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Every Foreign Student Needs a Visa to Enter U.S.

Students should contact a United States embassy to arrange a visit. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

We continue our series of reports about how foreign students can attend a college or university in the United States. Our subject this week is government rules and requirements for entering the United States to study.

Every foreign student who has been accepted to study in this country must have a legal document called a visa from the United States government. A visa permits a foreign citizen to travel to the United States and request permission to enter the country. The rules for getting a visa can be found on the State Department Web site. The address is United States visas is all one word. Another State Department Web site for students from other countries is

If you are requesting a visa for the first time, you may have to appear at the American Embassy in your country to talk to an official. Each student should communicate with the Embassy to find out if such an interview is needed and when it can take place.

It is important to apply for the visa early. State Department officials say national security is the most important issue in deciding if a person will be permitted to enter the United States. Officials must find out if a student is on any list of people with possible links to terrorists.

Embassies can not issue a visa more than ninety days before the start of the educational program in the United States. If you are a student studying in the United States for the first time, you will not be permitted to enter the country more than thirty days before the start of your classes.

Foreign students accepted at an American school will receive a document called a Certificate of Eligibility. The State Department says each student must enter the country using the certificate provided by the school he or she will be attending. It is a violation of the law to enter the country on one school’s certificate but attend another school.

You are permitted to stay in the United States on a student visa for the length of your period of study. That means you can stay as long as you are a full-time student. Your college or university will provide the government with reports about your education as long as you continue to study there. We will have more information about that next week.

Our Foreign Student Series is online, at

And that’s the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy Steinbach. I’m Mario Ritter.