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Visa Application

 

You must have a student visa before entering the United States.

To get a student visa, first you have to meet the eligibility for Undergraduate Admissions, apply for NMSU, submit required documents, and be admitted by NMSU with a Letter of Admission. The Letter of Admission is required for the visa application. See "Application Steps" for Undergraduate Admissions or Graduate Admissions for more details.

For Canadian or Bermudian citizens only: Although you do not require a visa to attend NMSU, you are still required to have an I-20 or DS-2019 form and pay the SEVIS fee before entering the U.S.

Already have a Letter of Admission from NMSU? Then let's start the visa procedure.

To study at NMSU, you have to get an F-1 or J-1 visa.

If you have a letter of acceptance to NMSU, visit the homepage of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you live to schedule a visa appointment. The webpage usually has an explanation of student visa procedures in your native language.

Student Visa Procedures Checklist

 

Please follow the checklist below to learn about immigration procedures and how to obtain an F-1 or J-1 student visa. Start gathering the required documents for your student visa application the moment you apply to your program. See list of required documents in Step 8: "Prepare for Visa Interview" below.

You will need Form I-20 from NMSU to proceed your student F-1 visa procedures or Form DS-2019 for J-1 visa procedures. See Financial Requirements for I-20 page for minimum amount required.

To get Form I-20 or DS-2019, you will need to provide NMSU:

1. Evidence of sufficient funds available for your studies

    Proof of financials, including bank statements and/or assistantship offer letter, is used to check if a student has enough financial resources to afford the cost of education in the U.S. Hence, the school's international office needs the financial proof to issue an I-20.
    The bank statements (and/or assistantship offer letter if you are a graduate student – if applicable) must be dated within the past four months and be on official bank letterhead (or assistantship offer letter – if applicable). If the bank statement is not in English, it will need to be translated and notarized. **Only bank statements from a checking or savings account will be accepted.**
    If you are NOT the account holder of the bank statement, Affidavit of Support must be completed and signed by the account holder. Click the red button below to access the Affidavit of Support form. If the bank statement is on the name of a company having multiple partners, then all the company holders must give in writing that they will sponsor the student. If the company has a sole proprietor, then the account holder must indicate in writing that it is a sole-proprietor proprietor and will sponsor the student.
    Note that if you are bringing dependents, you will need additional $4,000 for your spouse and $2,500 for each child. Children must be under 21 years old to be eligible for Form I-20 or DS-2019.

Affidavit of Support Form

2. Copy of your passport

    Your passport should be valid for at least six months prior to your date of entry to the U.S. Copy the biographical page of your passport. If you are bringing dependents, provide copies of their passports as well.

3. City of Birth confirmation

    In your email to ISSS, kindly indicate your City of Birth. If you have dependents, provide the City of Birth of each individual.

Please submit these documents to isss@nmsu.edu. NMSU cannot process the SEVIS Form I -20 (request form for F-1 visa) or Form DS-2019 (request form for J-1 visa) without submission of your financials and valid passport copy.

Once you are accepted to NMSU and submit proof of finances and passport copy, NMSU will process your I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status”, for F-1 students. For J-1 students, you will receive Form DS-2019 from NMSU. Due to the ongoing pandemic SEVP has identified methods to sign and send the Form i-20 temporarily for Fall 2020. Here is the link to the regulation: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2020/04/dsos-read-these-tips-for-electronically-signing-forms-i-20

Once your I-20 or DS 2019 has been processed, ISSS will email you the confirming the issuance of I-20 or DS 2019 by giving you SEVIS # and shipping information, so you can setup an appointment for visa interview.

If you are already studying in the U.S. with a valid I-20 or DS-2019, please inform us (isss@nmsu.edu). You will need to have your SEVIS record transferred to NMSU by following the Transfer SEVIS Form I-20/DS-2019 steps.

  • Print the SEVIS Transfer Eligibility Form and Admission letter and submit it to your current school DSO informing them of your admission at NMSU.
  • ISSS will email you to confirm the issuance of I-20 by providing your SEVIS # and shipping information so that you can setup shipping.
  • If you are going to travel outside the U.S. before your studies at NMSU, you will need to re-enter the United States with the NMSU I-20 or DS-2019. Make sure your student visa and passport still have validity for 6 months. You can contact us (isss@nmsu.edu) to make arrangements to receive the I-20 before leaving the U.S. Present the NMSU I-20 at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Review and ensure that all information on the form is correct (all spellings, dates, country of birth and citizenship, academic program, degree level, and financial information). If there are any mistakes, please contact us (isss@nmsu.edu) immediately to have the information corrected.

