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After you are accepted to Ozark Christian College, you need an F-1 Student Visa. We have included tips on how to be prepared for this task, but we also recommend that you visit the Study in the States website and U.S. State Department website for additional information. Understand that the details vary for each student. You must obtain accurate information, instructions, and forms for the specific U.S. consulate in your country. Please check for an official list of U.S. embassies and consulates in your country.
Typically, U.S. consulates allow students to apply for the F-1 student visa no sooner than 90 days before the "start date" indicated on the I-20 (a form you will receive from OCC). Issuance of the visa can take from one week to several months. May through August are the busiest months for student visas, so we recommend you begin the process as soon as you can. Some consulates may require a 30-day waiting period to conduct a background check. Do not wait until the last minute. Most U.S. consulates require that your passport be valid for at least six months after the date you plan to enter the U.S. Most U.S. consulates have very strict requirements about how you can submit your visa application. Some have a "drop box" some require that you mail the application, and some require that you use a visa service or travel agent.
What do visa officers look for when you apply for an F-1 student visa? There are several things to know:
Certificate of Visa Eligibility (the I-20 Form)
Official acceptance letter from Ozark Christian College
Academic transcripts (with high marks)
TOEFL score reports, or other standardized test scores (SAT, GRE, etc.).
The officer may also check to see if you are prepared to successfully complete your studies for the major to which you have been admitted. If they doubt that you will succeed at OCC in the major/department you indicated, they can reject your visa application.
Evidence that you intend to go to the U.S. only to study; certainty that you do not intend to immigrate to the U.S. This can be the most difficult requirement. U.S. consular visa officers are required by law to assume that you intend to immigrate to the U.S., and that, therefore, they should reject your visa application. You must show documentation of "strong ties" to your home country and legitimate, self-serving reasons to return home after graduation. "Strong ties" are things that bind you to your homeland: future job, family, financial prospects, property that you will inherit, investments, etc.
If you are required to have a personal interview, what can you expect? What kinds of questions might you be asked? Here are some tips and examples.
Things to do:
Come to the interview well-groomed and dressed neatly (but a suit or formal dress is not required).
Come to the interview prepared with all of the forms and documents as specified in the consulate's instructions. Have them organized neatly and logically.
Be prepared for quick, rapid-fire questions from the visa officer, and keep your answers short and direct.
Practice your conversational English. Speak clearly and with the appropriate volume.
Do not argue. Maintain a positive attitude. Be friendly and courteous.
Do not memorize your answers.
The interview will almost always be conducted in English and will be very short (probably 2-3 minutes).
Family members, friends, or representatives cannot attend the interview with you in most cases.
The visa officer will render his/her decision immediately when the interview is finished.