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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #5: Government Rules

Broadcast: September 30, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with 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. These reports are on the Special English Web site,

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. The rules for getting a visa have changed since the terrorist attacks against the United States in two thousand one. Three of the nineteen hijackers in the September eleventh attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had student visas.

The State Department rules for giving permission to foreign students to study in the United States can be found on the State Department Web site. The address is Another State Department Web site for students from other countries is

Government officials say that national security is the most important issue in deciding if a person should be permitted to enter the United States. It takes a longer time than it used to for students to receive permission to enter the country. Officials must see if a student is on any list of people with possible links to terrorists.

The State Department says students are not being examined any more closely than other people who want to come to the United States. But students must enter the country before their classes begin. So they should apply for a visa as soon as they can, to permit enough time for approval.

The State Department says the place to start is the United States Embassy or diplomatic office in the student’s home area. And it says foreign students should apply for visas as soon as they have their documents.

Foreign students accepted at an American school will receive a document called a Certificate of Eligibility. It permits entrance into the United States to study. 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.

We will have more information next week about rules for students who want to come to the United States.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Gwen Outen.