The process of obtaining an F-1/J-1 visa is strictly regulated by the Department of Homeland Security, and is governed by many rules and regulations. To better understand the process of selecting a school and obtaining an F-1/J-1 student visa to study in the U.S. please refer to the Homeland Security Study in the States website for guidance.
As an International Student, in order for you to come to the United States and study full-time you must apply and be granted the F-1/J-1 student visa.
You must be officially accepted to Stockton University and be issued a Form I-20/DS-2019 to qualify for an F-1/J-1 visa.
There are many rules and regulations governing the F-1/J-1 visa application process. You must follow them carefully to successfully obtain the F-1/J-1 student visa:
1. FORM I-20/DS-2019.
Once your application for admission to Stockton University is received processed and an acceptance decision has been made, you will be sent a Letter of Admission and a Form I-20/DS-2019. Check the I-20/DS-2019 against your passport information to make sure your name and date of birth are listed and spelled correctly.
2. SEVIS fee.
Once the Form I-20 is received and verified you must pay the SEVIS fee. It is required of all F-1/J-1 students. Once you pay the required SEVIS fee be sure to print and save the receipt. The receipt is your only proof of payment of the required SEVIS fee. If you do not pay the fee you will not be eligible for a visa. Please go here to pay the SEVIS fee. To learn about SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) please visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the US Department of Homeland Security-Study in the States website.
After paying the SEVIS fee you must apply for a visa as soon as possible. You must make an appointment with the nearest US Embassy or Consulate office to apply for the F-1/J-1 visa. To locate the Embassy/Consulate near you please visit: http://www.usembassy.gov/. Embassies and Consulates review a vast number of applications and you may have to wait for an appointment. To learn more about wait and processing times please go to www.travel.state.gov.
4. VISA INTERVIEW.
To prepare for your visa interview, learn as much as you can about the forms and documents required of you here. Be prepared to convince the consul that you will return to your home country after completing your study course. Place large emphasis on your personal, family and economic ties with your home country, show undeniable reasons why you will return home:
- present copies of property ownership
- business ownership by you or your family
- if you have traveled to the U.S. before emphasize that you have returned home
- if your siblings have studied in the U.S. and have returned home show copies of their diplomas, etc.
Bring with you:
- Letter of Admission from the Stockton University
- I-20 issued by Stockton University
- SEVIS receipt proving you paid the required fee
- Official School records/Transcripts (with translation)
- Affidavit of Support
- Proof of financial support
- Affidavit of Room and Board (if applicable)
- Anything that will establish an understanding that you have strong ties to your home country and will return home after completion of your program of study – such as proof of property or business ownership, etc.
5. AT THE EMBASSY.
A “consul” makes a decision to grant or deny a visa. The Consul’s job is to make sure that persons who are issued visas will return home after completion of studies. As a person wishing to enter the U.S. you will be viewed as someone wishing to remain in the U.S. permanently therefore your job as an interviewee is to convince the Consul that you will return home after completing your study course. The Consul is required by law to say: “You are not coming back home when you finish your studies!” Do not become offended and make sure, to the best of your ability, to convince the Consul that you will indeed return home after completion of your study course. The Consul’s job is to administer the law so DO NOT try to neither negotiate with the Consul nor discuss personal matters.
6. Keep in mind that the NUMBER ONE REASON that visas are denied is due to the fact that applicants are unable to prove that they will return home after the completion of studies. Therefore do not put emphasis on your ties with the U.S. relatives or friends, emphasizing instead your strong commitments and ties to your home country, family and resources.
Explain the reasons why you are traveling to the U.S. to study:
- professional or academic goals
- financial resource capability (be prepared to prove the ability to pay for school)
- English language proficiency, etc.
Be prepared to answer:
- Why you want to study in the U.S.?
- Why did you choose Stockton?
- Why did you choose your program of study?
- Be concise, positive and well prepared.
REMEMBER: You may not enter the U.S. any earlier than 30 days prior to your program start date. If you try to enter the U.S. too early you may be allowed entry under the B-2 status which prohibits you from attending school or you may be denied admission in to the U.S. all together.