Basic Immigration Information
Information included in this section is intended for members of the international community at Maryville University. This information is subject to change any time. For the latest information about immigration rules and procedures, please contact the Center for Global Education.
All students who are in the U.S. on non-immigrant visas are subject to a complex and changing set of regulations mandated by the U.S. government. A major role of the Center for Global Education is to provide advice about these regulations and assist students in obtaining the benefits that are legally permitted.
The following section provides a summary of immigration regulations. The information includes some basic terminology and regulations which all students should know while studying in the U.S. Because immigration law is subject to change often, and because each student has a unique set of circumstances, you should first consult the staff of the Center for Global Education or International Admissions Office for updated information.
Important Terms and Forms
- Passport – Issued by the government of your country. Your passport must be valid at all times during your stay in the U.S. The passport can be renewed in the U.S.
- U.S. Visa – Stamped in your passport by the U.S. Embassy. Allows you to apply for entry to the U.S. The visa can only be renewed from your home country.
- Immigration Status – This refers to your visa category, such as F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, B-2, H-1B, etc.
- I-94 Card – The small card which you received upon entering the U.S. Also known as Arrival/Departure Record. The I-94 card shows how long you are authorized to stay in the U.S. and includes your admission number.
- I-20 Form – Students present this form to receive F-1 status. The expiration date in item #5 is the expected date of completion for your academic program. Each F-1 student must retain his/her I-20 form to establish legal status in the U.S. If the I-20 expires, the student could have their visa revoked.
- DS-2019 Form – Students present this form to receive J-1 status. The DS-2019 form shows the authorized program participation dates and a description of the exchange program.
- United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) – The U.S. government agency which enforces U.S. immigration laws.
- Passport Verification – The Center for Global Education is required by law to maintain records for each non-immigrant student at Maryville University. All international students must participate in passport verification prior to their initial enrollment (this is typically done during international student orientation upon arrival). To complete passport verification, the student brings his or her immigration documents to be verified by a Center for Global Education staff member.
Individuals applying for a student visa should make note of the following steps:
Sign the front page of your I-20 or DS-2019 and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F-1 or J-1 student visa appointment.
Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
All individuals applying for a student visa pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. Information about the fee is available online on the SEVIS Web site. You may either complete the form and pay online or download and mail in the printed form and fee payment. The SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt (or a printout of your online fee payment page) will serve as proof of payment.
Obtain and complete a student visa application form.
This form is available at the information counter of the Embassy/Consulate or online. Please note any fees you need to pay and have these fees with you when you visit the Embassy/Consulate.
Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate or follow the mailing instructions given by the Embassy or Consulate to apply for a student visa. Along with the completed visa application, you must also bring or mail the following items:
- The original I-20 or DS-2019 form and the admission letter sent by Maryville University
- The SEVIS I-901 fee payment receipt
- A nonrefundable visa application fee. See payment instructions on the application form.
- A passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended stay in the U.S
- Original school transcripts and public examination certificates, including student copy of your TOEFL, GMAT or GRE score report if applicable
- Originals of your sponsor’s most recent salaries or tax forms; if you are producing fixed deposit certificates, you must provide evidence that your sponsor has had this money in deposits for a reasonable amount of time.
- One set of all financial documents (bank verification)
- Any evidence which will demonstrate strong ties to your country or any other residence outside of the USA
- All other documents listed on the visa application form
- Depending on the country, obtaining a visa can range from being quite easy to very difficult. Because the requirements to apply for a U.S. visa differ from country to country, you should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country to obtain specific visa application information.
- Please note: Many U.S. Embassies/Consulates now take approximately four to six weeks to process student visas. You can obtain detailed U.S. visa information for your country by accessing: http://usembassy.state.gov/.
You may find the following tips to be useful when applying for a student visa:
- Be honest when completing your visa application.
- Provide proof that you have enough money to cover the entire cost of your education during your first year of study (and adequate funds for each subsequent year of study). Provide as much financial documentation as possible to the Embassy/Consulate (such as detailed bank statements, property records, letters from your or your parent’s employers, etc.).
- You must have a clear educational goal in mind when you apply for a visa. It is important for you to know about Maryville University. Read the information we have sent you. If you have any questions, contact us. The consular official will be specifically looking for information about how you decided to attend Maryville University. What process did you follow? Why did you choose Maryville University over other institutions? Reasons may include but are not limited to: degree programs available, financial assistance, low cost of living expenses and tuition, location (near a metropolitan city but not a big city like Los Angeles, New York, etc.), a friend who currently attends or graduated from Maryville University, or met a faculty or staff member from Maryville University. Think about all of this and be prepared to respond to these kinds of questions. In addition, you must convey a clear employment objective when you return to your home country.
- Establish a “strong tie” to your home country. These ties provide a strong incentive to return home after your studies in the U.S. Some examples of strong ties include a job that will be waiting for you when you return home; ownership of a business, house or property; a family to return to; or a bank account. Students who cannot establish a strong tie to their home country will automatically be denied a visa. This is one of the main reasons for visa denial. If you are denied a visa, the consular office will notify you in writing of the specific reason. Reapply for a student visa when you can submit the missing items or documentation.
You must establish that you have strong ties to your home country at the beginning of the visa application.