The Migration Policy Institute has stated that approximately 4.1 million international students have come to the United States to earn a college education in 2013. Since then, international student enrollment has increased by 10% up to the year 2015. These numbers have proven to be the highest growth rate in 35 years. With such high enrollment numbers comes the processing of the legal paperwork to make it all possible.
The Need for Student Visas
International students cannot study in the United States without a student visa. There are different types of visas issued for certain types of education. The administrators at Florida National University (FNU) understand all too well how complex getting a student visa can be. A lot of it has to do with just understanding exactly what kind of visa you need along with knowing what kind of documents you’ll need in order to apply for one.
The Need for Diversity!
As a regionally accredited university based in Florida, our enrollment demographics are quite diverse. With two locations in the South Florida area, we’re set in an area where Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the area. This speaks volumes as to how much diversity is in our community and university.
Our administrators want to make it a little easier for our international students to earn a college education in the United States by providing the necessary information needed to obtain a student visa.
First, you need to understand what kind of visa you should apply for. Many students run into issues because they don’t know the visa categories and may have applied for the wrong one.
Here are the visa categories that student immigrants can apply for:
- F-1 Visa – An F-1 visa is for full-time students who are planning to enroll in a high school, college, or university. The F-1 also applies to students who are interested in enrolling in language training programs.
- M-1 Visa – International students who are interested in attending school full-time at a vocational or nonacademic school will need to apply for the M-1 visa.
- F-3 and M-3 Visa – These kinds of visas are for residents in Canada or Mexico who study at US academic institutions on a part or full-time basis whether it’s a college, university, vocational, or any other kind of nonacademic school.
- J-1 Visa – The J-1 visa is for those who are approved to work and participate in study-based exchange visitor programs. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs states that the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program “provides opportunities for…foreign visitors…to experience the United States society and culture and engage with Americans.
There’s much more to know about the J-1 visa, but we believe if you’re interested in coming to the United States to engage in American culture and society, getting a college education is the best way to do it!
More About the F-1 Visa
The F-1 visa is typically the most coveted one to apply for because it has fewer restrictions and can be renewed and extended. Also, with an F-1 visa, students have the opportunity to adjust their visa category depending on their own goals and plans while living in the United States. International students with an F-1 visa are automatically eligible for a year’s worth of education that can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. For students who are interested in earning a higher level of education, another extension can be obtained.
After graduation, many international students return home. Others might decide to look for work in the United States. For cases like this, students can file for the H-1B visa as a temporary foreign worker or even a legal permanent resident.
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
The SEVP is a database that records all international students and their dependents. Any company that sponsors an exchange visitor is required to update the SEVP on a regular basis. As a result, immigrant employees should be prepared to provide the necessary documentation to their employer in order to maintain sponsorship for their visa.
To learn more about the F1 Visa, read “The Cost of an International Student F1 Visa Program in Florida, USA” here.
What Exactly Do You Need to Qualify for a Student Visa?
- High school transcript
- Transcripts from any previously attended colleges and/or universities
- Note: Transcripts that are not written in English must be certifiably translated in English.
- Certificate of Eligibility, documented evidence that shows financial support. This is also called an I-20-M-N form.
- The registration fee of $150.00 for out-of-state residents only.
Note: FNU needs to have received your applications at least 30 days before the semester begins.
FNU: Helping Our International Students Get a College Education
FNU strives to do everything within our power to ensure that our students’ pursuit of a student visa is complete. We also make sure that they do what is necessary to maintain the visa.
What to Do to Maintain Your Student Visa
In order to maintain satisfactory progress, students must always be able to provide proof of financial eligibility. In order to do that, students need to make sure that they are reporting to FNU on time and not commit the minimum amount of time required. This means that doing the bare minimum to maintain your I-20 visa is unacceptable. You’ll risk forfeiting a college degree this way. You’re also not allowed to terminate your attendance at FNU. If you’re interested in attending another university in the United States, then you will need to undergo the entire student visa process again with that college.
There is much more you need to know about obtaining your student visa. Visit the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs to get more information about how to get your student visa. You can also contact a Florida National University representative to help you get your visa and start the enrollment process today!