Predeparture Information


1. Documents to Bring
2. Financial Issues
3. Academic and Language Preparation
4. Predeparture Checklists
5. Student Visa

Sources of Predeparture Information: InInternational Student Advisers

On almost all U.S. university campuses, the international student adviser (ISA) is the main source of assistance, advice, and other personal support you might need while you are in the United States. The ISA usually is based in an International Students Office, or department with a similar name, and is the person responsible for your orientation on arrival and for helping with visa and tax issues. If there is no official international student adviser at your chosen college or university, there will be some other person assigned to work with international students, at least on a part-time basis. When you receive your acceptance letter, you should receive the name of the international student adviser or of another person who acts in this capacity. If no name is listed, request the information from the admissions office or check your college’s or university’s Web site. Write to the international student adviser or other appropriate person, informing him or her of your arrival date.



1. Documents to Bring

Legal Documents

As a foreign national entering the United States, you must have certain documents as evidence of your legal status. These include:

-Valid passport, issued by your country, with at least six months validity beyond your entry date; nonimmigrant visa placed inside your passport by a consular officer of a U.S. Embassy or consulate (see chapter 3 for detailed instructions on how to apply for a visa);
-Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 A-B, I-20 M-N, or DS-2019form) for students and scholars;
-Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 form), which will be issued to you, usually on the airplane before landing, filled out by you and reviewed and stamped by the immigration officer at your point of entry into the United States. You may have additional clearance procedures on arrival, in which case you will be directed to a private work station where a photograph and electronic (ink-less) fingerprints will be taken to verify your identity, and a short interview conducted and follow-up appointment scheduled to verify your plans.

These documents define your legal status. They are necessary for your entry and stay in the United States, and for any temporary departure from and reentry into the country. It is extremely important that you keep these official documents valid at all times. Failure to do so may cause problems with your stay in the United States.

It is also a good idea to bring an official copy of your birth certificate, as this may be requested when applying for various forms of identification and other documents in the United States. If you are married and your spouse will accompany you, bring a copy of your marriage certificate or other proof of marriage. Be sure to obtain notarized translations of these certificates if they are not in English.

Certificates of Immunization and Vaccination

Ask at the U.S. embassy or consulate whether you must have a medical examination and/or immunization(s) before entering the United States. Regulations are different for each country of origin. Inform the U.S. embassy or consulate if you plan to visit other countries before going to the United States because this might affect the requirements for you. Major airlines often can supply information on U.S. entry requirements from other countries. Your doctor also might recommend additional immunizations.

Most universities require proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella. This usually is defined as two vaccinations for measles, one for mumps, and one for rubella, given on or after the first birthday. Many schools also require either a recent (within six months to a year) PPD skin test or chest x-ray to screen for or rule out tuberculosis infection. Be sure that all immunizations are recorded on the yellow card of the World Health Organization (WHO). This card should be available from your doctor or from the public health service in your country. For more information, look at the World Health Organization homepage or its page on U.S. vaccination requirements. Also check with the international student adviser to determine your U.S. university’s specific policies and regulations.

Prescriptions for Medication and Eyeglasses

When you enter the United States, you must declare medications you are carrying on customs forms. Certain drugs may not be brought into the country. If you have questions, check with the U.S. embassy or consulate before you leave home. If you take prescription medicine on a regular basis, bring a sufficient supply and a copy of the prescription, written in English. If you depend on eyeglasses, it is a good idea to bring an extra pair, if possible, and a copy of your eyeglass prescription, written in English.

Although you may feel more comfortable using medications from home for headaches, colds, upset stomach, or minor injuries, aspirin, ointments, and other remedies are readily available in the United States. A pharmacist can advise you.

Medical and Dental Records

If possible, bring detailed and up-to-date medical and dental records for yourself and any dependents who are traveling with you. It is also a good idea to make sure that these records reflect recent visits to your local health care professionals for general examinations, blood tests, dental and eye checkups, x-rays, and so on. This will not only help your U.S. doctors get a better idea of recent or past diagnoses and treatments, but may also help you avoid repeating these tests in the United States at greater expense.

