Stepping Into the Future!

Student Visa

USA's international students will come to the United States with a valid student visa (F-1). In order for our students to obtain the F-1 visa, USA Program will work with our partnering private schools in the US that are approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Upon acceptance into the private school, the school will issue a form called the I-20 and will electronically register the international student in SEVIS. With the I-20 form on hand, the Intl. Student will apply with the U.S. Consulate abroad to obtain the F-1 Visa.

F-1 Student Visa: The United States welcomes intl. students to American language schools, private high schools, universities and other institutions of higher education. Thousands of learning institutions are approved by the USCIS to accept intl. students as full time students. It is possible to change schools and universities while being on an F-1 visa without leaving the country.

F-1 Student Visa Eligibility: An applicant for a U.S. student visa must come to the United States to pursue an academic program in an institution recognized by the United States government. The international student must have a valid educational purpose for coming to the United States and be a full time student. It is not possible to be a part-time student on an F-1 Visa. The student can stay in the United States for as long as he/she is enrolled in school. The F-1 student visa is normally issued at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the student's home country.

SEVIS

Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an internet-based system that allows private schools and the USCIS to exchange data on the visa status of international students. Accurate and current information is transmitted electronically throughout an F-1 student's academic career in the United States. U.S. embassies and consulates also have access to SEVIS.

How does SEVIS work?

  • After a private school admits an international student, SEVIS is notified and the USCIS decides whether to approve the Private School's request to issue an I-20 form. If approved by the USCIS, the Private School transmits the new bar-coded I-20 form to the international student.
  • The international student visits the U.S. consulate abroad, and the consulate confirms through SEVIS that the I-20 the international student is carrying is a valid document. If everything is in order, the consulate issues the F-1 visa.
  • A DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) officer at the airport or other port of entry (Border Patrol) reports to SEVIS the student's entry into the U.S.
  • When the international student arrives at the private school, he/she reports to Responsible Officer (Principal). After the international student registers for classes, the Private School confirms, through SEVIS, the student's enrollment. The Private School continues to provide regular electronic reports verifying enrollment to USCIS throughout the international student's academic career.
  • Finally, SEVIS records the international student's departure from the United States.

F-1 Student Visa Information

When the intl. students arrive in the United States, they receive a small piece of paper known as the Arrival-Departure Record or I-94 form. The immigration inspector at the port of entry stamps the form to indicate the type of visa they have, the length of time they are authorized to stay in the country - (D/S - "Duration of Stay"), and the private school which they are authorized to attend. This is a basic document which the intl. students have to present at various times during their stay and which they will have to surrender to an immigration inspector when they leave the United States. All people coming to this country (except permanent residents and citizens) receive an I-94 form when they arrive, no matter what visa they have.

International students are required to maintain their immigration status at all times. This requirement has various elements:

  • A visa allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. Student visitors must have their Form I-20 in their possession each time they enter the United States.
  • It is important that the F-1 Student Visa holders have all the necessary documents and signed authorizations to avoid any problems at the U.S. port of entry.
  • Foreign students may enter the United States multiple times if they hold a valid F-1 Student Visa.
  • The passport must also be valid for a certain amount of time in order to be granted entry.
  • F-1 Visa holders can also travel freely within the within the United States.
  • They must register as a full-time student every semester.
  • They will not seek employment.
  • They will remain at the school they were authorized to attend. They are not authorized to change schools in the middle of their program.
  • The USA Executive Director will help with any questions.

Travel outside the U.S.

In order to leave the country temporarily and return, the international students will need to surrender their I-94 upon departing the U.S. and present certain documents to the immigration inspector upon their arrival. An F-I student must obtain the Responsible Officer's (Principal) signature on Page 3 of their I-20. The United States Embassy in the student’s own country originally stamped a visa in their passport, valid for a certain period of time (most often D/S, meaning duration of stay for as long as they remain in-status as a student) and for a certain number of entries into the U.S. As long as the intl. students remain in the U.S. they do not need to be concerned with visa expiration. If they leave the U.S. with a visa that is no longer valid, they must return to a U.S. Embassy and obtain a new visa before they return. They cannot obtain a new visa within the U.S., only at a U.S. Embassy outside the country. Then, upon arrival in the U.S., they will present a valid passport, a valid visa, and an I-20 form. The immigration inspector will stamp a new I-94 for him/her indicating the period of time they may remain in the country.