Visa & Immigration Information
International students wishing to study in the US must obtain a visa from the United States. In order to do this, a student must meet all the requirements for admission and be admitted to the University. The University will issue a form I-20 which the student must take with them to the embassy or consulate for the visa interview.
The visa process includes obtaining and filling out application forms, making an appointment for an interview, and providing the necessary documentation. The embassy or consulate will then collect and cross-check names before issuing a visa. The student needs to be aware that this process may take several weeks, possibly up to two months, and should plan accordingly to be able to arrive at the University in time to begin classes. The student must also be prepared to pay the necessary fees for application and for SEVIS registration before the interview.
Steps for Obtaining a Visa
- Apply to and be admitted to the University. Upon completing all University requirements the student will receive an I-20 that allows a student to be eligible for an F-1 Visa.
- Obtain and fill out the application form for a Visa. This may be obtained at the embassy or consulate, or online at https://evisaforms.state.gov/Instructions/SchedulingSystem.asp
- Make an appointment to visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Appointments can be made by telephone, mail, over the internet, or in person depending on the circumstances in your country. Be aware that wait times for appointments may be longer than in the past. You should schedule your appointment as soon as you can—no more than 90 days before the beginning of the program of study.
- Be sure to ask about required fees and how they can be paid. Application fees are non-refundable and must be paid before your appointment.
- Get all of your documentation together. Documentation required will include:
- A valid passport
- A completed application form
- An acceptance letter
- A proof of payment for all required fees
- A valid I-20
- All financial documentation that demonstrates ability to meet the financial obligations of study in the United States. This would include bank statements, loan approvals, scholarship letters, or financial support from a U.S. sponsor. Basically, any information that demonstrates how you will pay for your education and living expenses while in the U.S.
- At the interview you will be required to submit all of the documentation listed above. The interviewer will review the application, and in many cases, the application will be reviewed in Washington, D.C. as well. In most cases, the visa will be issued within a few weeks.
- Be aware that in some cases additional reviews may be required. This may take as much as 4-6 weeks. In the event that the student's visa is denied, NU will refund the funds the student paid to NU for tuition, fees, and room & board.
Arrival & Departure
A visa allows you to travel from your home country to the United States. You will need to have a visa in order to book your travel. In addition, you will need to have your I-20 and your visa, along with your passport, in order to board your flight.
On your airplane flight you will fill out an arrival/departure form. (Form I-94) Do not lose this record. You will be required to register it with the University and have it upon departure from the US for any travel.
At the arrival hall, follow the directions for non-citizen entry. The immigration interviewer will review all of your documentation and give an immigration stamp, at which point you may proceed to baggage claim and then to US Customs.
Note: Students from some countries may be required to complete a detailed registration interview which may include fingerprinting.
For up-to-date information regarding any regulation changes you may visit http://travel.state.gov/.
Upon arrival at Northwest University students are required to visit the International Student Services Office in Room H-102, Hurst Library. Students need to bring their passport, arrival card (I-94), and their signed I-20 form.
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