Academic Documents

Bring official transcripts from secondary schools, colleges, or universities. Additionally, bring any syllabi, catalogs, bulletins, course descriptions, or other relevant materials issued by the secondary school or university you have attended most recently. These records can be very helpful to the admissions office and academic departments if questions arise concerning academic credit or your placement in courses at your U.S. college or university.

Contact Information

Include with your documents the name, address, and telephone number of the individual at your U.S. university to contact in case of a travel delay or an emergency. Also include the name, address, and telephone number of a contact person at home and the name, address, and telephone number of your country’s consulate in the United States or another entity, such as an educational mission or sponsoring agency.



2. Financial Issues

Budgeting for Your Stay

Look at the cost estimates that appear on the I-20 or DS-2019 form that accompanies the letter of admission from your U.S. university. These estimates are usually accurate, and international students are expected to have funds to cover the full amount shown. Look also at the budget you prepared yourself based on estimated expenses, and ask your international student adviser, a U.S. educational adviser, or your sponsor for advice on how much money you will require. Use the list below to help you think about all potential expenses you may have.

Tuition and Fees : Tuition, fees, and other educational costs vary greatly. To understand these costs and your financial obligations, check your I-20 or DS-2019 form and study the material sent to you by the university or college you will attend. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask the admissions office, your sponsor, or the international student adviser.

Living Costs : Living costs vary widely and depend on geographic location and individual lifestyles. If you are bringing family members with you, this will, of course, increase your monthly expenses. Living expenses are highest in the large cities, in California, and in the Northeast. Costs can be much lower in the South, the Midwest, and other areas. University catalogs and Web sites are good sources of information on current living costs. Your U.S. educational information or advising center also may have information on the latest monthly living expenses by city or institution. Be sure to take into account the extra expenses of vacation periods. Most university dormitories and eating facilities close during vacations. Sometimes, however, a dormitory is kept open for students who are unable to go home. Vacations are a good time to travel, but there are considerable expenses involved. After you arrive on campus, discuss the matter of housing during vacation periods with the international student adviser so you will know what to expect and can make appropriate arrangements.

Travel Insurance and Health Insurance: You will need travel insurance to cover your trip from home to your U.S. campus. You will also need health insurance for the duration of your stay in the United States. Health insurance plans vary in cost. (See “Health Insurance.”)

Baggage Insurance : Baggage insurance protects you against loss, damage, or theft of your baggage. The cost of this insurance is reasonable. It can be purchased at travel agencies and airport kiosks. If a piece of your luggage is lost, file a claim immediately at the airline’s desk at the airport. It is a good idea to write down the name of the person who helps you and the work address and telephone number where this person can be reached later. The airline will try to locate the baggage (which may simply have been routed to the wrong destination) and will send it to you at your U.S. address when it is found. If it has not been found after a certain length of time, arrangements will be made to pay you to replace it.

Books and Supplies : Universities estimate the cost for books and supplies for the academic year. Students in the United States must buy their textbooks and costs can be quite expensive. Most institutions have on-campus bookstores, where you can buy new books or purchase used books at a lesser cost. You also may be able to sell back your books to the bookstore at the end of a semester at partial value. The cost of textbooks and supplies varies according to the student’s field of study. Liberal arts students can expect to spend $400 to $600 a year for textbooks. If you are planning to study in a field that requires special supplies, such as engineering, art, or architecture, your expenses are likely to be greater than the average. Books and textbooks for engineering students may cost an additional $250 to $350 per year, and books for medical, pharmacy, and law students may be even more expensive. Many technical books (such as pharmacy books) are investments; students keep them and use them in their professions. Graduate students may be required to buy or obtain use of a personal computer. If a thesis is required, you will also have the expense of thesis preparation.

Transportation : The living costs quoted by most universities do not include trips between the United States and your home country. Be sure that your annual budget includes expenses for return travel between your home country and your school. If you plan to live off-campus and commute to the university, you should add in your commuting expenses.

