Although you have been admitted to the University of Georgia, if you are coming from another country, the U.S. Embassy/Consulate makes the final decision in granting you a student visa.
Canadian citizens: A visa from a U.S. embassy is not required for Canadian citizens, so the information below regarding visa application requirements does not apply to Canadian citizens. Canadians, however, must still present a valid immigration and financial documents supporting their request for admission to the U.S. under a student visa status. If Canadian students enter the U.S. without presenting a SEVIS issued DS-2019 form or I-20 form, it is likely that they have enteres as a tourist and will not be allowed to study at UGA. If you are a Canadian citizen, please ensure that you present the correct documents at the U.S. port of entry, and that you are admitted in a valid students status - either F-1 or J-1.
The U.S. Department of State offers excellent advice and information on navigating through the student visa application process: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students
Where should I go?
The U.S. Embassy/Consulate closest to your home will process your visa application. You can find a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates on the U.S. State Department website: http://www.usembassy.gov/
When should I go?
Information on wait times for a visa appointment is available on the U.S. Dept. of State website: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students
Immediately after you receive your admissions and immigration documents you should make an appointment to apply for your student visa. Most offices Embassy/Consulate offices have specific hours to review non-immigrant visa applications. Most applicants will go to the Embassy/Consulate and have to wait in long lines. You should check with the U.S. consulate closest to your home for their application procedures. See above link fora list of Consulates.
- Most U.S. universities begin their academic year in August, so the summer months are a very busy time at the consulate office. Plan ahead so you can arrive in time for orientation and class
- Remember that U.S. consulate office will be closed for both U.S. and local holidays.
- Because delays are common at the consulate, arrange an interview long before the day you plan to travel to the U.S..
What should I take to the U.S. Consulate?
It is crucial that you take all the proper documents with you during your visa appointment. If you don't, you may be required to return for a second time, which may delay your visa for several weeks. The visa application form is now submitted online, but here are some additional common documents and forms required at most offices:
- visa application fee - amount will vary according to country
- immigration forms I-20 or DS-2019 provided by the University of Georgia (or sponsoring agency)
- Proof of I-901 SEVIS payment
- letter of admission from UGA
- copy of TOEFL score (for non native English speakers)
- proof of finances and/or assistance/scholarship (original bank documents and/or assistantship/scholarship letter)
- photographs for visa
- valid passport
- previous school transcripts, diplomas or records (not always required but you should be prepared to present them if requested)
- documents to support your non-immigrant intent (intent to return to your home country upon completing your studies.
What happens at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate?
You may be required to speak with a consular official that reviews many visa applications every day. The consular officer will quickly review your documents and ask about your plans of study. The officers will verify that you have the academic ability, English language skills, and financial resources t study at UGA. Since you are applying for a non-immigrant visa, the officer may require documentation of proof of intent to return to your home country. The officer will then give you instructions about when to return to pick up your documents and your visa or when to expect them in the amil. A few applicants may receive a required to submit additional information. For more specific information on the visa interview, please read the 10 Points to Remember when Applying for a Non immigrant Visa.