Student Visa Information

Understanding F and J Visas

F-1 Student Visa & Form I-20

The F-1 student visa is the most common student visa type and is issued to students who are admitted to a full-time academic or language program. Concord University only offers the F-1 student visa and Form I-20 for undergraduate students. The Office of International Admissions issues Form I-20’s to admitted students who have been able to show adequate financial support.

Once students receive their Form I-20, they can apply for the F-1 Visa at a US embassy/consulate in their home country.

Financial Support

Admitted students must provide a bank statement or official letter showing at least $32,000 USD in liquid assets (savings account, retirement savings, etc.). Financial documents must be no older than 6 months, prior to the start of school. Only original documents will be accepted.

Outline of Costs for 2024 – 2025

Tuition & Fees $20,700
Room & Board $11,200
Misc. (Insurance, Transport, Books, etc.) $4,500
Total $36,400

J-1 Student Visa & DS-2019

The J-1 student visa is an exchange visitor visa issued to undergraduate and language program students participating in an approved program. In order to apply for the J-1 student visa, students must first receive their DS-2019 from the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

  1. Receive the F-1 I-20 or J-1 DS-2019.
  2. Pay mandatory SEVIS I-901 Fee – every international student or exchange visitor who is starting an “initial” program of study is required to pay the fee. Print fee payment receipt to present at the visa interview and US Port of Entry.
  3. Complete the DS-160 visa application.
  4. Schedule and complete visa interview at US embassy/consulate.
  5. Arrive at a US airport and clear customs at US Port of Entry with the following documents (do not pack in luggage) – Original I-20/DS-2019, Valid Passport, F-1/J-1 student visa stamp in passport, SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt, & Financial Documentation

Here are some interviewing techniques suggested by NAFSA: Association of International Educators:

  • Be brief – It is important to understand that interviews are typically about five minutes in length; because of this, it is best to keep answers and explanations short and to the point.
  • Speak in English – Practice interviewing in English with a native English speaker – being fluent and confident will help present the case. However, avoid preparing a speech.
  • Speak for yourself – Make the case independently. Having parents or others speak on a student’s behalf does not make a good impression on the consular officer.
  • Be positive – Do not argue with the consular officer or come across as rude and sarcastic, even if the visa application is denied.

Showing Ties to Home Country

Occasionally students have been denied visas due to the consular officer not being sufficiently convinced of the students’ intentions to return to their home country after completing their studies.

This is based on Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that states: “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a non immigrant status…”

This means that international students must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, a “permanent residence” or “strong ties” to his or her home country, illustrating that they do not intend to immigrate or obtain residency/citizenship in the US. Fortunately, a visa denial is not permanent and can be reversed, if the student can show new, irrefutable evidence.

Here are some tips to demonstrate strong ties to home country:

  • Convince the consular officer that the sole (not just “primary”) purpose of the visit to the US is to pursue a program of study
  • Outline post-graduation plans upon returning to home country
  • Document family ties, business interests and assets in home country
  • Discuss job prospects in home country upon completion of US education
  • Student’s current institution must release the SEVIS record to Concord University. Some schools may require using the F-1 Transfer Form.
  • Please make sure that the transfer I-20 issued by Concord University indicates the notation “transfer pending from (name of previous institution)” in line #3 of page 1