Communications : Budget carefully for communications, such as telephone calls and postage.

Personal Expenses : Personal expenses include items such as clothing, toiletries, and other basic goods and services. If you have dependents (a spouse and/or children) or if you have special medical needs, substantial additional funds will be needed to meet your living expenses. Most institutions can provide an estimate of students’ basic costs.

Incidentals : Incidental costs can add up quickly and, of course, vary from student to student. Consider your personal needs such as laundry, stationery, photos, dining out, entertainment, and clothing for a climate different than your own.

Recreation and Travel : If you intend to travel, you need to factor in those costs.

Taxes : If you are receiving a scholarship or assistantship from your U.S. university, keep in mind that the federal and state governments usually tax these awards. Make sure you also know whether any income or awards from your home country are taxable.



3. Academic and Language Preparartion

Typing Skills and Computer Literacy

Before you come to the United States, you should learn to type on a computer with English characters. Many university courses require written assignments called “papers” that must be typed. Especially if you are a graduate student, you may have to prepare a typed thesis or dissertation. In engineering, mathematics, or fields that use statistics, you will most likely have to use computers to work on complex problems. Use of the library may also depend on skills in using a computer. A few universities now require all students to purchase a personal computer. Many universities offer informal computer courses at the beginning of each semester. They can help you become familiar with basic computer functions and software packages.

Language Skills

The success of your educational experience in the United States rests largely on your ability to understand, speak, read, and write the English language. Experience has shown that no other single factor is as important to academic success as proficiency in English.

Most academic institutions in the United States require as part of their application process that foreign students take an English examination, like the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Some schools require a second institutional English proficiency exam before students are allowed to register for classes. Requirements vary with different schools and there may be costs involved. The admissions officer at your college or university will give you information regarding English language requirements for foreign students.

If you are offered a graduate teaching assistantship, the school may require that you take a special test to measure your ability to speak English. One examination used for this purpose is the Test of Spoken English (TSE).

Ease with spoken English does not necessarily guarantee adequate skills in written English. Even native English speakers often need additional assistance with reading and writing for academic purposes. If you can read and write English easily and have a good vocabulary, it will be easier to study and to finish assignments on time.

Lectures are the most common method of instruction in U.S. colleges and universities. Professors will not reduce their normal lecture speed to accommodate you. You must be able to understand English well, and you must be able to take notes easily on facts, ideas, and references presented in lectures.

Sharpening Your English Skills

To increase proficiency in English and achieve greater success in your studies, use every opportunity to improve your language skills before coming to the United States.

  • Consider joining a class or study group to work on your English skills before you come to the United States. Inquire at your present school or ask a U.S. educational adviser for suggestions.
  • Speak English as often as possible. If there are English speaking students at your present school, get acquainted with them and use the opportunity to practice.
    Read English language books, magazines, and newspapers, including books from your field of study to familiarize yourself with the terms specific to your field.
  • Get acquainted with American pronunciation and slang by watching television and movies and listening to music or to radio programs in American English. If there are no programs in English in your country, in most parts of the world you can listen to radio broadcasts on Voice of America or Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
  • Consider living in the United States for several weeks before beginning formal study at the college or university. Some schools offer special ESL programs during the U.S. summer, from May to September. Most programs include an introduction to U.S. culture and society. Ask your international student adviser about such programs.



4. Predeparture Checklists

Use this list to check that you have taken care of all essential arrangements before you depart for the United States.

> Once letters of acceptance or rejection arrive, decide which university to attend, notify the admissions office of your decision, and complete and return any forms they require. Notify each university that offers you admission if you accept or decline their offer. Return any official forms that you will not use.

> If you are being sponsored by an organization, notify that organization of your plans. Maintain contact with the sponsoring organization, which can assist with predeparture arrangements. Contact the nearest U.S. educational information or advising center for predeparture information and advice.

> Request information about health insurance from your university. Obtain suitable insurance.

> Obtain certified copies of your secondary and postsecondary transcripts, along with detailed descriptions of your courses and the books used in the courses.

