|APPLYING FOR YOUR U.S. VISA
an F-1 applicant is is currently abroad, and do not yet have
a valid U.S. student visa, applicant generally applies
for one at the U.S. embassy or consulate with
jurisdiction over his/her place of permanent residence.
Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S.
consular office abroad, it is generally more
difficult to qualify for the visa outside the
country of permanent residence.
The F-1 applicant
should apply for his/her student visa well in advance
of the date s/he would like to depart for IAU.
Remember that s/he is required to show proof
of having paid the Federal SEVIS Fee when s/he
appears for your visa interview. Holiday and
vacation periods are very busy times at the
US embassies and consulates world wide, and
it is important for him/her to have his/her visa in
time to arrive and begin orientation and registration
activities no later than the start date on your
I-20. Appointments are now mandatory for all
student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates
require that appointments be made at least four
to eight weeks in advance. The actual visa interview
may be as early as 120 days prior to his/her planned
arrival date in the United States.
U.S. embassies and consulates have a website
where you can read the latest information on
|WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU TO THE VISA INTERVIEW
sure to bring the following with you to the
fee or proof of visa fee payment;
- Federal SEVIS Fee payment receipt;
non-immigrant visa application forms (unless
you will completing it at the consulate or
scores and academic records;
of English proficiency;
of financial support;
of ties to your home country;
other documents required by the embassy or
that if you plan to attend IAU, you must present
the visa officer with a I-20 issued by IAU.
You cannot apply for a U.S. visa using another
school's I-20, and then try to attend IAU, as
that is considered to be a fraudulent entry
by the U.S. Immigration authorities.
|STRATEGIES FOR THE VISA APPOINTMENT
are well advised to consider the following matters
prior to your visa appointment, as you may be
asked about each item.
- Academics: Be definite and clear about your educational
plans. You should be able to explain precisely
what you wish to study and why you chose International
American University for your education. Be
especially prepared to explain reasons for
studying in the United States rather than
- English: Anticipate
that the visa interview will be conducted
in English. Do not bring parents or family
members with you to the visa interview. The
consular official will want to interview you,
not your family. A negative impression is
created if you are not prepared to speak on
your own behalf.
- Ties to Your Home Country: Demonstrate convincing reasons for consular
officials to believe that you intend to return
home after studies in the United States. Emphasize
ties to your home country such as employment,
family obligations, bank accounts, family
members at home, property or investments that
you own or will inherit, and clear explanations
of how you plan to use your education to help
your country or pursue a career when you return
- Financial Documentation: Be prepared to prove financial ability to
pay for your education and living expenses.
While some students will be able to work part
time during their studies, such employment
is incidental to their main purpose of completing
their education. You must show the consular
officer that you have the annual amount in
United States dollars listed on your I-20
or DS-2019 form. Your financial evidence should
be in the form of bank statements, affidavits
of support, scholarship award letters, etc.
- Be concise: Because of the volume of visa applications,
all consular officials are under considerable
pressure to conduct a quick and efficient
interview. They must make a decision, for
the most part, on the impression they form
during the first minute or two of the interview.
Consequently, what you say first and the initial
impression you create are critical to your
success. Keep your answers short and to the
- Not all countries are the same: Applicants
from countries suffering economic problems
or from countries where many students have
remained in the United States as immigrants
will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically,
applicants from these countries are more likely
to be intending immigrants. They are also
more likely to be asked about job opportunities
in the United States.
- Dependents Remaining at Home: If
you have a spouse and/or children remaining
behind in your home country, be prepared to
address how they will support themselves in
your absence. This can be an especially tricky
area if you are the primary source of income
for your family. If the consular official
gains the impression that your family members
will need you to remit money from the United
States in order to support them, your student
visa will almost surely be denied.
|UPON ARRIVAL TO U.S.
U.S. immigration regulations state that new students entering on an F-1 student visa will only be eligible to enter the U.S. thirty calendar days or less prior to the beginning of the program date or start date, as given on the SEVIS I-20.
Most new international students generally arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), about a 60 minutes drive from IAU. For most students, it will be their Port of Entry (POE), the first entry point into the U.S. as a legal non-immigrant. Please find below a guide on procedures on the aircraft, customs at the POE, and baggage claim.
On the aircraft, pPrior to landing, the flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms and U.S. Customs and Border Protection forms. One important form is the I-94 arrival/departure document.
Important reminders when filling out I-94 document:
- Print clearly, with one letter in each space
- Date of Birth is in order of MONTH, DAY, YEAR
- Any mistakes will result in a correction procedure that is quite time consuming. Minor mistakes can cause major delays with certain applications that may be filed upon arriving on campus so please be attentive and careful when filling out the I-94 document.
Upon arrival, students will present their:
- Passport and Visa
- I-94 document
All newly admitted F-1 students must check-in in-person with IAU's Designated School Official (DSO) within 10 days of arrival to the U.S. All F-1 students are required to attend the new student orientation (NSO). Failure to do so will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.
|LEGAL IMMIGRATION SERVICES
IAU does not provide legal services. If you are in need of immigration legal services, please feel free to contact an experienced immigration attorney.
Villamor Giongco LLP
Carmen Villamor, Esq.
4929 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1015
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (323 )939-8200
Fax: (323) 939-8400