Getting an international student visa for the USA
Once you have been admitted to a program and paid your deposit, the University of Vermont will issue an I-20 from the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With the I-20, you can apply for a visa to study in the US.
The University of Vermont issues an I-20 document for the Global Gateway Program. A second I-20 will be issued when you progress into year 2 of the undergraduate degree program.
Contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate in your country to find out what the procedure is for applying for a student visa. You may need an appointment, or walk-in hours may be available.
The following information is adapted from the US Department of State:
1. What is a visa?
A visa allows a foreign citizen to request permission to enter the United States. It does not guarantee entry into the US.
2. What type of visa do I need to become a student in the United States?
The F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa is the most common, but there are other visa types that are sometimes authorized for those who study in the US.
3. When should I apply for a visa?
Apply for your visa as soon as you have all the required documentation, to make sure that there is sufficient time for visa processing. Please tell your Student Enrollment Advisor when you have made an appointment, and notify them of the outcome of that appointment.
4. How do I apply for a visa in my country?
To apply for a visa, you must first have an I-20 document issued by the University of Vermont. The University of Vermont will provide you with an I-20 only when you have been admitted to the Global Gateway Program, and your deposit payment has been received.
You then need to make an appointment at a US embassy or consulate in your country for your visa interview.
Visit the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply to learn the requirements for applying for a student visa in your country.
6. Preparing for the visa interview
Prior to meeting with US Embassy officials you must pay a $200 SEVIS fee to the US government, and a visa processing fee (the procedure will differ from one US Embassy/Consulate to another). Bring the following to your interview:
- Your passport
- University of Vermont I-20
- Documentation of your financial ability to support yourself*
- Proof that you have ties to your home country
- Proof of payment of the SEVIS and visa fees
- Completed visa application form (follow Department of State procedures carefully to ensure you complete it correctly)
* A bank statement or bank letter verifying your or your sponsor's financial ability to cover your expenses should be provided. The bank statement cannot be a copy; it must be original (per immigration law). The bank statement must be notarized and no older than six months. We advise you to have an original letter (Affidavit of support) from your parents/guardian, financial sponsor or other source of support claiming financial responsibility for you as a student. This affidavit must be notarized.
If you are self-sponsored, no affidavit is required. In the case of government-sponsored students, the Financial Guarantee serves as both the bank statement and the affidavit.
7. Key information about visas and entering the United States
The US Embassy/Consulate cannot issue an F-1 visa more than 120 days before the start of the academic program in the USA. Thus, if the I-20 states that the program will start on September 1, a visa cannot be issued before May 1.
Once you have been issued a visa to enter the United States, you will not be allowed to enter the country more than 30 days before the start of your program, if you are an initial entry student. Returning students do not have this requirement. For example, if the I-20 states that the program starts on September 1, you cannot enter the United States until August 1 or later. Your University of Vermont pre-arrival guide will give information on when to arrive in Burlington, Vermont.
8. What to do when you arrive at University in the US
Once you arrive on campus, the Office of International Education will help you with any questions or concerns you may have about immigration rules and regulations. During international student orientation, you will be given information about maintaining your visa status. The University of Vermont will report your arrival within the SEVIS system.