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 U.S. 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 by looking the interviewer in the eye and speaking 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 U.S. 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.

See NAFSA's 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

Preparing for your visa interview

Step one:

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.)

Step two:

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:

Have more questions or concerns? Download this helpful sheet with tips on how to ace your visa interview.

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