> Obtain copies of important medical records, X-rays, and prescriptions. Have prescriptions written in English in generic terms.

> Reread your university’s catalog.

> Check to see that your passport is up-to-date and valid.

> Apply to your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for a visa upon receipt of your I-20 or DS-2019 form. Do this well in advance of your departure date. Application packets are available from many U.S. educational information and advising centers. See chapter 3 for further details.

> Learn how to reach the university from your point of entry in the United States.

> Make travel arrangements. See chapter 4 for more information. It is advisable to arrive on campus a few days to one week before orientation and registration begin.

> Contact the International Student Office (or similar office) at your university with details of your arrival plans, and confirm details of any orientation for new students held by the university.

> Finalize arrangements for housing with your university. Inquire about temporary housing, hotel, motel, or other arrangements that need to be made if arriving early or during the weekend.

> Organize finances: arrange to transfer funds to a U.S. bank and make sure you have funds for travel and expenses on arrival; consider buying traveler’s checks to cover costs during your first month in the United States; consider obtaining a credit card, if possible.



5. Student Visa

1) Visa Type

The most common student visa is the F-1 visa. A small number of students travel to the United States on an M-1 visa if they are completing a program of hands-on technical or vocational training, or on a J-1 visa if they are on a sponsored exchange program.

2) Procedures in Korea

Your nearest U.S. educational information or advising center ( can give you valuable information on the application procedures for your country. If at all possible, attend a predeparture orientation program organized by the center; it will almost certainly include information on applying for a visa. The center may also produce written predeparture materials.

Your nearest U.S. embassy can provide application forms and specific details of the visa application procedure. Many embassies and consulates have telephone information lines and Web sites that provide this information.

U.S. Embassy Seoul:

Here is information from Non-immigrant visa section of the U.S. Embassy Seoul:

What a Student (F or M) or Exchange Visitor (J) can Expect Upon Arrival at a U.S. Port of Entry

A visa does not grant the bearer the right to enter the United States. A visa allows the bearer to apply for entry to the U.S. in a certain classification. The Department of State (DOS) ( is responsible for visa adjudication at U.S. Embassies and Consulates outside of the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ( immigration inspectors determine admission into, length of stay and conditions of stay in, the U.S. at a port of entry.

Before leaving your country, confirm that your passport and visa are still valid for entry into the United States.

Also, check to see that you visa accurately reflects your correct visa classification. Click here for a list of visa classifications.

When you receive your student (F or M) or exchange visitor (J) visa the U.S. consular officer will seal your documents (I-20 or DS-2019) in an envelope and attach it to your passport. DO NOT open this envelope! The U.S. immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry will open the envelope.

When you travel, you should carry some specific documents in your carry-on luggage. Do not check them in your baggage! If you baggage is lost or delayed, you will not be able to show the documents to the inspection officer and, as a result, may not be able to enter the U.S. Here are the documents you should carry with you:

  • Passport with valid U.S. visa
  • Sealed envelope containing I-20 or DS-2019
  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of valid F, M or J status if you are returning to a U.S. school or exchange (e.g. recent tuition receipts and transcripts)
  • Name and contact information for designated school official or responsible officer for international students or exchange visitors at your intended school or exchange program

Flight attendants will distribute Customs Declaration (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) before you land at your initial U.S. port of entry. Complete these forms accurately before you land and give them to the immigration and customs officer upon your arrival.

Upon arrival at the port of entry, proceed to the terminal area for arriving international passengers for inspection. As you approach the inspection station, have your passport, SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019, I-94 and CF-6059 available for inspection.

The inspector will ask you to state the reason you wish to enter the U.S and provide information about your final destination, including your intended residence and the name and address of your school or exchange program. It is important that you give completely accurate information on all forms and to the inspector. If you carry more than $10,000 be sure to tell the inspector. You are welcome to bring these funds but you must declare them.

