Applying for Student Visa
Although you have been admitted to study at Saint Michael’s College, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate makes the final decision on granting you a student visa if you are coming from another country. However, this does not apply to Canadian citizens.
Canadian Citizens: Canadians must present valid immigration and financial documents to support their application for admission to the United States under a student visa status. If Canadian students enter the United States without a SEVIS-issued DS-2019 form or form I-20, they are most likely entering as a tourist and will not be permitted to study at Saint Mike’s. If you are a Canadian citizen, please ensure that you present the proper documents at the U.S. port of entry and that you are admitted in a valid student status (F-1 or J-1).
U.S. Embassy/Consulate Locations: Be sure to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate closest to your home. A list of The United States Embassies and Consulates can be found here: https://www.usembassy.gov/
When to go for visa appointment: Make an appointment to apply for your student visa as soon as you receive your admissions and immigration documents. Most embassies and consulates have set hours for reviewing non-immigrant visa applications. Most applicants will have to wait in long lines at the Embassy/Consulate. You should inquire about the application procedures at the nearest US consulate to your home. The United States Department of State website has information on visa appointment wait times: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html
- Because most American universities begin their academic year in August, the summer months are extremely busy at the consulate office. Plan ahead of time to ensure that you arrive in time for the mandatory international student orientation.
- Keep in mind that the US consulate office will be closed on both national and local holidays.
- Because consulate delays are common, schedule an interview well in advance of your trip to the United States.
Documents to take to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate: It is critical that you bring all necessary documents to your visa appointment. If you do not, you may be required to return a second time, which may cause your visa to be delayed for several weeks.
- Visa application fee (could be paid online or at your local bank)
- Visa confirmation
- DS-160 confirmation
- SEVIS/I-901 fee confirmation: https://fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html
- Forms I-20 or DS-2019 issued by Saint Michael’s College or sponsoring agency
- Acceptance letter (if applicable)
- IELTS or TOEFL scores (if applicable)
- Previous academic transcripts or diplomas/certificates (if applicable)
- Proof of finance (bank statement/letter; sponsor letter; scholarship letter)
- American sized passport photos with white background
- Passport (not less than 6 months to expiration)
- Supporting documents for non-immigrant intent (proof of returning to your home country after completing your studies)
Likely interview questions:
- What are you going to do in the US?
- How many schools did you apply to?
- Why did you choose Saint Michael’s College/ Why did you decide to go to SMC?
- When did you complete school?
- From which school did you graduate?
- Do you have proof of academic transcripts?
- What have you been doing since you completed school?
- What is the relationship between you and your sponsor?
- Who is sponsoring your trip?
- What does your sponsor do?
- Why is your sponsor sending you to study in the U.S.?
- What are your plans after completing Saint Michael’s College?
- Do you have any relative in the U.S.?
- Which professors did you contact before applying to Saint Michael’s College?
- What program will you study at Saint Michael’s College?
- Why did you choose your program of study?
- What classes will you take at Saint Michael’s College?
- Are you married?
- Do you have children?
- Have you travelled abroad?
What to do at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate: Interviews usually last between 2-5 minutes. You may be required to speak with a consular who reviews numerous visa applications on a daily basis. The consular will quickly review your documents and inquire about your study plans. The officers will verify your academic ability, English language skills, and financial resources to study at Saint Mike’s. Because you are applying for a non-immigrant visa, the consular may ask for proof of intent to return to your home country. The consular will then instruct you on when you should return to pick up your documents and visa, or when you should expect them in the mail. A few applicants may be asked to provide additional information. If this occurs, it is critical that the applicant follows the instructions exactly as they are given.
The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a database used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to collect, track, and monitor data on exchange visitors, international students, and scholars entering the United States on F, J, or M visas. SEVIS is managed by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services maintains a SEVIS information for all international students. We will update the student’s SEVIS record as needed to reflect changes in the academic program, major or degree field, residential address, employment authorization information, and expected graduation date, etc. Failure to update this record as changes occur may result in the student losing legal status and having serious consequences for your future ability to enter the United States. More information on SEVIS can be found here: https://www.ice.gov/sevis/students
International students must pay a SEVIS fee before applying for a student visa or changing their status to F or J student status. The SEVIS fee is distinct from the U.S. embassy visa application fee, which you must also pay. To find the latest SEVIS fee visit https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901