International Student Immigration Issues:
|All student VISA applicants must follow the following guidance:|
- Scholastic Preparation:
The student visa applicant must have successfully completed a course of study normally required for enrollment.
The student must either be sufficiently proficient in English to pursue the intended course of study, or the school must have made special arrangements for English language courses or teach the course in the student's native language.
- Financial Resources: Applicants must prove that sufficient funds are or will be available from an identified and reliable financial source to defray all living and school expenses during the entire period of anticipated study in the United States.
Specifically, applicants must prove they have enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study, and that adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study.
- Acceptance Form: An applicant coming to the United States to study must be accepted for a full course of study by an educational institution approved by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
The institution must send to the applicant a Form I-20A-B, Certificate of Eligibility for Non immigrant (F-1) Student Status for Academic and Language Students.
- VISA INELIGIBILITY / WAIVER: (You should review this form) the non-immigrant visa application Form DS-156 lists classes of persons who are ineligible under U. S. law to receive visas.
In some instances an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly classifiable
as a student, may apply for a waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver is approved.
- APPLYING FOR A STUDENT VISA: Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U. S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence (I believe you stated that was Vienna).
Although visa applicants may apply at any U. S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
- Required Documentation: Each applicant for a student visa must pay a non-refundable US$45 application fee and submit:
- an application Form DS-156, completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at all U. S. consular offices;
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;
- One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square (37x37mm) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background;
- A Form I-20A-B; and
- Evidence of sufficient funds.
- Other Documentation: Student visa applicants must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer that they have binding ties to a residence in a foreign country, which they have no intention of abandoning, and that they will depart the United States when they have completed their studies.
It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly.
Also, please note that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The INS has authority to deny admission. Also, the INS, not the consular officer, determines the period for which the bearer of a student visa is authorized to remain in the United States. At the port
of entry, an INS official validates Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which notes the length of stay permitted.
You should apply at least several weeks before you plan to travel, but you should NOT apply more than 90 days before the registration date noted on your I-20.
Again, the mandatory documents you will need include:
As for what Consuls look for, this is a good guide:
Evidence of Residence Abroad
The consular officer may not issue a student visa unless satisfied that the applicant:
- A Form I-20 obtained from a U. S. college, school or university. Please be sure to provide all four pages of the I-20 form. The form must also be signed by you and by a school official in the appropriate places;
- A completed non-immigrant visa application form (DS-156) with photo for each person applying. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent's passport. These forms are available at the Embassy at no charge;
- A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States; and
- A receipt for visa processing fee. A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee for each applicant, including each child listed in a parent's passport who is also applying for a U. S. visa is needed. Other documents you should be prepared to provide:
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bankbooks and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bankbooks and/or statements.
Applicants generally establish their ties abroad by presenting evidence
of economic, social, and/or family ties in their homeland sufficient to
induce them to leave the United States upon the completion of studies.
- has a residence abroad,
- has no intention of abandoning that residence, and
- intends to depart from the United States upon completion of the
course of study.
Evidence of English Proficiency
If the alien's Form I-20 indicates that proficiency in English is required for pursuing the selected course of study and that no arrangements have been made to overcome any English-language deficiency, the consular officer must determine whether the alien has the necessary proficiency. To this end, the officer must conduct the visa interview in English and may require the applicant to read aloud from an English-language book, periodical, or newspaper, and to restate in English in the applicant's own words what was read. The applicant may also be asked to read aloud and explain several of the conditions set forth in the Form I-20.
In the event that the applicant's language proficiency appears marginal, the officer may refer the applicant for language testing. Tests for this purpose will ordinarily be carried out by appropriate local groups, such as qualified host-country facilities. If the latter are used, the consular officer should be satisfied that the testing standards are sufficiently strict. However, if the local situation requires the consular officer to determine the language proficiency of applicants, materials such as the Test of English Language Proficiency (TEPL) may be available at the post. If not, they may be requested from the Department, through the post's Public Affairs Officer.
