If you’re a medical student living outside the United States and are planning to study at an American medical school, you’ll have to secure an F-1 student visa first. Unfortunately, non-US students often aren’t aware of all the policies and procedures involved in applying for and receiving a visa, which can leave a feeling of frustration. So,WOLFPACC offers these must-know tips:
- Check for SEVP approval: Before applying for your F-1 student visa to study in the US, you must apply to and be accepted by a medical school approved by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student Exchange and Visitor Program. US officials are committed to helping these schools host the most talented international students looking to study here while protecting our borders. Visit the departments Study in the States website to search the database and make sure your school is SEVP-certified. [http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/school-search]
- Pay your SEVIS fee asap: Once you’re accepted to a SEVP-certified school, you’ll need to pay a fee that covers enrollment in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Once your fee is paid, your school will provide you with a Form 1-20, which you must present to your consular officer when you attend your F-1 visa interview. Failing to bring your Form 1-20 with you on your interview could affect your ability to secure your visa.
- Complete your visa application asap: Next, you’ll need to complete your F-1 student visa application and pay the non-refundable fee. While the application process may vary depending upon your nearest US embassy or consulate, most students are able to complete the application online, then download and print your Form DS-160. Be sure to take this form to your visa interview as well.
- Schedule your visa interview asap: Why do we keep saying “asap?” Because timing is everything. Your F-1 visa can be issued up to 120 days prior to your study start date. But as you can imagine, demand is high and wait times for an interview can be lengthy, and can vary depending upon the location and season. So, it’s strongly advised that you pay all fees, collect all forms and schedule your interview early.
- Prepare for your visa interview: Your visa interview will be the final deciding factor in your being granted or denied an F-1 student visa. Do your research and be fully prepared to answer all pertinent questions which may cover your educational history and plans, your past grades, your finances and how you intend to fund your stay, why you want to study in America and what your post-graduation and career plans are. Also, besides your form 1-20 and Form DS-160, you’ll want to bring the following: a valid passport and passport photo; academic transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates; proof of test scores such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, or GMAT; and proof of your financial stability and proof of your intent to leave the US once you’ve completed your study program. Know that you may have to pay a visa issuance fee and allow your digital fingerprint scans.
While you’re here in the USA, plan a stay in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida to prepare for your USMLE or COMLEX study programs at WOLFPACC. Call 904-209-3140 and speak with an enrollment specialist today.