Upon your admission to the U.S. as a student or exchange visitor, the inspecting officer will note your arrival and entry conditions on your I-20, DS-2019, I-94 and passport:

-Duration of Status (“D/S”) for F and J visa holders
-30 days beyond program end date for M visa holders

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

Beginning February 15, 2003, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) will be put into use to monitor the status of persons who enter the U.S. with an F, M or J visa. In order for students/exchange visitors and their dependents to qualify for an F, M or J visa, the school or exchange program in the U.S. must issue a Certificate of Student Status (I-20) or Certificate of Exchange Visitor Status (DS-2019) on a SEVIS-generated form and must register each person on the SEVIS website. Each applicant must submit a SEVIS-generated I-20 or DS-2019 with a unique barcode number and must be listed on the SEVIS website.

Introduction to Student Visas (F1 or M1)

If you are going to the U.S. for academic study, English-language instruction or vocational training and have never held an F1/M1 visa, you must apply by interview for your first F1 or M1 visa. First-time F/M applicants and their family members must schedule an appointment by calling our NIV appointment toll number at 060-700-2510. Each applicant must schedule an individual appointment. A family may schedule all their appointments in a single call. This caller-pays telephone service is available 24 hours a day and offers visa information as well, but it cannot be accessed from outside of Korea, from public pay phones or from U.S. Forces Korea telephone lines.

Please be on time for your appointment. Your appointment time is when we expect you to check in at the first floor of the U.S. Embassy Seoul, Nonimmigrant Visa (NIV) branch, to begin your NIV application processing. You will be interviewed after check-in. Late applicants will not be processed. Applicants are responsible for knowing their appointment time and arriving on-time to their NIV appointment.

An applicant must be physically present in Korea while his/her visa application is pending at the U.S. Embassy Seoul.

If you are required to appear at the Embassy for an interview, please do not send your application and supporting documents to us in advance. Please bring everything with you to your scheduled appointment.

When can I apply for my student visa (F1 or M1) or dependent of student visa (F2 or M2)?
You may apply for a F or M visa up to 90 days prior to the report date on your SEVIS Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20).

All nonimmigrant visas (NIV), including F and M visas, only allow the bearer to apply for admission to the U.S. Admission into, and the conditions of stay in, the U.S. are determined by the immigration inspector at the port of entry.

Please be aware that U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations state that holders of F or M visas will not be admitted on their initial trip to the United States until a date 30 days or less prior to the beginning of the report date on the I-20 . Please consider that date carefully when making your travel plans to the U.S.

What Do I Need to Apply?

A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.

A completed and signed Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-156/DS-157) with photo (See “photo requirements” for the DS-156) for each person applying. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent’s passport. DS-156/DS-157 are available at the courier service offices near the Embassy at no charge, or can be downloaded from this website.

You may download the DS-156/DS-157 (357K), using Acrobat Reader version 3.x., print it and fill it out by hand or with a typewriter.

You may fill out the DS-156 (339k) and DS-157 (141k) directly on Windows using Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader version 4.0 or above is required to open this form and fill it out. The latest version of Acrobat Reader is available for free download.

A completed Contact Information And Work History For Nonimmigrant Visa Applicant (DS-158). These forms are available at the Embassy at no charge, or may be downloaded from this site.

A receipt from the HanMi (KorAm) Bank for the visa application fee for each applicant. The fee may be paid at any of the bank’s branches in Korea. There is a branch only a short walk from the Embassy; here is a map. 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.

A SEVIS Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20). The form must also be signed by you and by a school official.

Your I-20 will be returned to you in an envelope after we process your visa. Please do not open this envelope! Follow this link for more information.
Students have told us that some banks in Korea require a copy of the I-20 before the bank will allow large sums of money to be wired to the U.S. to pay school tuition. Be sure to make a copy of your I-20 before applying for your visa.

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 showing you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.

For all science, engineering, and high technology fields of study, a detailed research proposal of your study or research plans in the U.S.

You may download a research proposal form using Acrobat Reader version 3.x. or above. The latest version of Acrobat Reader is available for free download.

