Prepare to Travel. Things Every International US College Applicant Needs to Know

A recent study by Institute of International Education (IIE) confirmed that there more than 1 million international students across the US today. And this figure is growing by the year, owing to the country’s rich academic heritage and the plethora of opportunities it offers on both personal and professional fronts. While an American college degree is indisputably popular, the complicated nature of the immigration process could prove to be a stumbling block.

To help navigate this, here’s what you need to know about the application and immigration process.

Prepping for the Visa Interview

During the interview, the consulate verifies your qualifications and confirms your intention to return to your home country after graduation. They may also seek to understand your financials better — all the while gauging your spoken English skills. Remember to keep your answers crisp and direct.

Building Your Base

In the days leading up to your departure, it is advisable to take time to acquaint yourself with the American student culture. Orientation programs conducted by the university or supporting organizations, usually go a long way in helping in this regard. In fact, this is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow students and even look for accommodation together. For those looking for more options, both university networks and open forums on the Internet are the way to go.

Passing through Immigration

At immigration, you will need to submit your official admission documents, passport, and visa after which the authorities could ask you questions in line with the visa interview. Although rare, there is also a possibility that you could be screened a second time, during which the officials will cross-check your documents against the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

With over 300,000 international students arriving at its universities every year, the USA remains the most popular destination for higher education. This number continues to grow despite the nation’s long and winding immigration process — something American officials are striving to make more seamless.

At August Network, we are doing our bit by leveraging our expertise in the field of international education to ensure students are fully equipped to chase their dreams in the land of opportunity.

Here’s a quick checklist of the various documents you need:

  • Passport (including envelope of immigration documents) with non-immigrant visa
  • Form I-20AB, I-20MN, or DS-2019. Visa exempt nationals presenting a Form I-20AB, I-20MN or DS-2019, who are entering the United States for the first time should have a Form I-901, SEVIS Fee Receipt verifying SEVIS fee payment
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of Student/Exchange Visitor status (recent tuition receipts, transcripts)
  • Name and contact information for Designated School Official (DSO) or Responsible Officer (RO) at your intended school or program