April 23rd, 2012 by Abby Keane
With several colleges in the United States offering scholarships, students from all over the world dream of a college education in the United States. Though admissions are tough and the number of colleges offering full scholarships are few, the race to study in the United States has only increased. The USCIS has issued guidelines for students coming here to study.
A student can either pursue academics or take up vocational studies in the United States. The F Visa category is for academic students and the M Visa category is for vocational students. The J visa is for educational and cultural exchange programs.
Once you have decided to study in the United States, the next step would be to find a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified school. After you apply to that school and get accepted, the school will give you an I-20 form. Fill the form accurately matching it with your passport, so that no error in name or address occurs. After filling out the form you have to file I-901, which is the form to pay the SEVIS fee. This form is required to be filled by all F, M and J students.
After paying the I-901 fee, you will be given a receipt, with which you may apply at the American Embassy or consulate for a visa. Once you get the visa, make sure you have received the right visa and check whether you name and address are correct.
Before you leave for the United States, prepare yourself regarding the documents you should be carrying. Always have your original documents in hand and do not check it in with your baggage. Make a couple of copies of your documents, leave one with family or friends and the other ones you may submit to the school. Some of the documents you may want to have on hand are passport, visas, I-20 receipt, Form DS-2019, Form I-94 and Border crossing cards.
Once you reach the United States you will be eligible for benefits and you should maintain your status and keep updating changes in the SEVIS database. If you have any problem you may speak to the school’s designated official or call the number provided by the SEVP. After completing your studies, you have several options:
- If you want a transfer to another school, you may apply for it.
- You may change to a different graduate program.
- You may take part in the Optional Training Program, by which you may be allowed to work in the United States.
- You may opt for a B or any other visa classification.
If you do not want any of the above options, you may choose to leave the United States to your own country.