Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, we will give you our top 10 tips on how to successfully obtain an F-1 student visa or J-1 Trainee visa.
There are generally two ways to apply for a U.S. Visa. If you are residing lawfully in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa classification (such as a tourist visa) you may apply for a change of status by filing Form I-539 Application to Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS. If you are residing abroad however you must apply for your visa at a U.S. Consulate near you.
Regardless of your application method, there are several important tips that can help you successfully obtain your F-1 or J-1 visa.
- Proof of Strong Ties to your home country
One of the most important aspects of the application is providing documentary evidence that your stay in the United States will only be of a temporary nature and that you will depart the United States at the end of your student visa or trainee program. To show that you intend to remain in the United States only temporarily, you must provide proof that you have obligations/ties to your home country that require your eventual return.
What types of evidence can be provided to fulfill this requirement?
There are a variety of different types of evidence that can be provided to show strong proof of ties home. The most common types of evidence include proof of residence abroad, proof of employment abroad or a future job offer that will require you to return to your home country, enrollment in an academic program to be attended in the future, military obligations abroad, property ownership abroad, business operations or business ownership abroad, evidence of familial obligations, etc.
- Financial Ability
All non-immigrant visa applicants must show that they have the financial ability to support their stay during the duration of their student or trainee program. This can be shown by providing your most recent bank account statements to prove that you have sufficient capital to support your stay.
Alternatively, applicants may provide proof of sponsorship. For purposes of sponsorship, the applicant must have a friend or relative who meets the income requirements sign Form I-134 Affidavit of Support. The sponsor must sign a statement that they will be financially responsible for the applicant’s expenses throughout the duration of their stay in the U.S., and the sponsor must also provide supporting financial documentation showing their ability to sponsor the applicant.
- Knowledge of the English Language
In order to obtain a F-1 or J-1 visa, you must demonstrate at your consular interview that you have at least a basic command of the English language to be able to effectively participate in your student visa or trainee visa program.
Please note: You will need to be able to speak for yourself at the time of your interview. You will not be allowed to bring a parent, relative, or anyone else to speak for you at your interview.
- Explain how your program of study will relate to your future career in your home country
At the time of your interview you must be prepared to explain to the consular officer how your chosen program of study or training relates to your future career in your home country. For example, if you have chosen to study hospitality management in the United States, you may wish to explain to the officer that you plan to work in the hospitality industry in your home country, and your US degree in hospitality management will help you be an attractive candidate for employers in your home country.
This will increase your chances of success at the time of your interview.
- Be clear and concise
Remember that you only have a limited amount of time to speak to the consular officer and show that you qualify for the visa. All of your answers to the officer must be clear and concise. Answer exactly what the officer is asking, nothing less nothing more.
- Supplementary documents
Do not bring voluminous documents to your interview. Be organized and bring only documents that are necessary for your interview.
- Country of origin matters
It is important to note that your country of origin matters in terms of your chances of success in applying for an F-1 or J-1 visa. If you are from a country whose nationals historically overstay their visas, your chances of success will decrease.
If you are applying for a student visa, it is important to show to the consular office that you will not need to work while in the United States, because you have sufficient financial resources to support your stay.
- Family members in country of origin
It is important to show whether any of your family members are being left behind in your country of origin. This can be helpful to bolster your proof of ties to your home country.
- Be courteous and polite
At all times of your interview it is important for you to be courteous and polite to the officer. Always maintain a positive attitude even if you are denied. Remember that you may re-apply and cure any defects in your application in the future.
Ready to apply? Contact us to discuss your options.