Obtaining a Student Visa for Study in the United States
Once you are accepted to Hofstra University you will be contacted by the International Admission Office concerning the processing of your I-20.
Once you receive your I-20, you must pay the "SEVIS I-901" fee. This fee must be paid prior to to making the student visa appointment. Please do not forget to bring your "SEVIS I-901" fee payment receipt to your student visa appointment. You can pay the fee online at www.fmjfee.com/901fee. Once this step is completed, you can set up an appointment to secure an F-1 non-immigrant visa interview at the United States Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
You will need to bring your Hofstra University acceptance letter, supporting financial paperwork, and other supporting documents with you to the student visa interview. Below is information pertaining to your visa interview, so please read through it carefully.
The Law & Returning Home
By law, when applying for a student visa, you are seen as someone who "plans to remain in the United States permanently". You need to prove to the Consulate that you have every intention of returning home after completing your studies. Student visas are only given to those persons who can convince the consulate that they intend to return permanently to their home country and not plan to immigrate to the United States. It is helpful to bring papers which can prove that you have "ties" or affiliations to your home country, which are strong and will force you to return. For example, ties to your country can be immediate family members living there or a job offer when you return upon completion of your degree. An example of letters proving strong ties to your country are: A letter from a possible employer saying that they are interested in people with degrees like the one that you will be studying. If your family owns a business, take a letter from the bank describing it, and if they own property, it is helpful to take the deeds. In addition, if you have a brother or sister who studied in the United States and then returned home, take a copy of his or her diploma and statement from his or her current employer.
Be Prepared: Know Your Program and Why You Want to Come to the United States
In order to ensure that your interview for an F-1 visa is a positive experience, you should be prepared for what to expect. Be ready to answer questions like: Why do you want to study in the United States? Why are you going to take this program of study? Why did you choose Hofstra University? Can you pursue your course of study in your home country? Why do you need to pursue your course of study in the United States? What career will your studies prepare you for back home? You must have a good academic or professional objective for coming to the United States and Hofstra to study. You must be ready to prove your acceptance; bring your I-20 as well as your financial paperwork.
Unless you are expected to take English language courses, you are expected to be able speak English. You might also be asked to show your TOEFL.
Make sure that your passport is valid.
Former U.S. Study
If you have already begun your studies in another immigrant status and you received a change of status to an F-1, be prepared to discuss how your original purpose for being in the United States changed to that of being a full-time student.
Speak for Yourself
The consular officer wants to interview you. It is not advisable to bring family members or other people to your interview.
If your visa application is denied, you can send a fax or an e-mail to the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs as to the details of what was said at your interview. Tell us the name of the consulate who you were speaking with as well as a written copy of the reason you were denied. We will try to assist you in any way that we can, however it is the consulate's decision to grant a visa. Although we can research the situation for you and try to help, there is no guarantee that it will later be approved.
United States Immigration Support
The US State department also maintains a helpful website regarding the student visa process.
Getting in Contact with Us
The Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs look forward to meeting you and helping make your educational experience at Hofstra University a memorable one. If you have questions regarding Hofstra, your visa, international student life, orientation, pre-arrival information, or any of our programs and services please call our office at 516.463.6796 or email us or you may visit the Office of Multicultural and International Students Programs website.