Make note of the following information of the SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019:

  • Your SEVIS Identification Number (SEVIS ID) is on the top left side of the Form I-20 or on the top right corner of DS-2019 (N00xxxxxxxx). You will need this number to pay the SEVIS fee (See Step 5) and visa application fee (See Step 7).
  • F-1 students will be permitted to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to their Program Start Date listed on the I-20. J-1 students will be permitted to enter the U.S. 30 days prior to their Program Start Date listed on DS-2019. Please note that if you enter the U.S. after the report date, you may encounter difficulty with immigration officials at the Port of Entry

Upon the processing of I-20 or DS-2019 by ISSS, an ISSS staff will email you the SEVIS ID # and school code to pay SEVIS Form I-901 fee. You must pay the SEVIS fee and have a receipt at least three business days prior to applying for a student visa. You can pay your fee at FMJFee.com. Be sure to write your name as it appears on your I-20 or DS-2019. The SEVIS fee is $350 for F-1 students and $220 for J-1 students. For more information, view the I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Video. SEVIS fee is not required for F-2 or J-2 dependents.

Each U.S. embassy/consulate sets its own timeline for accepting and processing student visa applications, as well as local procedures and instructions like how to make an interview appointment. It is highly recommended that you research visa appointment wait times and any additional local procedures on the U.S. Embassy and Consulate websites as there are several steps to apply for a visa, and the order of these steps and how to complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If the embassy/consulate says apply “at least” 60 days before your program departure, this means no fewer than 60 days. To avoid problems, submit your visa application at the earliest date the consulate will accept it.

In limited cases, students or exchange visitors who are within 60 days of their start date may qualify for Expedited Appointment depending on the US Embassy or Consulate. Visit specific US Embassy or Consulate website for more details on how to apply for Expedited Appointments.

Please read information about nonimmigrant visa application fees.

Applicants must pay these fees as directed prior to their visa interview, and they must bring the receipt to their interview. See country-specific instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website. Depending on your nationality, you may also need to pay a visa issuance. See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html.

IMPORTANT: Read through all information provided online by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you will be visiting for any additional unique requirements and instructions.

At your interview you will need to provide:

  • Confirmation page with the barcode for Form DS-160 application
  • NMSU Letter of Admission
  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 
  • Passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the U.S.
  • One 2×2 inch photograph of yourself. See Photo Requirements.
  • A receipt of your SEVIS form I-901 fee (See Step 5)
  • A receipt of your visa application fee(s)—pay before your appointment (See Step 7)
  • Original financial evidence, such as bank statements, Affidavit of Support, scholarship award letter, and/or assistantship offer letter, etc.
  • Transcripts or diplomas from previous schools
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the college, including the TOEFL or IELTS
  • Proof of strong ties with your home country. You can establish that you would return to your home country by explaining how the courses you complete in the U.S. would benefit you in your home countries, like starting businesses or getting better jobs

 

Student Visa Tips and Information


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SEVIS stands for Student and Exchange Visitor Information System used by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Learn more about SEVIS on https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/site/about-sevis.

  • Letter of Admission
  • Financial Guarantee (Bank Statement and/or Assistantship Offer Letter - if any. See Financial Requirements for I-20 page for more details.)
  • Passport Copy
  • Name of City of Birth

If you intend to bring your spouse and minor children (children must be under 21 years old) to the U.S. for the duration of your study, your dependents must apply for F-2 or J-2 visas. ISSS will need additional proof of funding (a bank statement with $4000 for spouse and $2,500 for each child - on top of your own funding). See "Financial Requirements for I-20" for more information. The dependents will need to submit:

  • Financial Guarantee (Bank Statement - See Financial Requirements for I-20 page for more details.)
  • Passport Copy
  • Name of City of Birth
  • Marriage certificate for spouse (If the marriage certificate is not in English, it must be translated and notarized)

After receiving and reviewing the I-20 documents above, ISSS will issue Form I-20 for each dependent, which is required to apply for their visas. Make sure to bring proof of relationship to the visa appointment. SEVIS fee payment is not required for dependents.

Each Embassy or Consulate has its own visa processing time, which will depend on many factors. View Visa Appointment Wait Times and explanations for your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please note that "Wait Times for a Nonimmigrant Visa to be Processed" does not include administrative processing time nor the time required to return the passport to visa applicants.

Always be honest and professional during your visa interview. Do not make final plans or buy tickets until you have been issued a visa. See 10 Helpful Tips from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.