Choose your Course and School

If you are interested in study in USA, the first thing to do is research the school or program that is best for you. Only schools that are certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program are authorized to accept international students.

Acceptance from the School

Once you receive acceptance to a Student and Exchange Visitor Program-certified school, your designated school official (DSO) will give you a document called a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”. The Form I-20 is a paper record of your information in the database called SEVIS. Each school that accepts you will mail you a Form I-20. Before you apply to pay the I-901 student fee, you must select one school and use that Form I-20 to pay the I-901 fee and to apply for the correct student visa.

Paying your Fee

Regulation requires all prospective F and M students to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee before the Department of State issues you a visa.

Applying for a Visa

After being accepted to an SEVP-certified school and getting a receipt for payment of the I-901 fee, you can apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Your Trip to USA

Before you leave for the United States, familiarize yourself with the different kinds of documents you might need. It is always a good idea to carry your original documents with you at all times. Do not put them in your checked baggage.

It is also a good idea to make at least two sets of copies of these documents: one copy to leave with your family before you depart and one copy to give to your school officials. Here is a list of the important immigration documents:

• Passport

• Visa

Form I-20

• “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”

Arriving in USA

Arriving in the United States should be a smooth experience if you have everything ready.

Form I-94

The Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record” is a critical record. It shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, the class of admission, and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct. Inconsistencies between the information on the Form I-94 and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records can reduce the chances of a successful systems interface. In particular, this can cause issues with status verification for Social Security numbers.

You have 30 days to enter the country before your official program start date, which is recorded in SEVIS. You must report to your school by the program start date listed on the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status” you received. This is one of the rules you agree to when you received your student or exchange visitor status. If you do not follow this rule, you are not maintaining your status.

It is best to contact your school immediately after entering the country so that there is no question of your arrival.