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Things to Remember When
Applying for a Student Visa

1. APPLY EARLY! The visa wait time in many countries can be several weeks. For this reason, you should apply for a visa at least three months prior to coming to the U.S. Most U.S. embassies allow students to apply for visas up to three to four months before they come to the U.S. If you apply late, you risk not being able to arrive at the University before your classes begin.

2. BE PREPARED! If you arrive at the embassy for your interview without all of the required documentation, the visa officer may think that you are not a serious student. The documentation required for a visa can vary from embassy to embassy. For this reason, we highly recommend that you visit the webpage for your local U.S. embassy or consulate for details on what they require. Aside from the visa application, the visa application fee, the receipt for payment of the SEVIS fee, a valid passport, I-20, two photos, and an official bank statement, the embassy may request to see transcripts from high school or any university you attended as well as any relevant test scores (such as TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc).

3. STRONG TIES TO HOME COUNTRY. Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are presumed to be immigrants until they convince the consular officer that they are not. If you cannot demonstrate that you have strong ties to your home country, you may be denied a visa. You must, therefore, convince the visa officer that you have a good reason to return home after you graduate. Strong ties to your country may include things like a owning a house, having a guaranteed job when you return to your country, assets you currently possess or may inherit, investments, family members who live near you, etc. The visa officer may ask you to explain your educational objectives, employment goals after you graduate, long-range plans, career prospects, and any plans you might have to start a family in your home country. Each person's situation is different so there is no single explanation or document which can guarantee that you will receive a visa. If you have property, assets, or a guarantee of a job after you graduate and return home, you should bring evidence of that when you apply for a visa. Your major is also of interest to the visa officer. If, for example, you wish to major in Aerospace Engineering, an aerospace industry must exist in your country so that you would be able to find a job after you graduate. Otherwise, the visa officer may suspect that you intend to remain in the U.S. after graduation to find employment.

4. VISA INTERVIEW. Depending on your local embassy, your visa interview may be conducted in English. If you are coming to the U.S. to study in an English program, the visa officer may speak to you in your native language. We do not recommend that you bring several family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview YOU. While in the U.S., you will be expected to be independent so you may create a negative impression if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. Most visa interviews last only 2 to 3 minutes so prepare before you go to the embassy. During the interview, it is extremely important to be friendly, concise, truthful, and organized. You should answer all questions honestly and your responses should not sound as though they have been memorized or rehearsed.

5. KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY. It is important that you know something about Wichita State University and city of Wichita before your visa interview. A visa officer might ask you "There are thousands of universities in the U.S. Why do you want to attend Wichita State?" The embassy may ask you to answer simple questions such as:

Where is the University? Answer: It is in Wichita, Kansas. Wichita is the largest city in Kansas.
Do they have residence halls? Answer: Yes, they have three.
How big is the University? Answer: About 14,500 students including 1,400 international students.
Is it a private or public school? Answer: It is public.

You should learn more about Wichita State University before your visa interview.

6. VISA DENIALS. If you are denied a student visa, politely ask the consular officer for the reason for the visa rejection and any documents he or she would like to see if you reapply for a visa at a later date. One of the most common reasons for a visa rejection is because the consular official suspected the student might attempt to permanently remain in the U.S. after graduating. This is called a "214(b) visa denial." The U.S. State Department, which controls all U.S. embassies abroad, has valuable information about visa denials on their website. We recommend that you read it before applying for a visa. We do not have any influence over the visa application process. In order to go to the U.S. to study, two things must occur: 1) Wichita State University must accept you for admission and issue an I-20 to you, and 2) the U.S. embassy must grant you a visa. These two processes are independent of each other. The U.S. embassy cannot pressure us to accept you for admission AND we cannot pressure the U.S. embassy to grant you a visa. If you are denied a visa, we recommend that you request readmission and apply for a visa again at a later date.