Helpful Steps on Applying for an F-1 Student Visa New Students to the US If you are a new student coming from outside the US: 1. Use the enclosed I-20 form to apply for an F-1 entry visa at the United States Embassy or Consulate nearest your place of residence once you are sure you will attend UNM. If you have already applied for a visa using another school’s I-20, and you want to attend UNM, you will need to return to the consulate and apply for a new visa that has UNM listed as the school you will attend. Otherwise, you will need to attend the school whose name appears on the visa. For specific instructions for citizens of your country, please visit the US Department of State website at: http://usembassy.state.gov/ . Make sure you allow plenty of time for an interview appointment. In some countries the waiting period may be as much as one month. 2. SEVIS FEE- Form I-901 — Beginning September 1, 2004, all students applying for a visa must pay a mandatory US $100 SEVIS fee. Please note that this is not a university fee. The SEVIS fee is a US government fee that pays for the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and is in addition to any visa fee. This payment will be recorded in the SEVIS system and should be fully processed before you have your visa interview. Therefore, you must pay it at least 3-business days prior to the visa interview and you must bring proof of payment to the interview. You can pay the SEVIS fee in one of two ways: (A) Through the Internet at www.FMJfee.com by using a credit card and completing the online Form I-901. Please print the computer-generated receipt. This will be your proof of payment. (B) Through the mail by submitting a completed Form I-901 and a check or money order drawn on a US Bank payable in US$ Currency. To download the form I-901 go to the website: http://www.ice.gov/graphics/sevis/pdf/I-901.pdf. If you do not have access to the Internet and need to pay the SEVIS fee by mail, please contact us and we will fax the form to you. You will need to wait until you receive the receipt (Form I-797) as proof of payment for the interview. Since we do not know how much time it takes to obtain this receipt we strongly recommend you try to pay the SEVIS fee through the Internet (option A above). For more detailed information on the fee payment process please go to the SEVIS website at http://www.ice.gov/sevis 3. VISA INTERVIEW- You will need to bring the following with you for the interview: 1) Valid Passport; 2) I-20 and acceptance letter to school; 3) proof of payment of the SEVIS fee; 4) proof of finances and 4) evidence that you intend to return to your home country when you complete your studies (e.g. proof of property or family, future employment, or continued education in your home country). During your interview: Be ready to speak briefly and clearly (in English if possible) your reason for study in the US and your plan to use your education in your home country after program completion. Know how your English proficiency/and academic degree will fit into your home country job market. Be prepared with the above information, but don’t memorize a “speech” which sounds rehearsed. Remain calm. Ask the consular officer to review any documents you brought (even if s/he doesn’t ask for them.) In case of a denial, ask that the reason be given to you in writing before you leave the consulate. Only in this way, can you address the US Consulate’s concern if and when you return for a second interview. For information about reasons for visa denial, visit the website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi_denials.html You may be subject to a security check that will delay the visa application process; for this reason we highly recommend that you apply for the visa as soon as you receive this I-20 form. 4. ARRIVAL TO the U.S.- Immigration regulations prohibit students from arriving more than 30 days prior to the date on your I-20. Be sure that you do not arrive earlier than that date or you may be sent back to your home country. 5. When you arrive into the US, you will go through the immigration checkpoint where they will check your passport, visa and I- 20. The immigration official should stamp the I-20 with the date of entry to the US and write your visa status and return the I- 20 to you, along with the bottom section of the I-94 white Arrival Card (you will get this on the plane or at the port of entry to the US). Also, it is helpful to bring proof of finances to support your stay in the US in case they might ask. These are very important documents that you will need during your stay in the US, so be sure you keep them in a very safe place. 6. Make sure you do not pack any of your documents in your luggage. It is recommended to bring some extra money to cover any initial costs. 7. Do not enter the US on a B-1/2 Tourist visa or visa waiver or you will be ineligible to study!!! STUDENTS ALREADY IN THE US- if you are transferring from another school or changing status, please contact us for detailed instructions. We will need to send you a transfer form and we need a copy of your current I-20.
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