Information For Initial I 20 Applicants_2015 Initiali20info

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E-MAIL: PHONE: 301-527-0600
WEB SITE: FAX: 301-527-1128
How do I get an F-1 Visa? You apply for an F-1 Visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy closest to you. You
should contact the Consulate to find out exactly what to bring with you. All applicants will be required to bring
at least an I-20 form, financial documents, valid passport and SEVIS payment receipt.
How do I get an I-20 form? The International Language Institute, MD will issue an I-20 Form once you have
completed the application form, paid our $50 fee and submitted appropriate financial documents and passport
What financial documents are required? You must submit financial documentation in the form of bank
statements, letter from a sponsoring agency, or affidavit of support to show that you have enough money for
tuition and living expenses for at least $1,800 per month of study in the United States. You must submit a
recent bank statement (less than 3 months old) as well as a letter of support from your sponsor, if
applicable. We cannot accept letters from accountants in place of a bank statement.
Can I take a vacation on an F-1 Visa? The International Language Institute, MD, allows students in good
standing to take one 4-week session off after completing four 4-week sessions, or two 4-week sessions off
after completing 8 four-week sessions. If you need to take leave before successfully completing four 4-week
sessions, you must submit your request in writing to the school director. All vacation requests must be
submitted at least one week in advance. Approval is at the discretion of the school director.
Before the International Language Institute, MD, is able to issue a Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for
Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student) for an initial applicant, the student must
be admitted to the Intensive Program at the International Language Institute, MD
make all payments at the time of application (we accept cash, checks, credit cards, PayPal, Western
Union, bank wires
complete and submit the following documents to the School Director:
1. Intensive Program Application for F-1 Students
2. Financial documentation in the form of bank statements, letter from a sponsoring agency, or
affidavit of support.
a. Bank statements (less than 3 months old) must include the name on the account, the date the
account was opened and the current balance.
b. You may submit more than one bank statement to document multiple accounts.
c. All documents must be translated into English and amounts shown in US dollars.
3. Copy of valid passport with expiration date.
1. Non-Refundable Application Fee $50
2. Express Mail Fee, if applicable $15-100 (varies depending on region)
3. Non-refundable SEVIS fee $200
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Understanding Changes in the Immigration Regulations
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 drastically changed the way many Americans view visitors to the
United States. As a democracy, the U.S. government has reacted to this strong public concern with a wide
array of new laws, procedures, and regulations and has changed the way in which existing laws are interpreted
and enforced. International students and scholars and their families are affected by these measures in
numerous and important ways.
Updated regulations governing the status of international students, scholars, and their families took effect on
January 1, 2003. These regulations indicate that the U.S. government has adopted a policy of "no tolerance"
for mistakes on the part of non-immigrants, including F-1 students. It is critical that you understand the F-1
regulations and comply with them.
The immigration offices of the U.S. government are part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its
functions are divided into three offices within DHS: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS),
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). USCIS processes
applications for F-1 benefits, CBP officers staff ports of entry, and ICE handles cases of students who fail to
maintain status.
Immigration Documents
All immigration regulations are handled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Passport: You must make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months in the future. An expiring
passport can be renewed or revalidated through your country's Embassy in Washington DC, or your Consulate
in New York.
Visa: The visa is a stamp made in the passport by a U.S. Embassy or consulate outside the United States. It
shows the number of entries you are permitted in and out of the United States, but does not determine the
length of time you may remain in the Unites States. Remember that having a valid visa is necessary for
entering and re-entering the U.S.
I-20 Form: This is a form given to F1 and F2 visa holders as a permanent record of your periods of stay in the
U.S. Every time you plan to leave the country, you must have your I-20 form signed by the School Director in
order to return to the United States.
Maintaining Student Status
Full-time Status: All F1 students must maintain full time status at all times. This means that International
Language Institute students must be enrolled for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Once an international
student has stopped taking at least 20 hours per week, he/she is out of status.
Travel: To travel outside the United States, an F1 student must have 3 things: a valid I-20 form with a recent
signature from the Designated School Official (DSO), a valid passport, and a valid visa allowing for re-entry.
Program Extension: If F-1 students need to stay at The International Language Institute longer than the
completion date on their I-20 forms in order to complete their studies, they should make an appointment to see
the School Director BEFORE their I-20 expires.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
Every F visa holder must understand the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), the new
mechanism employed by the U.S. government to track the arrival, enrollment and departure of international
students and their dependents. The International Language Institute, like every other school admitting
international students in the United States, is using SEVIS.
SEVIS is an internet-based system that requires schools and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS, formerly INS) to exchange data on the immigration and academic status of international students,
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scholars, and their dependents. Information pertaining to an F-1 or J-1 student, scholar, or dependent's stay in
the United States is available to U.S. embassies and consulates as well as to the USCIS.
