If you need a student visa...Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Q: What is an F-1 student visa, and who is qualified to seek one?
A: An F1 visa is required to study in the US at universities, private secondary or elementary schools, or in language training programmes. For study at a vocational or non-academic institution, an M1 visa is required. Applicants who are qualified to apply for these visas are individuals who have already been accepted and plan on attending any of the programmes previously listed. We are delighted you would like to study in the United States.
Q: What do I need for my visa application and how soon can I travel to the US?
A: You will receive an I-20 form from the school that has accepted you for enrolment. Congratulations on your acceptance! The I-20 specifies the visa you will need and indicates your programme start date. If the start date listed on the I-20 is unrealisable before the visa process is complete, you should obtain a new I-20 from your school or request a letter from the school indicating that you have permission to arrive at school after the date indicated on the I-20.
Upon receipt of the I-20 you may complete the online application. All applicants must fill out the DS-160 visa application, pay the application fee, schedule a visa appointment, and bring the following documentation to the interview:
* a passport with at least 6 months of remaining validity;
* previous passports/visas;
* DS-160 confirmation sheet;
* appointment confirmation page;
* a passport-size photo; and
* proof of visa fee payment.
In addition, student visa applicants must bring the I-20 to the embassy and the following documents:
* Confirmation of payment of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee, which can be paid through Western Union or online at www.fmjfee.com. The embassy is not authorised to collect this fee;
* Proof of sufficient funds to pay for at least the first year of study in the US and your plan to cover the cost of the remainder of your studies. Applicants should be prepared to present documentation relating to scholarships, grants, and loans, if applicable, as well as affidavits of support, and bank statements from sponsors. Please ensure that the information you are providing is current, with financial statements issued within the past three months;
* Recent transcripts, standardised test scores, and other evidence to prove that you are a bona fide student. Applicants must also demonstrate they possess sufficient knowledge of English to pursue their intended course of study;
* If your I-20 date has passed, please bring a letter from your school, granting permission to arrive at school after the date indicated on the I-20. Please keep in mind the consular officer may still request an updated I-20.
You should wait until you have all of the required documentation before scheduling your visa interview. It is best to apply well in advance of your scheduled departure date. We can issue a visa up to 120 days before your programme start date, but you cannot enter the US as a student more than 30 days prior to the start of school.
If your departure for the US is delayed, you must alert the registrar or admissions office of your academic institution. Students who are not present on the start date indicated on their I-20 risk being marked as “no-shows”, which could complicate future travel to the United States.
Congratulations again, and enjoy your studies in the United States.
You can find more information about how to travel to the United States on our website, https://jm.usembassy.gov/ and the website of our authorised service provider at www.usvisa-info.com. Keep on top of Embassy news on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/pages/US-Embassy-Jamaica and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
For safety and security reasons, the US Embassy asks that all individuals arrive at the embassy no more than 15 minutes before their designated appointment time. Please be masked, and observe proper social distancing.
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