Applying for Student Visa

What is needed to apply for a student visa?

Applicants for a student visa must provide:

  • The I-20 form sent to you in this package by Dowling College. The form must be signed by you at the bottom of page 1, section 11.
  • Your letter of acceptance to Dowling College, also in this package.
  • A completed non-immigrant visa application form (DS-156) with a passport photo for each person applying. A separate form is needed for children. These forms are available at the embassy at no charge or can be filled out online at:
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months after the program start date stated on your I-20.
  • A receipt for the SEVIS processing fee.

Applicants should also be prepared to provide (as appropriate):

  • Transcripts and diplomas from any previous institutions attended.
  • Financial evidence that proves you (or your parents) have adequate funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your stay. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bankbooks and/or statements. If you or your sponsor owns a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents as well as original bankbooks and/or statements. Your bank statement must be less than 6 months old!
  • Test scores from standardized tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, etc.

Important tips for the consular interview:

  • Keep a positive attitude; be prepared; be brief; answer questions directly and to the point.
  • Consuls are impersonal when administering laws. In the US, laws are applied equally to all people regardless of status or gender. Do not try to negotiate or discuss personal matters with the consul.
  • US Government officials like documents. You must provide evidence to prove why you are qualified for a student visa; therefore, bring only original, official/certified documentation.
  • The person who decides whether or not to give you a student visa to come to the US is the consul. The consul must, by US law, have you prove that you are planning to come home after your studies are complete, so it is up to you to convince the consul that you plan to return home after your studies in the US. Do not be upset or take it personally if the consul asks you about this! Student visas are only given to persons who can convince the consul that they intend to return permanently to their home country. THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR VISA DENIAL!

Be ready to clearly explain why you want to come to the US to study at Dowling College:

  • Why do you want to study in the US?
  • Why are you going to take this program of study?
  • Why did you choose Dowling College?
  • What career (in your home country) will your studies prepare you for?

Present evidence concerning your educational qualification for admission to Dowling College and the original copies of the financial documents you gave us. Your documents must match what appears on your Form I-20.

Prove that you have a permanent residence in your home country that you do not intend to abandon by taking a photocopy of a deed or lease to your home. If your family owns a business, take a letter from the bank describing it. If they own property, take the deeds.

If you have traveled to the US in the past, emphasize that you have returned home after each trip! If you have a brother or a sister who studied in the US and then returned home, take a copy of his or her diploma and a statement from his or her employer. If your program of study is in great demand in your country, get letters from a possible employer stating that they are interested in hiring people with degrees like the one you will get at Dowling College.

Practice your English. Unless you are going to study English on campus and it appears on your Form I-20 in item number 6, you are expected to be able to speak it. Also, show your TOEFL or IELTS score. The consul may ask you to read from a US newspaper or discuss the information stated on your I-20.

Do not talk about working in the US. You are required to prove that you already have support for the costs of studying and living in the US. Employment is strictly controlled by US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS).