Applying for a Student Visa
The most important thing to keep in mind when applying for a student visa is the applicant must prove to the consular officer that he/she is NOT going to stay in the US after graduating. In other words, the consular officer views the student as a potential immigrant and it is up to the student to prove that this is not the case.
While applying for a visa, you must:
- project an image of maturity and independence: look the interviewer in the eye and speak in an articulate manner;
- explain very clearly why you chose to enter your particular program and why it is necessary to do so in the United States. One of the questions that the officer will be asking him/herself is: Why does this person need to go to the US to study this subject?
- when possible, underscore what plans you have upon returning home. Many of us don’t know what we wanted to do when we graduated from college, but for the purpose of this interview, you must be as forward-thinking as possible.
Preparing For Your Visa Interview
Once admitted, you will receive an Admissions package from UB. It will contain your admission letter, health and housing forms, and your I-20. When it arrives, check the following:
- Is your name spelled exactly as it appears in your passport?
- Is the other information correct – date and country of birth, degree program, reporting date, completion date, financial information?
- Is it signed by a school official?
- Has the reporting date (“student must report no later than”) passed? (The I-20 expires and cannot be used after the reporting date.)
If your I-20 is valid, you’re ready to apply for the visa. In order to issue your visa, the Consular Officer must be satisfied on three counts:
The officer will ask about your educational background and plans in order assess how likely you are to enroll and remain in college until graduation. Be prepared to discuss the reasons you chose the University of Bridgeport, your particular program, and your career plans. Bring school transcripts, national examination results, and SAT or TOEFL scores (if these tests were required) and anything else that demonstrates your academic commitment.
Visa requirements differ from country to country, but generally host governments want assurances that you won’t drop out of school or take a job illegally. How can you show that you are able to finance your education?
Your chances are improved if your parents are sponsoring your education. If anyone other than your parents is sponsoring you, you should explain your special relationship with this person, who may be committing tens of thousands of dollars to your education.
Provide solid evidence of your sponsor’s finances. This assures the Consular Officer that adequate funds will be available throughout your college program. If your sponsor’s income is from multiple sources (such as salary, contracts or consulting fees, a farm, rental property, investments), have the sponsor write a letter listing and documenting each source of income.
Laws generally state that you must demonstrate sufficient economic, family, and social ties to your place of residence to ensure that your stay in the USA will be temporary.
These include your family’s economic position, property you may own or stand to inherit, and your own economic potential when you come home with a U.S. education. The Consular Officer will be impressed to see evidence of your career planning and your knowledge of the local employment scene.
Family and social ties:
How many close family members live in your home country, compared to those living in the States? What community or school activities have you participated in that demonstrate a sincere connection to your town or country? What leadership, sports, and other roles have distinguished you as a person who wants to come home and contribute your part?