- Point Park will issue a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) upon receipt of the following:
About your F-1 Visa
- The I-20 must be presented along with your passport to the Consular Section of a U.S. Embassy or Consul to obtain a visa (F-1) necessary to study in the United States.
- You CANNOT study in the United States on a tourist visa.
- To retain your F1 Visit, you must:
- Be enrolled in a full course of study per academic term (12 credits undergraduate, 9 credits graduate),
- have a valid passport, and
- refrain from off-campus employment without permission from the ISSE Office and Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)
The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a web-based system for maintaining information on international students and exchange visitors in the United States. SEVIS is used to record and track all changes to student's academic and employment history.
Federal Law requires that Point Park University regularly enter data into SEVIS about all F-1 and J-1 students. Any changes in an F-1, J-1 or M-1 student's personal and academic status must be reported through the SEVIS system
$200 for F-1 and J-1 visa holders. Pay online now.
When is SEVIS Fee Payment Expected?
- The SEVIS fee must be paid before going to the U.S. embassy or consulate for their visa interview.
- Non-immigrants currently in the United States who apply for student or exchange visitor status must pay the fee prior to filing their change of status application.
- The SEVIS Fee must be paid before appearing at the port of entry if you are a citizen of:
- Bahamas, or
- Residents of certain other islands wishing to apply for F-1 or J-1 status at a port of entry
The interviewing consular/POE officer will confirm payment by accessing SEVIS. To allow for adequate processing time the fee must be paid at least three business days prior to the visa interview/POE appearance date.
Obtaining a Student Visa
- U.S. Consulates typically 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 Point Park).
- 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. Do not wait until the last minute.
- Some Consulates may require a 30-day waiting period to conduct a background check.
- 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. Check with your local consulate for visa application submission requirements.
Your Visa Application
What do visa officers look for when you apply for an F-1 student visa? There are several things:
Evidence of your ability and intention to be a full-time student at Point Park University which includes:
- Certificate of visa eligibility (the I-20 Form)
- Official acceptance letter from Point Park University
- Academic transcripts
- TOEFL/IELTS score reports, or other standardized test scores (SAT or ACT, GRE or GMAT).
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 Point Park in the major/department you indicated, they can reject your visa application.
Evidence of adequate financial resources to cover your studies and living expenses
without employment while in the United States. Evidence includes:
- Bank statements
- Scholarship award letters
- Sponsorship affidavits
- Past tax statements
Evidence that you intend to go to the U.S. only to study with no intention to immigrate. Evidence includes:
- Documentation of "strong ties" to your home country. Strong ties are things that bind you to your homeland: future job, family, financial prospects, property you may inherit, investments, etc.
Legitimate reasons for returning home after completion of studies.
Your Visa Interview
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:
- Come to the interview well groomed and dressed neatly (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. 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.
Possible questions asked by the visa officer
- What is/was your high school (secondary school) GPA (grade point average)?
- Graduate students: What is/was your university GPA?
- Did you apply to local universities? If not, why not?
- If yes, why aren't you going to a local university?
- How many U.S. schools did you apply to?
- How many U.S. schools accepted you?
- Why did you apply to Point Park?
- Did you do a lot of research about PPU? What is so good about PPU?
- Why did you choose Point Park? Name five things about it that made you decide to choose it.
- Why didn't you choose the other universities?
- What do you want to study? What's your major? Why did you choose it?
- What do you expect to gain from your education?
- What's the job scope (job market) for this major?
- Do you plan to stay in the U.S. after graduation and work?
- Would you like to stay in the U.S. after graduation in order to work?
- Do you have family in the U.S.?
- Do you have family members that studied in the U.S. and then returned to your home country?
- Does your family own any homes, businesses, or property in the U.S.?
- Does your family have any funds (bank accounts, money markets, stocks, etc.) in the U.S.?
- How do you and your family plan to finance your education in the U.S.?