You are accepted. What is next?
After your admission has been approved, you will be asked to submit an enrollment deposit. The deposit must be received prior to the issuance of your I-20.
New Student Checklist
Applying for the F-1 Visa
It is imperative that you present a valid SEVIS I-20 to the nearest U.S. consulate in order to apply for an F-1 visa. Students may be required to present the following documents:
- Current, valid passport
- Form DS-160, non-immigrant application
- Acceptance letter from MU
- Proof of SEVIS fee payment. For more information, go to www.fmjfee.com.
- Passport photograph
- Current, dated financial statements
- Proof of permanent address in home country and plans to return to home country
The earliest that an F-1 visa can be granted is 120 days before the reporting date listed on Form I-20 (but a student can enter the U.S. no earlier than 30 days before I-20 program start date).
Canadian Citizens do not need visas to study in the U.S. You do need to obtain an I-20 (or DS-2019) Certificate of Eligibility from Methodist University. At the time you receive the I-20 (or DS-2019) you will be registered with SEVIS, the student tracking system. You will be assigned a SEVIS number, and be required to pay the I-901 registration fee.
When you cross the border to study you will need to provide the Officer at the port of entry:
- Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport for example)
- The original I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate
- Proof that you have paid your SEVIS fee (print a receipt)
- Proof that you have the funds to pay for the school that you plan to attend
- Proof of your ties to Canada
Additionally you or the students can visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students for more information regarding attending school in the United States.
Visa Interview Tips
- Your immigration documents: Make sure your I-20, SEVIS I-901 fee receipt, and your university acceptance documents have correct information before you fill out any visa application form!
- Ties to Your Home Country: Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as “intending” immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: such as job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa issuance.
- English Proficiency: Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches! If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
- Speak for Yourself: Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.
- Know the Program and How It Fits Your Career Plans: If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.
- Be Brief (to the point): Because of the many number of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.
- Additional Documentation: It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you are lucky.
- Not All Countries are Equal: Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from these countries are more likely to be “intending” immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.
- Employment: Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude: Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
What Do I Bring?
Traveling internationally can be quite challenging since you are limited to the weight limit of your luggage. Please check with your airline on baggage regulations. The temperature in Fayetteville, N.C. ranges from the -1°C to +32°C or 30’s to the 90’s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year. The average temperature in February is about +6°C or 43°F while the average temperature in July is just +29°C or 85°F. Here are some recommendations as to what you should bring as a minimum:
- casual (warm weather) clothes
- two warm sweaters & a warm jacket or coat
- at least one sport coat or suit (guys)
- personal grooming/health/beauty items
- at least one nice dress (girls)
- exercise or athletic clothes and shoes
- umbrella & rain coat or jacket
- alarm clock or radio
- traditional wear from your country
- power converter if needed
- laptop computer
** The International Programs Office will take you out shopping after you arrive so that you can buy your own linens and anything else you did not want to carry in your suitcase.
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 not be able to present the documents at the port of entry. As a result, you may not be able to enter the United States. Do not pack the following documents in your baggage:
- Your passport, valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay
- SEVIS Form I-20.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you also hand carry the following documentation:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Evidence of student status, such as recent tuition receipts and transcripts
- Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee, Form I-797
- 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: http://www.educationusa.info/pages/students/travel.php.
**Students are required to 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 consequences: termination in SEVIS record and deportation.**
Report to the International Programs Office
The International Programs Office maintains international student files for all international students enrolled at Methodist University. You are required to bring the following documents issued to you within 72 hours of your arrival on campus:
- Your passport and your visa
- Your I-94 form (please print after entering the USA)
- Your I-20
- Medical form
Copies of these documents will be made for your file and the original will be returned to you. IPO is required by law to maintain the up-to-date information of international students. Therefore, you must update us if there are any changes.
SEVIS Check In
After the first day of classes, please report to IPO for mandatory SEVIS check in. Please bring with you:
- Proof of address in the USA if living off campus or know your residence hall and room number
- Student ID
- Foreign address (parents/relatives)
- U.S. phone number if you have one
- Emergency contact number: parents home, relatives, friend
- Class schedule. You must be registered for at least 12 day credits. Please print from the myMU Portal.
- Your Initial I-20
Once you have been registered in SEVIS, IPO will print you a new I-20 (CONTINUED ATTENDANCE) that will become your new legal document. If you fail to do the SEVIS check in within 30 days, your record will be terminated.