If you've done very much research into the college process you will have
discovered that there is a lot of paperwork involved. Getting all of the
documentation together that's necessary to study in the states is often a
tedious process, but a necessary one. Don't despair, it really isn't all that
Once you have selected the university you wish to attend, you will need to
provide financial documentation to that school that proves that you have at least the minimum amount of
money the school estimates you will need. Most schools require you to submit
documentation that proves you have at least one year of funding available. This
documentation can come in the form of personal bank statement; copies of scholarship and award letters from your university,
government, or others; sponsorship letters from private companies or friends and
relatives. Letters of support from friends and relatives should generally be
accompanied by a copy of the bank statement
of the person promising their support. Remember that ff the financial aid
documents are not in English they must be translated by a
Your school must consider your financial
documentation before a certificate of eligibility for a student visa can be
issued. Form I-20 is the certificate of eligibility for the F-1 student
visa. This document will usually be mailed to you along with your letter of acceptance to the
university. You must use this document to apply for a visa
and to enter the United States.
You can apply for your visa at a U.S. embassy or
consulate using the I-20 or IAP-66 that your U.S. school sent to you with your
acceptance letter. If you were accepted by several of the schools you applied to
you must select which school you want to attend and then
use that institution's form.
In addition to your 1-20 or IAP-66 form there are other
pieces of documentation you will be required to provide. Visa procedures vary
from one consulate or embassy to the next so there isn't a standard list of
supporting documentation that you will need. You will generally be required to
- A current, valid passport (not required of Canadians).
- An I-20 form for the F-1 visa or an IAP-66 form for
the J-1 visa.
- Evidence of financial support for the period of time
and amount indicated on the I-20 or IAP-66 form.
- Proof that you have a permanent residence outside the
- One or more passport photos.
- A nonimmigrant visa application.
At times you will also be able to provide:
- evidence of English proficiency
- school records to verify academic preparation
- proof of strong ties to your home country
- documentation that you are able to support yourself
while in the United States.
Once you are approved to receive a visa the consular
officer will place the visa in your passport. If you receive a multiple-entry
visa, you may use it to re-enter the United States as many times as necessary up
until the date of its expiration as long as you have a valid I-20 or IAP-66