FAQ for F-1 Visa Applicants

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Q: Is it required that I pay the first year tuition expenses in advance and show a receipt from the university?

A: No - paying the tuition expenses in advance documents proof of funds, but it is NOT a Rhodes requirement to pay in advance.

Q: What documents should I show to prove that I can pay for my education in the United States?

A: There are no specific documents that prove a student is able to pay for his/her education. Bank account statements, chartered accountant statements, employment letters, and property documents are the most common documents used to show proof of funds.

Q: I have taken a loan from a bank to cover my tuition. Do I still need to show other financial documents?

A: You must prove that funds are immediately available to cover the first year′s costs, and show evidence that funds will be available for all subsequent years. Any financial documentation you provide should be in support of this. This applies to ALL student visa applicants.

Q: How do I prove that I can afford to attend school in the United States?

A: Part 7 on the I-20 shows the amount of funding you must have available to cover the first year′s expenses. The total amount includes tuition and fees, living expenses, expenses of dependents (if applicable), and other expenses (as applicable). You must prove that you have immediate funds available to cover this amount.

Q: What if I have not yet received my degree certificate? May I still apply?

A: Yes - you may still apply, but please be sure to include your mark sheets and provisional certificate if available.

Q: Can a person on a visitor visa, if he/she is admitted to Rhodes College and obtains an I-20, be able to change his status to student?

A: No. Previously, United States law permitted persons entering on tourist, B-2 visas to change status to F-1 visas. That is no longer the case. A non-immigrant wishing to study in the United States must apply from their country of origin or residence if they wish to study in the United States on an F-1 visa.

Q: How early should I apply for my student (F-1) visa?

A: You are encouraged to apply early for your F-1 visa.  During the summer season (April to September) you may apply at any time prior to the start date of your classes.  During the rest of the year, you may apply up to 120 days prior to your start date.

Q: I have received my student visa; when should I travel?

A: F-1 visa holders may travel within 30 days of the commencement of the course of study stated on your I-20 regardless of how early your visa was issued.

Q: Does my I-20 need to be sealed in an envelope?

A: No.  However, make sure that you carry the I-20 on your person when you travel (i.e., NOT in your checked luggage), because you must present it to the immigration officer at the port of entry in order to be admitted in to the United States.

Q: What is the SEVIS system and how does it affect me?

A: The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) program requires schools and exchange programs to verify the enrollment status of all continuing and new foreign students and exchange visitors.  A visa cannot be issued until the SEVIS fee has been paid.  Applicants applying with I-20 forms processed after 1 September, 2004, are required to provide the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt as proof of payment. You can log on to www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/ for further details.

Q: What if I receive an I-20 from a different school and choose to attend that school?

A: In that case, you will need to change the name of the university annotated on your visa. To do so, you will have to go through the complete process once again by scheduling a new appointment after paying the Application Fee, Service Charge and SEVIS Fee.

Q: I am applying for an F-1 visa and I would like my spouse to travel with me. Can he/she apply for a dependant visa (F-2) at the same time that I do, or must they wait until my visa has been issued?

A: It is recommended that the spouse and dependent children go for their visa interviews along with the principal applicant.