Your Student Visa

Below is some basic information that you need to know about your student visa while attending Presbyterian Pan American School.  For more detailed information, visit the Study in the States website.
1. What is a Visa?
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of entry and request permission from the U.S. immigration officer to enter the United States.  It does not guarantee entry into the U.S.
2. What type of Visa do I need to become an academic student in the United States?
Most non-U.S. citizens who wish to study in the United States will seek an F-1 (non-immigrant) student visa, but there are other visa types that are sometimes authorized for those who study in the U.S.
3. Key Points to Keep in Mind when applying for a Visa:
In order to apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, you must first have a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) generated document (either an I-20 or DS-2019) issued by an authorized U.S. academic institution or Department of State-designated sponsor organization.

You will be required to submit this form when you apply for a visa.  The U.S. academic institution or program sponsor will provide you with the appropriate SEVIS-generated form only when you have been academically admitted to the institution or accepted as a participant in an exchange program.

The institution or program sponsor will also send you additional information about applying for the appropriate visa, as well as other guidance about beginning your academic program in the United States.
4. Where can I find more information about the visa application process in my country?
Most of the procedures and requirements for applying for the various types of student visas, as well as for the Exchange Visitor visa, are standardized and are described at the website link provided on this page.
Some procedures vary from country to country, for example, how to pay the visa application processing fee and how to make an appointment for an interview.  For details on applying for a Student or Exchange Visitor visa in the country in which you are located, please visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you.  If you have specific questions about visas that are not answered by the embassy website, please contact the Study in the States advising center nearest you for individual guidance.
5. What is SEVIS?
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), administered by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is an Internet-based system that maintains data on foreign students and exchange visitors before and during their stay in the United States.  For more information about the SEVIS program, visit the ICE website.
6. What happens when I arrive in the United States?
U.S. immigration law governs the entry of all visitors to the United States, including students and exchange visitors.  It details what they are authorized to do during their stay in the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for ensuring that these visitors comply with U.S. law and regulations.  When you arrive in the United States, you, too, will come under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, and one of the three units within DHS responsible for non-U.S. citizens: the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection; the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bureau
7. What to Do When You Arrive at Pan American
Once you arrive on campus, you should report immediately to the Admissions Office who can help you with any questions or concerns you may have about immigration rules and regulations. Moreover, this office must report your arrival within the SEVIS system. If this report is not submitted, you may be considered to be in violation of your status in the United States, so be sure to make the Admissions' Office one of your first stops on campus.