A courier service receipt from an Embassy-approved courier company (DHL Ilyang:1588-0002; Hanjin: 1588-0011) within Korea. You may get courier receipts at the courier service offices near the the Embassy or by contacting either DHL Ilyang or Hanjin courier company directly.

3) Important Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa

Ties to Your Home Country

Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants unless they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must, therefore, be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. Ties to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects, property that you own or will inherit, investments, and so on. You may be asked about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter that can guarantee visa issuance. In addition, the law requires that all applicants be evaluated for the potential that they may intend harm.


Anticipate that the visa interview, if you have one, will be conducted in English, not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview. Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular official will want to interview you, not your family. You create a negative impression if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.


Know the academic program to which you have been admitted and how it fits into your career plans. If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the U.S. consular official that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.

Be Concise

Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.

Supplemental Information

It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have two to three minutes of interview time at best.

Not All Countries Are the Same

Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be prospective immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States. In addition, some countries have been determined to pose an increased security concern, and citizens from these countries require additional processing.

Financial Documentation

If you are receiving funding from your U.S. university, your home university, your employer, or from the government, be prepared to present the appropriate letters or documents that verify this funding. If your financial support is coming from personal or family funds, bank statements alone are seldom considered credible enough evidence to demonstrate sufficient finances. Only when coupled with highly credible documentation, which can substantiate the source (for example, job contracts, letters from an employer, tax documents, pay stubs, or deposit slips), will a bank statement be accepted. Bank statements are most credible if they are a series of reliable, computer-generated, ordinary, monthly bank account statements.


Your main purpose for coming to the United States is to study, not for the chance of work before or after graduation. While many students may work part-time during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. Be prepared to say what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.

Dependents Coming With You

If your spouse and children will be traveling with you, additional information will be needed for their visa applications. The dependent visa category for F-1 students is F-2, for M-1 students it is M-2, and for J-1 exchange visitors it is J-2.

Spouses are required to present proof of marriage, usually in the form of a marriage license or certificate. A common-law spouse is not considered to be a legal spouse under U.S. immigration law and will, therefore, not be eligible for a dependent visa. However, a common-law spouse may be eligible to apply for a tourist visa. Keep in mind that tourists are restricted in the length of time they may stay in the United States. Consult with the U.S. consular office about current regulations regarding tourist visas.

Unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for dependent visas but must show proof of parentage. Additional financial information will also need to be presented to prove that sufficient funds are available to support your dependents in the United States.

Dependents Remaining at Home

If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gets the impression that your family members will need you to send money from the United States in order to support them, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.

Special Visa Restrictions

If you are an applicant for a J-1 visa, the visa-issuing officer will make a determination whether or not you are subject to the two-year physical presence requirement, also known as “212(e).” The number refers to the section of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act in which the requirement is explained. If you are an applicant for a J-1 visa and will receive funds from your home country government or the U.S. government, or if you have a field of study that appears on the U.S. Department of State “Skills List” for your country, you will be subject to the two-year requirement. In general terms, this rule requires that you return to your home country for at least two years upon completion of your academic program before you would be eligible for certain work-related U.S. visas and for permanent residency.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Do not engage the consular official in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal and for the reason you were denied in writing.

4) What to Do If Your Visa Application Is Denied

If your visa application is denied, the visa-issuing official is required to provide you with the reason for the denial in writing. The two most common reasons for denial of a student visa are failure to show sufficient proof of financial support and failure to prove that the applicant is not a pending immigrant to the United States. (See “Ties to Your Home Country” and “Financial Documentation” under “Important Points to Remember When Applying for a Student Visa”.)

In most cases, you should be able to reapply to the visa-issuing office by submitting additional information. You may wish to contact the U.S. educational information or advising center in the city nearest you or the Admissions Office or International Students Office of the U.S. college or university you plan to attend for advice on your second visa interview. It is important to be consistent with your responses to the visa officer’s questions when you apply for your visa a second time. It is not unusual for notes to be taken during the visa interview and for those notes to be compared with what you say at subsequent interviews.

5) Related Links

General Visa Information, including student visas

Basic information on how to obtain a visa