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Part 14: Student Visa - 2001-09-10


Today, we tell about the legal documents that foreign students need to study at an American college or university. Complete details about getting a student visa can also be found on the State Department’s Web page. That address is w-w-w dot t-r-a-v-e-l dot s-t-a-t-e dot g-o-v.


Every foreign student who wants to study in the United States must get a visa from the United States government. You will receive information about how to get one from the American college that has accepted you. Answer the questions on the paper and follow the directions. Then, go to the American embassy or diplomatic office nearest your home.

There you will talk with an American official who will decide about your visa. You must take some documents with you. These include your letter of college acceptance, documents showing how you will pay for your studies, your passport and pictures of yourself. State Department officials say it is especially important to take all the papers you received from the American college, including the I-Twenty Form.

You and the American official will discuss your plans to study in the United States. The official will want to see the I-Twenty Form and college acceptance letter. You must show that you have enough money to pay the cost of the first year of study. You must also be able to satisfy the official that you will return to your country after you have finished your studies.

The official will help you decide what kind of visa you will need. It will depend on the kind of studying you will do and the length of time it will take to complete your studies.

In the past, students on temporary visas in the United States could not earn money by working. This has changed. Students now may work after they have been in the United States for one year. It is not easy to get permission to work, however. The rules permit students to get jobs that are part of training programs, although there are some restrictions.

The American official should explain all these rules to you. Be sure to ask questions until everything is clear. You must know what is and is not permitted of an international student in the United States.