If you have any questions regarding the international student admission process, please contact our International Student Office at 213-947-3611 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program that administers the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It ensures that government agencies have essential data related to nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors to preserve national security. SEVP provides approval and oversight to schools authorized to enroll F and M nonimmigrant students and gives guidance to both schools and students about the requirements for maintaining their status.
Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
SEVIS is a web-based system for maintaining information on international nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors in the United States. It is the core technology for the DHS in this critical mission. SEVIS implements Section 641 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which requires DHS to collect current information from nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors continually during their course of stay in the United States. International University of the East (IUE) has been participating in SEVIS since March 27, 2017. SEVIS school Code: LOS214F55217000.
SEVIS I-901 Fee
In 2004, Congress mandated all international students and exchange visitors must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, which funds the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and SEVIS. This fee is separate from visa fees and school SEVIS administration fees.
All international students applying for an F-1 visa must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee which will “activate” the Form I-20. Once you receive your Form I-20, pay the fee online and take the receipt with you to your visa interview.
How to Pay for I-901 Fee
1. Have your Form I-20 ready.
2. Open the SEVIS I-901 Processing website at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp.
3. Click the first box stating, “I-901 Fee Payment.”
4. The Applicant Validation page will appear. Fill out each section EXACTLY THE WAY IT IS WRITTEN ON YOUR I-20 FORM.
5. Your SEVIS ID# is located at the top right-hand corner above the barcode and will begin with N00___________.
6. Press Submit and follow the remaining steps prompted by the site.
Effective July 31, 2013, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will no longer mail I-797C receipts. The payment confirmation that can be printed from the FMJFEE website will replace the I-797C mailed receipt. The payment confirmation can be printed anytime at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.jsp. Once on the page, click on the second box stating “Check Status.” After entering your SEVIS ID, Last Name, and Date of Birth you will be able to print your payment confirmation.
Five Issues with the Visa Interview
The questions you will be asked in your interview will be used to determine the following key issues:
1. Whether the sole purpose of your travel is to pursue a program of study.
2. Whether you have the ability and intention to be a full-time student in the U.S.
3. Whether you possess adequate funds to cover all tuition, living and anticipated incidental expenses without taking unauthorized employment.
4. Whether you have sufficiently strong social, economic, and other “ties” to your home country to compel your departure from the U.S. upon completion of the planned program of studies.
5. Whether you are telling the truth.
The Visa Officer simply needs to be able to say “Yes” to these five questions to provide you a student visa. Your job is to provide accurate information to the officer to say “Yes.”
Ten Points to Remember with the Visa Interview
The following ten points are from Gerald A. Wunsch and Martha Wailes and are reprinted from the website of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Carefully read all of these points before applying for your student visa.
1. Ties to home country — Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the USA. Ties to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter, which can guarantee visa issuance.
2. English — Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview.
3. Speak for yourself — Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf.
4. Know the program and how it fits into your career plans — If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the USA relates to your future professional career when you return home.
5. Be concise — Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute or two of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the visa officer short and to the point.
6. Supplemental documentation — It should be clear at a glance to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2–3 minutes of interview time, if you’re lucky.
7. Not all countries are equal — Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the USA.
8. Employment — Your main purpose of coming to the USA should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
9. Dependents remaining at home — If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family members will need you to remit money from the USA in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
10. Maintain a positive attitude — Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
Upon Arrival into the United States
U.S. immigration regulations state that new students entering on an F-1 student visa will only be eligible to enter the U.S. 30 calendar days or less prior to the beginning of the program start date, as stated on the Form I-20.
Most new international students generally arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), about a 45-minute drive from IUE. For most students, it will be their Port of Entry (POE), the first entry point into the U.S. as a legal non-immigrant. Please find below a guide on procedures on the aircraft, customs at the POE, and baggage claim.
On the aircraft, prior to landing, the flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms and U.S. Customs and Border Protection forms. One important form is the I-94 arrival/departure document.
Important reminders when filling out I-94 document:
1. Print clearly, with one letter in each space
2. Date of Birth is in order of MONTH, DAY, YEAR
3. Any mistakes will result in a correction procedure that is quite time consuming. Minor mistakes can cause major delays with certain applications that may be filed upon arriving on campus so please be attentive and careful when filling out the I-94 document.
Upon arrival, students will present their:
1. Passport and Visa
3. I-94 document
All newly admitted F-1 students must check-in in-person with IUE’s Designated School Official (DSO) within 10 days of arrival to the U.S or before the program start date. Failure to check-in in-person with IUE’s DSO will result in the termination of your SEVIS record.