An applicant can only apply for a student visa the application process is complete, an admission offer is made, finances are documented, and a record is created in the SEVIS system.
Once a new student record is created in SEVIS, a form I-20 (or DS-2019) is printed and sent to the student along with the admission letter, pre-arrival information, and additional instructions.
Each student should follow the visa application instructions found on the nonimmigrant section of the US Embassy website in his or her own home country.
Students who maintain their H-1B status are permitted to study part-time or full-time. No clearance or approval from UNCP International Programs is necessary, but we do request copies of immigration documents for our records.
In most countries, visa applicants must schedule an appointment for a personal visa interview (usually via an online or phone system) the student has received the visa certificate (Form I-20 or DS-2019) from the University.
It is recommended that most overseas applicants apply for the visa at least 2 or 3 months before the start of classes. In some countries, where a security background check may be required, it is advisable to schedule a visa appointment 3 to 6 months before the start of classes. The University is not able to expedite a visa appointment date or security checks at embassies overseas.
The I-20 form (necessary for the F-1 visa) is generally issued for a period of 3 years for a masters student (5 years for bachelors or PhD; shorter for full-time certificate programs) and you will need to submit all pages of this original form along with a copy of your admission letter, and proof of funding when you apply for your visa.
You must document at least your first year of funding.
The visa officer will usually ask a few general questions to gauge an applicant’s conversational English ability, academic preparation for or interest in the intended program, why the student chose NC State, plans for after graduation (i.e., does the student plan to return to the home country after graduation or work indefinitely in the US afterwards and apply for a green card?), if the student has been to the US before or has any immediate family members in the US.
If the visa officer denies the application, it is usually because the applicant did not convince the officer that the student will likely return to the home country after graduating.
The University cannot convince the officer otherwise and the student applicant can usually re-apply for a visa if there is a change in circumstances or additional evidence.
After the student obtains the visa, other travel arrangements and preparations can be made. F-1 and J-1 students can enter the US within the 30 day window period the report date on the visa certificate (Form I-20 or DS-2019).
New students are strongly encouraged to arrive to the Raleigh Durham International airport on August 16th. This is when we offer airport pick-up, and when you can move into your housing, enjoy a leisurely check-in processing, campus tours, etc. This affords you a little time to get set-up, meet with academic advisors, register for courses, set up bank accounts, meet new friends, etc. New students who arrive before this date will not be able to take advantage of our services (and may need to pay for expensive temporary housing). Those who arrive during or after Orientation will be at a distinct disadvantage in getting a good start and will miss out on the best classes, services, and programs.