We discussed the pre-requisites for obtaining a student visa here. Now that you know what lies ahead and how to plan for it, it’s time to discuss the necessary papers- and there are a lot of them. The SEVIS I-20 form mentioned previously is essential but it’s only the beginning. We also talked briefly about the DS 160. That form can be submitted online. It is used by Consular Officers who then interview you before processing your information. The DS-160 will also ask that you upload a photo of yourself. As you may imagine, the application process presumes a certain level of technological savvy.
Along with the DS 160, you must submit a copy of a valid passport- specifically the pages showing when it will expire. You also must submit a two inch by two inch photo of yourself. And remember when we said there were a lot of requirements? We weren’t kidding. Here are the ones for the photo
- It must be in color
- sized so that “the head is between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches (22 mm and 35 mm) or 50% and 69% of the image’s total height from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head.”
- taken within the last six months and in a way that matches what you look like now. If you grew a beard in the meantime, you need a new picture.
- Taken in front of a white background
- You must be facing the camera
- You must sport “a neutral facial expression and both eyes open”
- Taken in the clothes you wear on a daily basis
- Must not have any headgear or any clothing that obscures all or part of your face except if you dress this way every day for religious reasons
- The dimensions of the end result should look something like this (Said paste the attached file below)
Now that you’re ready for and achieved your closeup, you must submit it along with the receipts showing the submission of previous paperwork. The fees vary but generally you can expect to pay U.S. $150 for the above, not including the cost of getting the photo taken.
Remember how in Part I we discussed that you need to prove your financial viability? Well you’ll need to prove it. So bring bank statements, pay stubs, anything tangible that proves you can sustain yourself in the U.S. or someone can sustain you.
Additionally, if you have spouses and children, you must prove that they are related to you. You’ll need to apply for a family visa: And it’s best if you do it together. Obviously, issuing a visa is not guaranteed so don’t purchase a ticket before getting one. Once you have it, it’s good until the expiration date. If you want to change your status, do it before you visa expires. Otherwise you will be arrested and likely deported after a brief stay in an Immigration jail. And one last thing- having a visa does not mean that you’re guaranteed entry into the United States- for example, if you get a visa and then steal a car, you have a problem. Also, remember to carry your I-20 form with you when out and about.