How SEVIS works:
1. After admitting an international student, the school enters data into SEVIS. If the USCIS approves the
school’s request to issue an I-20 (for F students), SEVIS creates the document and sends it via the
Internet to the school. The school prints and sends the new bar-coded I-20 form to the student or
2. The student visits the U.S. consulate abroad, and the consulate confirms through SEVIS that the I-20 is
a valid document. If everything is in order, the consulate can issue the visa.
3. A BCBP officer (formerly INS) at the airport reports the student's entry into the U.S. to SEVIS. When
the student arrives, he/she reports to the International Language Institute and the school confirms the
student's enrollment through SEVIS.
4. The International Language Institute continues to provide regular electronic reports to USCIS
throughout the student's affiliation with us. Finally, SEVIS records the student's departure from the
International Language Institute.
Data Schools must report
Name, date of birth, country of birth, country of citizenship, source and amount of financial
resources, academic program, level of study, program start and end dates.
Enrollment or failure to enroll.
A change of the student’s or dependent's legal name or address.
Graduation prior to the end date listed on the I-20.
Academic or disciplinary actions taken due to criminal conviction.
Registration for less than a full course of study without prior authorization.
Termination date and reason for termination.
Other data generated by standard procedures such as program extension, school transfer, change
in level of study, employment authorization, and reinstatement.
Failure to maintain status or complete the academic program or program objective.
Failure to maintain status:
Examples of failure to maintain status include dropping from full-time to part-time
enrollment, attending a school other than the one authorized to attend, failure to apply for a timely transfer or I-
20 extension or change in level of study, unauthorized employment, and failure to report change of address.
Consequences of failure to maintain status:
The student's or dependent's record will be updated in SEVIS
every month and every time there is a change in any of the required data elements. Individuals who fail to
maintain status lose the privileges of their student status and become subject to possible deportation. Specific
consequences may include denial of re-entry to the U.S., denial of requests for employment authorization,
denial of requests to change status, and possible denial of future visa applications. Ignorance of the
regulations ("I didn't know"), unintentional neglect, and inadvertent oversight ("I forgot") have been explicitly
rejected as excusable reasons for violations and cannot be used to support a reinstatement application. It is
vital that you confer with the International Language Institute as often as needed to ensure you maintain valid
F-1 status.
Prepare for SEVIS: The USCIS has information on their web site about SEVIS at
. Keep all documents up-to-date: changes in degree level, program
extensions, and travel validations must be done in a timely manner and on SEVIS documents. Allow time for
processing new forms.
Understand immigration regulations, learn how to maintain lawful status in the U.S., and refer any
questions or problems immediately to CIP.
Be proactive. Plan your course schedules carefully so that you maintain full-time enrollment every
Make travel arrangements early, and anticipate delays at consulates and border crossings.
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I-901 SEVIS Fee for Nonimmigrant Students
Beginning September 1, 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will collect a congressionally
mandated fee to cover the costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). International students
and exchange visitors are subject to this fee, which will be used to administer and maintain the Student and
Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), support compliance activities, and establish SEVIS Liaison
Officers establish SEVIS Liaison Officers to provide information and assistance to students and schools.
Some schools charge a fee by the year or the semester to support their foreign student/exchange visitor offices
and automated systems. These fees are neither mandated nor collected by the U.S. Government.
The payment of I-901 fees will be recorded and tracked in SEVIS, the automated system for collecting,
maintaining, and managing information about nonimmigrant student and exchange visitors in the United
Who pays the fee? Those who wish to enter the United States either as a student or an exchange visitor with
a Form I-20 dated on or after September 1, 2004. Spouses and dependent children (F-2) of students do not
pay this fee.
How much is the fee?
For students (F-1) $200
For spouses and dependent children (F-2) of students or exchange visitors None
When do prospective students or exchange visitors pay the SEVIS fee?
Applicants who require a visa to enter the United States must pay the SEVIS fee before going to the
U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interviews.
Applicants who are citizens of Canada, Bermuda, Bahamas and residents of certain other islands (see
8 CFR 212.1a) wishing to apply for F-1, F-3, M-1, M-3, or J-1 status at a Port of Entry into the United
States must pay the SEVIS fee before appearing at the Port of Entry.
Non-immigrants currently in the United States who apply for student or exchange visitor status must
pay the fee prior to filing their change of status application.
How is the fee paid?
Through the Internet at
by using a credit or debit card and completing the online Form
I-901 (Fee for Remittance for Certain F, M, and J Non-immigrants); or
Through the mail by submitting a completed Form I-901 and a check or money order drawn on a U.S.
bank and payable in U.S. currency; or
By a third party such as a school or sponsor; or
By selected sponsors of an exchange program by submitting a bulk or group payment.
When must the fee be paid? The fee must be paid to ensure that the payment can be deposited and
recorded in SEVIS prior to the scheduled visa interview. The interviewing consular officer will confirm that the
fee has been paid by accessing SEVIS. To allow for adequate processing time the fee must be paid:
At least three business days prior to the visa interview date for electronic submissions.