Determining Financial Status of F-1 Students
The phrase "sufficient funds to cover expenses" referred to in 41.61(b)(2) REGS/STATS means the applicant must establish the unlikelihood of either becoming a public charge as defined in INA
212(a)(4) or of resorting to unauthorized U. S. employment for financial support. An applicant must provide documentary evidence that sufficient funds are, or will be, available to defray all expenses during the entire period of anticipated study. This does not mean that the applicant must have cash immediately available to cover the entire period of intended study, which may last several years. The consular officer must, however, require credible documentary evidence that the applicant has enough readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year of study. The officer also must be satisfied that, barring unforeseen circumstances, adequate funds will be available for each subsequent year of study from the same source or from one or more other specifically identified and reliable financial sources.
Funds From Source(s) Outside the United States** (This may be an issue if the funds are in Iran)
Whenever an applicant indicates financial support from a source outside the United States (for example, from parents living in the country of origin), the consular officer must determine whether there are restrictions on the transfer of funds from the country concerned. If so, the consular officer must require acceptable evidence that these restrictions will not prevent the funds from being made available during the period of the applicant's projected stay in the United States.
Affidavits of Support or Other Assurances by an Interested Party:
Various factors are important in evaluating assurances of financial support by interested parties:
- Financial support to a student is not a mere formality to facilitate the applicant's entry into the United States, nor does it pertain only when the alien cannot otherwise provide adequate personal support. Rather, the sponsor must ensure that the applicant will not become a public charge or be compelled to take unauthorized employment while studying in the United States. This obligation commences when the alien enters the United States and continues until the alien's departure.
- The consular officer must require documentary evidence to resolve any doubt that the financial status of the person giving the assurance is sufficient to substantiate the assertion that financial
support is available to the applicant.
- If the person giving the assurance is in the United States in non-immigrant status, the consular officer must examine the evidence presented with exceptional care. Is the sponsor's financial situation sufficient to provide the funds without need to resort to unauthorized employment? Is it likely to worsen during the period of the commitment, possibly compelling the applicant or the sponsor to resort to unauthorized employment? Will the non-immigrant sponsor remain in the United States at least as long as the student?
- The consular officer must also carefully evaluate the factors, which would motivate a sponsor to honor a commitment of financial support. If the sponsor is a close relative of the applicant, there may be a greater probability that the commitment will be honored than if the sponsor is not a relative. Regardless of the relationship, the consular officer must be satisfied that the reasons prompting the offer of financial support make it likely the commitment will be fulfilled.
Funds From Fellowships and Scholarships for F-1 Student
A college or university may arrange for a non-immigrant student to engage in research projects, give lectures, or perform other academic functions as part of a fellowship, scholarship or assistant ship, provided the institution certifies that the student will also pursue a full
course of study.
Educational Qualifications for F-1 and M-1 Students
Consular officers are not expected to assume the role of guidance counselor to determine whether an applicant for an F-1 or M-1 visa is qualified to pursue the desired course of study. The institution will satisfy itself on the student's abilities before accepting the applicant for enrollment. Consular officers should, however, be alert to three specific factors in this regard:
- the applicant has successfully completed a course of study equivalent to that normally required of an American student seeking enrollment at the same level.
- Cases in which an applicant has submitted forged or altered transcripts of previous or related study or training which the institution has accepted as valid, and,
- cases in which an institution has accepted an applicant's alleged previous course of study or training as the equivalent of its normal requirements when, in fact, such is not the case.
Relationship of Education or Training Sought To Existence of Ties Abroad
The fact that a student's proposed education or training would not appear to be useful in the homeland is not, in itself, a basis for refusing an F-1 or M-1 visa.
It may, however, be a relevant factor in the overall assessment of the likelihood of the alien's return. This may be particularly true where F-1 course workplace far beyond local needs or in certain M-1 cases. If an M-1 student wants to pursue a vocation that does not (and for the likely future will not) exist in the
homeland, the prospect of his/her voluntary departure from the United States is diminished unless the applicant can show the intention to work elsewhere abroad following the training.
Disclaimer: Aiher.com has no legal obligation regarding the above contents. The above content is only for informational prosperous .Themigration law may change without notice.