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Immigration and Visa Information for Prospective Students

No matter where you are in the application process, you may have questions about immigration and visas. We have some answers for you!

Am I an international student?

To determine if you are an international student, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I a U.S. citizen?
  • Am I a U.S. permanent resident?
  • Am I in the last stage of becoming a U.S. permanent resident (Adjustment of Status, Form I-485)?

If your answer to all of these questions is NO, then you are an international student.

Coming from Canada?

Even though Canadian students don’t need visas to enter the U.S., they are international students and must also follow U.S. immigration regulations.

What do I need to do to come to the U.S.?

To come to the U.S. to study, you will need to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The visa will be stamped in your passport and include information such as your name, date of birth, gender, citizenship, passport number, etc.

Most international students come to the U.S. on F-1 visas. However, there are some other visa categories that permit studying (e.g., J-1, H-1B, H-4, L-2, E-2, etc.), so some of you may have a different type of visa. Usually, this is because you, your spouse or your parents are working in the U.S.

You cannot study for a degree in the U.S. on an F-2 visa, tourist (B-1/2) visa or on the Visa Waiver Program.

Know Your Visa Status

Your visa category will determine many aspects of your life in the U.S. (e.g., your studies, employment, vacation, travel). While most students will have to follow F-1 immigration regulations, some will follow other regulations.

What if I am already in the U.S. on a student visa?

If you are already in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, you can study at UB on the same visa. In addition, it may be possible to transfer your SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) record from your current school to UB. The Office of International Admissions will advise you if that is possible and how to do it.

What are the steps to obtaining a student visa?

Before applying for a student visa, you will need to do the following:

  • Apply to UB.
  • Receive acceptance letter from UB.
  • Obtain Form I-20 (or DS-2019 for J-1 students) from UB.
  • Find the U.S. embassy or consulate closest to your home.
  • Visit the U.S. embassy or consulate’s website to find out how to apply for a student visa (e.g., required documents and fees).
  • Make a visa appointment at the U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • Prepare all the documents required for your visa interview.
  • Attend your visa interview.

 More detailed information about applying for a student visa

How long will it take to get a student visa?

June, July and August are the busiest months in most U.S. consulates, so interview appointments may be difficult to obtain during that period. Please plan ahead and find out the wait times for visas at your local U.S. consulate.

Still have questions?

Contact us. We will be happy to help answer any questions you might have about Immigration and Visas.