What is an F1 Visa?
Most international students who study at Longy will enter the United States on an F-1 visa. An F-1 student is a nonimmigrant who is pursuing a full course of study in order to achieve a specific educational or professional objective at an academic institution in the United States. Once the educational or professional objective has been attained, the F-1 student is expected by the U.S. government to return to his or her residence abroad. Holders of other visa types who wish to study at Longy should contact the Admissions Office for further information.
What is an I-20, and how do I get one?
You must receive a Form I-20 from Longy in order to apply for the F-1 visa. Longy will issue the Form I-20 only after the following documents have been received, reviewed, and accepted:
- The completed application for admission including a TOEFL score report or waiver.
- A clear photocopy of the student's passport from the home country. If a student has obtained a visa from another school, a clear photocopy of the student's previous visa is also required.
- Certified evidence of financial support and a letter of sponsorship where applicable. This should include official, original records of personal or family funds. These records can also include the funds of outside agencies or sponsors. All international students must submit proof of financial support that they, or their sponsors, can cover the cost of attendance for the full program at Longy.
Determining your Cost of Attendance:
In order to receive the Form I-20, international students must provide documents of financial support for costs associated with studying at Longy and living in Boston. Please see link below for a list of these expenses.
Tuition Rates, Fees & Other Expenses
What is SEVIS?
SEVIS, the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, is a database maintained by the U.S. government that tracks international students and their dependents. Longy’s Designated School Officials are required to update a student’s SEVIS record whenever the student changes address, program of study, etc.
SEVIS DESIGNATED STUDENT OFFICIALS
Longy’s Designated School Officials (DSOs) for international student affairs are the Registrar, the Director of Student Financial Assistance, the Director and Assistant Director of Admissions and Student Services. These advisors are available to help international students understand and comply with all applicable rules and regulations.
What should I do after receiving my I-20 from Longy?
Upon receiving the completed Form I-20 from Longy, students outside the U.S. should:
1. Pay the SEVIS Fee. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires proof of payment of the SEVIS fee before issuing a visa or approving any benefits of status. F-2 dependents are not required to pay the SEVIS fee. To pay the SEVIS I-901 processing fee refer to: https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/.
2. Make an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country in order to apply for the F-1 visa. It is recommended that appointments be made well in advance of traveling to the U.S. Students should bring all documents relevant to their admission to Longy, including:
- Valid passport (must be valid at least six months beyond the date you intend to remain in the U.S)
- Completed and signed Form I-20
- Certified evidence of financial support (including the same financial documents used by Longy to complete the Form I-20)
- Longy acceptance letter (and scholarship award letter where applicable)
- Proof of English proficiency, such as a TOEFL report
- Travel documents and other forms as specified by the local U.S. embassy
These documents should be retained and may need to be presented when traveling to the U.S. In some cases a person applying for an F-1 visa may be asked to provide evidence of intent to depart the U.S. after completion of studies.
A great resource on how to prepare for your visa interview can be found HERE
What should I do after I am approved for my F-1 Visa?
The student will be issued an F-1 visa. Visas can be obtained only outside the United States at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The visa allows a student to enter the U.S. when accompanied by the Form I-20 and is only valid for the purpose for which it was issued. The expiration date on the visa does not determine how long a student may stay in the U.S.; the completion date printed on the Form I- 20 is the determining date.
Unlike the Form I-20, visas may expire while a student is in the U.S. However, before re-entering the U.S. after any international travel, the visa must be renewed.
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from the requirement to possess a visa to enter the U.S.; however, they are still required to pay the SEVIS fee before starting their program. Proof of SEVIS fee payment for these individuals will be verified at the U.S. port of entry before they are admitted to the United States in F-1 status.
What if I'm already in the U.S. with an F1 Visa?
The SEVIS fee is not required from international students currently in the U.S. in valid F-1 status. The fee is not required when a student transfers to a new school or changes degree program or level within five months of completing a previous F-1 program.
Longy will provide a student coming from another U.S. school with a SEVIS Transfer Form to be completed by an official at the previous school so that the student’s SEVIS record can be transferred to Longy and a new I-20 issued.
What happens if I do not come to Longy after I receive an F1 visa?
The SEVIS fee must be paid by students who have studied in the U.S. in F-1 status in the past but have departed the U.S. for longer than a five-month period or changed to another immigration status, whether or not a new F-1 visa is needed.