STEP 4: Get Your Visa & Get Ready
You have received the university’s decision to admit you, plus adequate financial support. You have analysed all the admissions decisions, and financial aid, and everything. You have made up your mind and have confirmed that you’d be attending the university of you choice. What next?
After you confirm enrollment and the university is clear about the financial arrangement that will enable you to study in the USA, the university will send you your certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status: Form I-20 (for F 1 visa) that will allow you to enter the USA for study purposes.
- Now that you have the I-20, and you are planning to apply for the F1 visa you need to pay the SEVIS fee. You may like to visit the SEVIS I-901 fee processing website for complete information about paying your SEVIS fee. Follow the instructions carefully. For more information, you may also visit the Study in the States website for students.
- Once you’ve paid the SEVIS fee you will need to fill out other visa applications forms.
- You are now ready to apply for your visa and schedule your interview. Refer to the U.S. nonimmigrant visa website to complete the required application forms.
- It is best practice to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the end of your study in the United States and that your name is spelled correctly and appears the same on all documents.
- Be sure to have your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 and your SEVIS receipt.
- Confirm you have the required documents and schedule your visa interview following the instructions on the website of the U.S. embassy in Bucharest. Their site offers comprehensive information and step-by-step guidance for the visa application process: http://romania.usembassy.gov/visas/new-visa-application-process.html
- All the documents required for the visa application are available at http://romania.usembassy.gov/visas/non-immigrant_forms.html
- During the interview,you will have a few minutes to demonstrate that your goal in the USA is study and you are a legitimate student. Expect to answer questions regarding your ties to Romania, your English language proficiency, your academic background, the program in the United States on which you have enrolled, and proof of your financial ability, where applicable.
Preparing for Departure to the USA: Best Practices
- Make your travel arrangements and notify the International Student Office on your campus.
- Learn as much as you can about the USA in general and the particular part of the USA you are heading for. A good source might be the electronic journals on the site of the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/ejusa.html#axzz3TW4KmfVC, the Romanian and South-East European students on your campus/in your region, and the multiple sources of information that your campus makes available.
- Attend the Pre-Departure Orientation EDMERICA offers in mid July. This half-day event will clarify many of the dilemmas you may still have about the U.S. academic and cultural environment and will put in contact with Romanian students in the USA who will act as presenters and resource people in the Orientation.
- Contact information. As you travel you should have handy the name and phone number of your international student adviser on campus, in case you need to call him/her upon arrival in the United States.
- Passport and nonimmigrant visa. As you travel to the USA make sure you carry your passport and certificate of eligibility (I-20) with you at all times. On the plane, as landing approaches, you will be required to complete the Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 form).
- Once you land, you will be directed to the Visitor section and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will take your biometric fingerprints and photograph. Part of the Arrival-Departure Record I-94 will be stapled into your passport.The stapled portion will be removed only when you leave the United States.
- Medical documents. Bring certificates of immunizations and vaccinations, prescriptions, medical and dental records.
- Academic transcripts. Bring your official transcripts, outlines, or descriptions of courses you have taken, and contact information for your U.S. campus. The U.S. university may request to see the Baccalaureate Diploma, etc.
- College or university acceptance letter. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff may want to see it, so have it ready for inspection.