– I don’t get a
student visa, do I? MS. STEIN: No, that
would be a visitor visa. Or you could also travel
on the Visa Waiver Program for that
purpose if you’re from a visa waiver country. There’s more details about
applying for a visitor visa and the Visa Waiver
Program on our website So I’d encourage you to look
there for more information. MR. BOLL: Jennifer,
is that something– do you get many students
coming to visit campus before they enroll? MS. DONAGHUE: We do. Students come. We have campus visit days. They’re actually
going on right now. So they come. They may bring their
family with them. They may come alone. But we have walking
tours and a chance for them to have an
experience of what it feels like to be a student
at George Washington University. So it’s a good thing to do
if you’re able to do it. There’s also lots
of resources online that you can kind of get
a sense of what university might be the right fit for you. MR. BOLL: Twyla, is that
something that you encourage, for students to come
and visit in advance? MS. JONES: Definitely. And what we find,
actually, is when family will come to visit
other family members– and they may be of high school
age or maybe of college age– they may come to campus
and ask questions about what’s going on, how
do I go through the process, and that sort of thing. So we certainly have
a number of students that come a lot of the
times during the summers because they’re on vacation. And they’re asking questions
about the I-20 process. So yes, we do have a number
of students asking questions and wanting to change
their visa status. MR. BOLL: Thank you very much. I know that we have been– here, we’ve been talking a lot
about the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign that many
colleges and universities throughout the
country are engaged in to make sure that
students around the world know how welcome they
are in the United States, how ready their campuses
are, their communities, the American people, to
receive international students, and how much of a
fabric exchanges are as part of the American
higher education landscape. So very briefly, because I
think we’re running out of time, our next question is,
will certain colleges or universities help or hurt
my chances of getting a visa? That’s a– it’s a hard question. But– MS. STEIN: Yeah. And we know this is something
that a lot of students are– are concerned about and
that it’s on their minds. So when you’re applying
for your student visa, the Consular
Officer is deciding, based on their interview
with you, whether you qualify for a student visa. They’re not adjudicating
or making that decision based on the school that
you have decided to attend. So no, your– your
selection of school is not helping or hindering
whether you’re going to be approved for a visa. It’s– they’re strictly
adjudicating the visa application and the applicant. MR. BOLL: OK, thank
you very much. So our final question
is one for EducationUSA, which is what is the role of the
EducationUSA Advising Center? How do I find one? How can they help me
in the visa process? And so I’ll quickly turn
to Jennifer and Twyla because I know you
interact with EducationUSA. MS. DONAGHUE: Mhm. MR. BOLL: How would you advise– I can tell students,
certainly the best way is through our website, You will find an
advisor that way. It’s– and they will
help you through this. Do you– how would
you advise students to– to interact with us? MS. DONAGHUE: Well,
I know EducationUSA has advisors throughout
the world that can talk with you about
what your experience would potentially be
like, whether or not you’re feeling ready to come
and study in the United States, and what you need to do
in advance to be prepared to get here. So they provide a
lot of information for you, for your
planning, just preparing for your overall
experience and helping to ensure you’re successful. I know we’ve done some
trainings for advisors and worked with them so that
they understand very well what a university perspective is. So they are nothing but helpful
in educating you and helping get you here to the
United States to study. MR. BOLL: Thank you, Jennifer. Twyla, last words? MS. JONES: I would just say
EducationUSA is second to none. Use the information. Use the website
to get information because it’s very important
to have a sense of ease before coming to the
United States and studying. And this is one of the
best ways to actually meet other people who are going
through the same process who have the same questions and need
the same types of information. So definitely use the
EducationUSA website. MR. BOLL: Thank
you so much, Twyla. Unfortunately, we
are out of time. A big thank you to all
of our online viewers and all of the viewing
groups around the world, including American Space
Astana, Kazakhstan; IRCA Kigali, Rwanda; IRC Bujumbura,
Burundi; American Space Gitega, Burundi; IRC Windhoek,
Namibia; and Window on America in Ukraine; the
American Center at– in Pristina, Kosovo; and
EducationUSA Advising Centers in Minsk, Belarus, Guadalajara,
Mexico, Abuja, Nigeria; and the American
Space in Barcelona. You can find more information
about studying in the USA by visiting the
EducationUSA website at There you can find information
on the five steps to U.S. study, locate an EducationUSA
center in your country, connect with us
via social media, learn about both in-person
and virtual upcoming events, research financial and other aid
opportunities, and much more. You can find more information
about applying for a student visa by visiting Thank you. And please join us for future
EducationUSA interactive web chats. Goodbye from Washington.

About James Carlton

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26 thoughts on “EducationUSA | Your Student Visa Questions Answered (May 2017)

  1. Thank very much for making this video. It is very informative and i have benefited from listening to all the explanations provided. Thank you once again.

  2. Thanks Thanks Thanks my Honorable and respective members …… It's the earliest and big help of my Life

  3. My question is that, if one get full assistantship that covers his/her expenses then also it is necessary to show financial such as bank balance and property.

  4. If my sister or any other relative applied for me the immigration status, will it have any impact for me to apply as a student visa or get a student visa? please reply if possible.

  5. Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing to ask if you have any wisdom for me since I have trouble in getting a student visa to go to study at the community college, MVCC, in the US. I was rejected one time already and I feel so worried for my second interview. The reason why I was rejected might be because of that I wasn’t be able to explicitly explain my situation to the consular officer.
    The consular officer suspect on why I do an associate degree while I already hold a Bachelor’s Degree, which might be the main issue I noticed.

    I was trying to explain, that is, I want to do a second bachelor's degree, this one in Nursing with the start of the first two years at MVCC, then will transfer to one of the SUNY System Universities to complete my BS in Nursing.
    I decided to change my career from being an ESL Teacher to Nursing Educator because I am committed to impact change on medical education and medical care services in Cambodia and to say Cambodian people’s lives from poor medical treatment. My long-term noble goal is to combine my experiences and expertise in education with the new skills in nursing to become a nursing educator in order to advance the medical education and medical system in my home country and to take care of my family.

    I have got the sponsorship from one of my host family when I visited the US for the first time on Educational Exchange Program funded by CIEE, Council on Educational Exchange.

    I am so lucky that I have this sponsorship and I really need this great opportunity to study in the states in order to accomplish my dream of helping my country to have better medical education, medical care services, and medical system process.

    Do you have any ideas of how I can explain the consular officer to easily understand of how I do two years program at Mohawk Valley Community College, which does result in an associate degree and will then transfer to the SUNY System University to complete my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing?

    I have tried to explain the consular in my first interview, but I got paused while I haven’t explained the whole things yet, which did result in the disapproval of my visa.

    With thanks and appreciation,

  6. Hey sir i have a one question i was applied for i20 in lincoln university california from ageant through ..but they did'nt informed anything related to our i20 they are just said like i20 will come in 30,35 days ..pllzz help me if i wann sure from my university they applied for i20 or not i will

  7. I belong to Panchkula on completion of my Bachelor of Civil Engineering , I was looking to upgrade my qualification and came in Woodbridge Overseas Consultants chandigarh, after meeting him and admission team with a proper career guidance got enrolled for Masters of Project Management at Harvard University in USA and also received the my student visa the same day of lodgement. I recommend students that they must take career guidance from Woodbridge Overseas team before making a decision about the course and college.

    More details click here:

  8. Hello sir
    My f 1 visa was denied twice this year, so I apply for any other I 20, any other interview date is December 10, but have apply for Ukraine student visa, to backup my plan, I hope it won’t affect my US interview
    I need your quick response
    Thank you

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