Legal Alert -Student and Exchange Visitor Visas (F, M or J) – September, 2010

Student and Exchange Visitor Visas (F, M or J)

Dear Clients and Friends,

This information is provided for foreign persons who wish to come to the United States to study and attend a U.S. school.

Once you have been accepted into a program of study in the United States, you must obtain a student visa. The U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey processes visa applications each working day, Monday through Friday (please keep in mind the visa section is closed on American and Mexican holidays). You should call to make an appointment, with your passport in hand, using the telephone numbers listed in How to apply for a visa; be sure to specify that you are applying as a student and not as a tourist.

The U.S. Consulates reserve separate appointments for student visas from tourist visa appointments; therefore, a student can usually obtain an interview date within 2 or 3 days.

Before coming to the Consulate on your interview date, all applicants for F, J or M visas should have CONFIRMATION from the sponsoring institutions (school or program exchange site) that their name, as well as those of their dependents if applicable, have been added electronically to SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). This registration also confirms your acceptance into the school or exchange program. Neither student nor exchange applicants can be interviewed until their data appears in the SEVIS system; thus, applicants should contact their respective sponsoring institutions if such registration has not been made.

NEW PAYMENT: F-1, M-1, and the majority of J-1 applicants, to whom I-20 or DS-2019 forms have been issued after September 1, 2004, should make an additional payment of $200 USD for SEVIS fees. This payment should be sent directly to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The payment should be made prior to your visa interview. The fastest method to send this payment is by credit card through the website, designated by DHS for this purpose. After making the payment, you should print a copy of the receipt and bring it with you to the interview.

There are different types of visas depending on the duration of the program, your academic level, and the source of program finances, etc. In general, the following documents are required to apply for a student visa:
Form I-20 (for F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 visitors). This form is compulsory and is only sent to the student or exchange visitor by the educational institutions accredited in the United States. It is the only evidence that the applicant has been accepted into an appropriate program for this visa class. NOTE: having the required form I-20 does not guarantee visa issuance. Please be sure that forms are completely filled out and signed by the applicant.
Evidence of means to pay for the costs of the program – depending on the case, this proof will consist of documentation from the institution indicating that the program has been paid for, bank accounts, letters from sponsors or the applicant’s parents, etc.
Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee as explained above.


Complete the basic visa application process as indicated in How to apply for a visa.

Helpful hint: Please note that the SEVIS fee receipt must be printed immediately after payment. You cannot return to the website later to print additional receipts.

You may also be required to provide proof of your English language proficiency, grades from previous educational institutions, bank statements, recommendation letters, or any other documents the Consular Officer deems necessary.

The program or school you wish to attend should offer detailed information; you may wish to contact the Center for Educational Counseling for additional information.

During official vacation periods, appointments for student visas are usually scheduled within TWO WEEKS after you contact the appointment service.

Approved student visas are delivered to the applicant BETWEEN 3 TO 5 WORKING DAYS AFTER the interview date.

As a reminder, please do not make travel plans until you receive your visa.

This information is a general summary of the regulations and should not be used in place of individualized legal, tax or investment advice for any investment or transaction. We strongly recommend you consult your attorney or tax and investment advisor regarding your particular case. Should you need additional information it will be our pleasure to assist you.

As requirement of the United States Treasury Regulations, you should be conscious of the fact that this notice has not been written to be used and it should not be used by the recipient to prevent penalties that could be imposed by U.S. Federal Law.

For more information on Student Visas or other Immigration options please call our firm.

Thank you,