Citizens of foreign countries wishing to enter the United States can do so only with a visa that identifies them as an Immigrant or Nonimmigrant. The nonimmigrant visas are those issued to people who intend only to stay in the country for a limited period of time, without seeking permanent residency or citizenship. One group that requires special visas, and who travel under the nonimmigrant status, are students. Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 107 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.
If you will be entering the United States with the intention to attend a high school, private elementary school, university or college, conservatory, seminary, or "another academic institution, including a language training program" you will need the F-1 visa. Though it might seem that you may be able to apply for and use a standard visitor visa, the terms and conditions are not acceptable for remaining in the U.S. as a student. Additionally, you are not permitted to use the Visa Waiver Program, even if you are from a country that participates in this option.
When You Can Apply
The first step you will need to take in order to apply for your F-1 visa is to apply to, and be accepted into, what is known as the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school. The Department of Homeland Security website has a search engine allowing you to look for schools or download the full list.
Acceptance to your school of choice is necessary before you can apply, and it also places you in what is known as the "Student and Exchange Visitor Information System" (SEVIS). This is a listing for which you must pay, but it is necessary for moving forward with the visa process.
Naturally, it may be confusing to handle this pre-application process, and it is advisable that you discuss your intention with an immigration professional before you even apply to any of the schools you are interested in attending.
Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 107 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.