Are you an International Student Athlete?
Apply for an immigration student VISA to increase your chances of attending both U.S. and Canadian Schools
By Ashley Soldera
Students are always encouraged to apply for their visa early to provide plenty of time for visa processing. Students may apply for their visa as soon as they are prepared to do so. A consular officer may need to get special clearances depending on the course of study and nationality of the student. Listed below in chart-format are nationalities worldwide. Please find your country & nationality name and proceed further for clearer instructions.
Five countries are now designated as possessing special processing requirements in section 306 according to the U.S. Department of State. They are North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan and Iran. Please see the link for further details: (http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp /info/info_1300.html)
Getting a Special Visa:
All applicants from state sponsors of terrorism age 16 and over, irrespective of gender, must without exception complete form DS-157, in addition to form DS-156, and must appear for an interview with a consular officer.
An exception to the requirement for an interview may be made at the discretion of the consular officer in cases of A and G visa applicants (except for A-3 and G-5 applicants, who must be interviewed).
The language for Section 306 of the EBSVRA in pertinent part follows:
No nonimmigrant visa under Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)) shall be issued to any alien from a country that is a state sponsor of international terrorism unless the Secretary of State determines, in consultation with the Attorney General and the heads of other appropriate United States agencies, that such alien does not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States. In making a determination under this sub-section, the Secretary of State shall apply standards developed by the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General and the heads of other appropriate United States agencies that are applicable to the nationals of such states.
Students should note that Embassies and Consulates are able to issue your student visa 120 days or less, in advance of the course of study registration date. If you apply for your visa more than 120 days prior to your start date or registration date as provided on the Form I-20, the Embassy or Consulate will hold your application until it is able to issue the visa. Consular officials will use that extra time to accomplish any of the necessary special clearances or other processes that may be required.
Students are advised of the Department of Homeland Security regulation which requires that all initial or beginning students enter the U.S. 30 days or less in advance of the course of study start/report date as shown on the Form I-20. Please consider this date carefully when making travel plans to the U.S.
A beginning student who wants an earlier entry into the U.S. (more than 30 days prior to the course start date), must qualify for, and obtain a visitor visa. A prospective student notation will be shown on his/her visitor visa and the traveler will need to make the intent to study clear to the U.S. immigration inspector at port of entry. Before beginning any studies, he or she must obtain a change of classification, filing Form I-539, Application for Change of Nonimmigrant Status, and also submit the required Form I-20 to the Department of Homeland Security office where the application is made. Please be aware that there is an additional fee of $140 for this process, and that one may not begin studies until the change of classification is approved.
Continuing students may apply for a new visa at any time, as long as they have been maintaining student status and their SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may also enter the U.S. at any time before their classes start.
To apply for your Student Visa as an immigrant or non-immigrant, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/forms/forms_1342.html to download the form you need.