For regular mail submissions, 15 business days should be allowed before the scheduled visa interview.
This time frame allows adequate time for the fee payment to be received at the DHS address listed on
the Form I-901, deposited, and recorded in SEVIS.
Add local mail processing times to these processing times for accuracy.
How will the payment be verified? The payment will be recorded in the SEVIS system. However, it is
recommended that the paper I-797 or the Internet-generated receipt be brought to the visa interview.
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DHS will issue an official paper receipt (I-797) for every payment received.
Individuals, who are paying by mail, may request Express delivery service for the I-797 receipt at an
additional cost of $30.
Individuals who file electronically will be able to print an electronic receipt immediately at the time of
When must continuing students (F-1 non-immigrants who have begun but not finished a program) pay
the SEVIS fee?
Continuing students must pay the SEVIS fee before:
Filing an application for reinstatement when they have been out of status for more than five months; or
When applying for a new visa and returning to the United States after an absence of more than five
months that did not involve authorized overseas study; or
When filing an application for a change of status to an F, M, or J classification except for changes
between F-1 and F-3 or between M-1 and M-3.
Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry…What a student can expect
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is committed
to facilitating your stay in the United States while you take advantage of our nation’s academic, educational,
and cultural offerings. To enhance security without slowing legitimate travel, the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) has instituted some changes in U.S. entry and exit procedures. Careful planning and
preparation by international students can ensure that any delay based on these procedures is minimal.
Plan Your Arrival: You may be refused entry into the United States if you attempt to arrive more than 30 days
before the program start date listed on your SEVIS I-20 form.
Always Hand-Carry Your Documents: If your baggage is lost or delayed, you will be unable to present the
documents at your port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States. Do not check the
following documents in your baggage:
1. Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay;
2. Your immigration documents: When you receive your nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or
consulate, the consular officer may seal your immigration documents in an envelope and attach it to
your passport. You should not open this envelope! The Customs and Border Protection Officer at the
U.S. Port of Entry will open the envelope; and
3. SEVIS Form I-20.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:
1. Evidence of financial resources;
2. Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts;
3. Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797, and
4. Name and contact information for your “Designated School Official”, including a 24-hour emergency
contact number at the school.
For comprehensive information on procedures for traveling and arriving in the United States, visit:
Complete Your Entry Paperwork:
If Arriving By Air and Sea: The I-94 card is no longer necessary. The CBP now gathers travelers’
arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records.
If Arriving By Land: The CBP Officer at the port of entry will provide the necessary Customs Declaration
Forms (CF-6059) and Arrival-Departure Record Forms (I-94) to be filled out upon your arrival.
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As You Arrive at the Port of Entry:
Proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers. Have the following documents available for presentation:
your passport; SEVIS Form (I-20); and Customs Declaration Form (CF-6059).
All visitors entering the United States must state their reason for wishing to enter the country. You will also be
asked to provide information about your final destination. It is important that you tell the CBP Officer that
you will be a student. Be prepared to include the name and address of the school program where you will
Once your inspection is successfully completed, the inspecting officer will:
Stamp your passport for duration of status (“D/S”) for F visa holders
Following Admission into the United States:
Students should report to their school within 30 days of the date that appears on the SEVIS I-20 form to
register for courses or to validate their intended participation. Failure to do so may result in serious
Additional Information:
Secondary Inspection Requirements: If the CBP officer at the port of entry cannot initially verify your
information or you do not have all of the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area
known as “secondary inspection.” Secondary inspection allows inspectors to conduct additional research in
order to verify information without causing delays for other arriving passengers.
The inspector will first attempt to verify your status by using the Student and Exchange and Visitor Information
System (SEVIS). In the event that the CBP Officer needs to verify information with your school or program, we
strongly recommend that you have the name and telephone number of the Designated School Official at
your school. In the event you arrive during non-business hours (evening, weekends, holidays), you should
also have an emergency or non-business hour phone number available for this official.
Failure to comply with U.S. government entry-exit procedures may result in your being denied entry to the
United States. Under certain circumstances, the CBP officer may issue a “Notice to Student or Exchange
Visitor” Form (I-515A), which authorizes temporary admission into the United States. Work with your school to
submit the proper documentation without delay.
US-VISIT: All nonimmigrant visitors holding visas -- regardless of race, national origin, or religion -- participate
in the US-VISIT program, a comprehensive registration system tracking entries to and exits from the United
States. For more information:
National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS): Some individuals may be asked to provide
additional information under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). A packet of
information will be available at each port of entry explaining the registration procedure. For more information:
Student Health Insurance
In the United States, individuals are responsible for paying for their own medical care costs. In general, these
costs are very high. To prepare for the financial responsibility of unexpected illness or injury, all international
students on F-1 visas at the International Language Institute should have health insurance. One of the
companies offering health insurance for international students is Compass Benefits at

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