Newly Admitted Students
Applying For an F-1 Foreign Student Visa
United States visas are divided into two categories – immigrant and non-immigrant. You will be applying for a student visa, which is a non-immigrant visa.
To receive a student visa, you must convince United States government officials that you intend to return to your home country after completing your education. Be prepared with a short, clear answer that explains how getting an education in the United States will help you achieve your career goals when you return home. You may only have a minute or two to convince the immigration officer, so be ready!
Apply for a United States visa through your nearest United States embassy or consulate. Each embassy or consulate has different procedures for applying for a student visa. Check their web site for more information. Be sure to follow their instructions on how to apply for a student visa. Begin this process at the earliest date allowed. Find your embassy or consulate at: www.usembassy.gov.
The United States embassy or consulate in your country will have instructions for exactly what they need to see and exactly how your information must be submitted. These are some of the documents they may ask for:
- I-20 (F-1 students)
- Valid passport (good for at least one year)
- Proof of finances
- Transcripts of prior educational institutions
- Proof of English proficiency
- SEVIS I-901 application fee receipt (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System [SEVIS])
- Embassy or consulate visa processing fee
- Statement from local police department indicating no arrests or convictions
- Medical statement from your doctor
Before your visa interview, be sure to pay the SEVIS I-901 application fee. You must take your receipt to your appointment. More information is available at: www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/.
Entering the United States
Prior to traveling from your home country to the United States, it is important that you prepare for your inspection at the port of entry (first place of arrival in the United States). All of the information compiled regarding what you can expect upon arriving at a United States port of entry comes directly from the Customs and Border Protection website.
Upon your arrival, an immigration official from United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will review a variety of your immigration documents before allowing you to officially enter the United States. This official must be satisfied that you intend to attend the school specified on your F-1 and/or Form I-20. The immigration official will inspect the documents you present to ensure their authenticity. Many airports record the fingerprints of international students. This is a standard United States security procedure. After going through immigration, you will collect your suitcases and take your luggage through customs. Customs officials will ask about the contents of your luggage. They may open your suitcases. Do not bring fruits, vegetables, meat, or other fresh foods into the United States.
Orientation is a resource for incoming international students and will introduce you to Becker College and Massachusetts. As an international student, you are required by the United States Department of Homeland Security to report to the Office of International Student Services prior to the beginning of your academic program.
New students are required to attend check-in, the international orientation program, and new student orientation. Returning students are required to attend mandatory check-in and are welcome to attend the international orientation program.
You are required to attend both check-in and attend international orientation. If you do not, you will be in violation of your visa status.
Please bring the following required documents to check-in:
- Current Passport
- Current United States Visa
- I-94 Card
- I-20 Form
- If transferring from another school in the United States, all previously issued I-20 forms
- I-20(s) of dependents, if applicable
A detailed schedule of international orientation is posted each August.
Massachusetts state law and United States federal law require all international students to enroll in a health insurance plan that meets strict minimum requirements. International students are required to purchase Becker College Student Health Insurance and are automatically enrolled in the comprehensive plan. The fee will be charged to your Becker student account. Very few exceptions are made to this automatic enrollment policy; the only exceptions considered are for international students who are:
- Fully financially sponsored (including tuition, living expenses, medical expenses, etc.) by a government sponsor.
- Fully financially sponsored (including tuition, living expenses, medical expenses, etc.) by a select international organization.
- Covered as a dependent of a United States-based employee under United States -based health insurance provided through that employment.
Please note that the online waiver must be submitted by September 6, 2013, for the fall term. The online waiver can be found at www.universityhealthplans.com.
All NEW international Becker College students who have lived in or travelled to one of the countries indicated on Page 5 of the Student Health Record must provide Becker College Student Health Services with proof of a negative tuberculosis skin test (PPD) done within 30 days before their arrival to the United States. Students that have a history of a positive tuberculosis skin test are required to provide a copy of a negative chest x-ray report to Becker College Student Health Services within 30 days before their arrival at Becker College.
Returning international students who have travelled to their country of origin or any country indicated on Page 5 of the Student Health Record for a period of time greater than one month are required to have a NEW Tuberculosis skin test (PPD) or a NEW chest x-ray (if PPD skin test is/was positive). PPD skin test results and/or chest x-ray reports must be on file with Becker College Student Health Services 30 days before their return to Becker College.