The United States offers many different types of visa categories for foreign nationals seeking to come to this country to work for U.S. businesses or study at U.S. universities. Here in Wisconsin, many foreign students attend our state’s prestigious colleges such as Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In order to attend an American university, prospective foreign students must obtain F-1 visas from the U.S. consulate in their home country. The process of applying for a student visa can be complicated and daunting, which is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable Wisconsin immigration attorney to advise you. The experienced lawyers at Nicolet Lawyers can help you assemble your application and follow up on it as necessary in order to minimize or avoid any delays in your education.The F-1 Visa Application
The F-1 visa application requires relatively fewer documents in comparison to other visa categories, but it is still very important that prospective students include all of the necessary materials in their applications to ensure faster processing of their visa.
The required documents are:
How to Apply for the F-1 Visa
(1) The foreign student’s Form I-20 (the U.S. university issues to the student upon acceptance into the school)
(2) The receipt for payment of the SEVIS fee
(3) The student’s passport (the consulate officer will put the F-1 visa in the passport and return it to the student)
(4) Two passport-sized photographs (the consulate uses these photographs to make the visa)
(5) Completed and signed Form DS-160 (this form provides the consulate with biographic information about the student)
(6) Proof that the student has the financial means to support him or herself while in the U.S. (typically in the form of bank statements that show available funds)
(7) Proof that the student intends to return to the home country upon completion of the degree program in the U.S. (typically in the form of a statement from the student explaining his/her plans for future employment, advanced education, etc. in the home country)
The prospective student submits the application to the consulate officer at the F-1 visa interview. The student can schedule the F-1 visa interview at the U.S. government website (the student can also pay the required visa fee through this website). Due to lengthy processing times, it is recommended that students schedule the interview as far in advance as possible (though not more than 120 days in advance of the start date on the Form I-20 as this is prohibited).
The student should arrive at the interview with all of the documents listed above and be prepared to answer the consulate officer’s questions about the student’s expected course of study in the U.S., how the student will pay the necessary expenses, and why the student intends to return to the home country after completion of the degree program.
After the officer reviews the documents, the officer will inform the student if the visa has been approved. If the visa is approved, the officer will generate the visa and place it into the student’s passport. The student should pay strict attention to the validity dates of the visa as F-1 students can only travel to the U.S. within 30 days before the start date listed on their Form I-20, and not before.What if My F-1 Visa is Denied?
An F-1 visa denial can be very serious as it can greatly delay – or prevent entirely – the student’s ability to attend the desired U.S. university. As stated above, most F-1 visa denials result from the consulate officer’s belief that the student will be unable to meet expenses while in the U.S. or that the student does not truly intend to return to the home country.
In the event of a denial, a skilled immigration attorney can be very helpful to a student who is trying to change the officer’s mind and prove that the student is eligible for the visa. The attorney can contact the consulate directly and present legal reasons, additional evidence, and other persuasive arguments to convince the consulate to approve the visa.
Here in Wisconsin, thousands of foreign students are benefiting from the great education provided by our state universities. Don’t let a visa denial stand in your way of studying at the U.S. college of your choosing – contact Nicolet Lawyers today to speak to an immigration attorney who can help you successfully obtain your F-1 visa! Wisconsin immigration lawyer Spiro Nicolet and his team will work diligently to ensure that your student visa application is complete and submitted properly, and will follow up as necessary. Contact us today by calling 773-562-6884, or by using our online contact form.