When you leave your homeland, you become an alien in a foreign country. When this happens to the world's people, no matter what nations are involved, aliens are faced with controls, rules, regulations, and requirements, which they must meet.
Visas, passports, work permits, and all matters of vital importance in relation to the student's status with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service--must be in proper order at all times. United States Immigration policies are liberal and the requirements are simple and easily met.
EACH FOREIGN STUDENT IS ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, AND IRREVOCABLY RESPONSIBLE TO PERSONALLY INFORM HIMSELF OF THE REQUIREMENTS WHICH CONTROL HIS OWN VISA AND THE STATUS OF HIS PASSPORT. Full responsibility lies with each individual personally to meet those requirements.
NOTE: A STUDENT SHOULD NEVER INQUIRE AT THE LOCAL IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE OFFICE WITHOUT FIRST DISCUSSING THE MATTER WITH THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVISOR.
Requirements for Foreign Students
The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (hereafter referred to as the Immigration Service because the term Naturalization deals with the process of becoming a United States citizen) administer these requirements in the United States.
The Immigration Service's requirements for foreign students are really quite simple, but the terminology used to discuss immigration matters is often very confusing. It has a language all of its own. Everything will be much easier for you if you learn the terminology.
The following terms are related to Immigration Service forms:
1. I-20 Certificate of Eligibility
This form will be sent to you after you have satisfactorily proven your financial support for your studies at Wheaton (this is done with the Affidavit of Support, sent to you from Wheaton, as well as an Advance Deposit from your sponsor). Only when these criteria are met will the I-20 Certificate be released.
2. SEVIS I-901 Fee Receipt
This receipt will be sent to you with your I-20. It indicates that the amount of $200.00 has been paid on your behalf by the school to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You cannot make an appointment for an F-1 visa without this receipt. The $200.00 will be deducted from your student account at Wheaton.
3. F-1 Visa
A visa is a stamp in the student's passport. The majority of foreign students come into the United States on F-1 Visas. To obtain a visa to enter the US, you must present the I-20 Certification to the American Consulate in your country. Permission to enter is granted only at the point of entry. The visa indicates the latest date on which you may enter the country and how many entries you will be allowed. It does not indicate how long you will be permitted to stay. The Immigration Service official who examines your passport at your point of entry will determine this. (Please note: you may be asked to produce other documents by the consular official that will demonstrate that you have adequate financial support.)
4. I-94 Arrival and Departure Record
You will fill out this form on the airplane and it will be stamped later by the Immigration official at your port of entry and stapled into your passport. The I-94 form shows that you are lawfully admitted into the U.S. for a specific period of time. When you leave the U.S., you will be required to surrender the 1-94 form.
After you have been cleared through customs at your port of entry you should have the following documents in your possession:
- Your passport (valid for at least 6 months past the end of your studies) which contains an F-1 Visa Stamp from the American Consulate in your home country.
- An I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, completed by the official at the port of entry and stapled in your passport.
- The I-20 certificate which will be returned to you at your port of entry by the immigration official who checks you into the United States. This form becomes a permanent record of your time in the U.S. When you complete your educational program and return home, should you desire to return to the U.S. to pursue another degree, this form will be very important. Do not lose it. Failure to have this form will delay your entry into the U.S. in the future.
- If there are any irregularities in this procedure, notify the Foreign Student Advisor immediately upon arrival in Wheaton.
Health Requirements and Health Report
You will be informed of any health and immigration requirements when you apply for your visa. Wheaton College further requires, as a condition of enrollment, that all students have a Medical History and Health Evaluation Form completed by a physician and submitted to the College Health Service. You must comply with certain immunization requirements. If you do not do this before leaving home, you must be examined by a physician at your own expense after you arrive.
Learn more about health and medical information.
The United States, like all other countries in the world, has laws which govern employment of aliens. At the time of the original visa application, all international students are required to prove that they have sufficient funds to maintain themselves (and their families if the family is coming) during their period of study in this country.
The F-1 Visa allows students to be employed by the school which issued their Form 1-20 Certificate of Eligibility. This is referred to as on campus employment. However, your spouse and children do not have this privilege.
Learn more about employment under your F-1 Student visa.