Obtaining an F-1 Visa
How to obtain an F-1 visa in your home country, once you receive your new I-20:
- Review your I-20 for accuracy. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and dates are correct.
- Try to contact the nearest US Embassy in your hometown. U.S. Department of State or refer to an online Embassies and Consulate directory.
- Prepare another original bank statement to submit to the US embassy. This statement would be similar to the one submitted to obtain the I-20.
- When you apply for a student visa, prepare yourself for a brief interview by an embassy or consulate official. The typical interview time given to an applicant is anywhere between two to three minutes. The following are some of the questions you will be asked. You should be able to answer the questions in proper English promptly.
Why did you choose to study at Rio Salado?
What are you going to study at Rio Salado?
What are your academic and career plans?
When you are applying for an F-1 visa please keep the following in mind:
Students who show interest in finding a job and living in the US as long as possible, falsify information and/or documents, or show interest in permanently immigrating to the United States reduce their chances of obtaining the F-1 visa.
- Some non-immigrant visas cannot be changed to an F-1 status in the US
- If you enter the US with a Visa Waiver (no visa), you cannot apply for a change of status.
- If your current visa is already expired, we cannot assist you with the change of status.
- If you enter the US with a regular visitors visa (B1/B2), we cannot assist you with a change of status.
- We may advise you to seek assistance of the assistance of an immigration lawyer depending on your situations.
- Change of status is a time consuming process with no guarantee of approval. We highly advise all our prospective students to enter the US with a valid F-1 visa.
- If you do not have enough time to apply for an F-1 visa in your home country, you may request a B2 Prospective Student visa and apply for change of status to F-1 in the US
- Make sure your I-94 arrival/departure card states "Prospective Student" - (I-94 is a small white card you will get attached to your passport at the port of entry).
Keep in touch with our office
- If you are in the US and plan to travel outside the US before you start at Rio Salado College , please contact us at OIE@riomail.maricopa.edu before you travel. One week advance notice is recommended.
- If you are coming from overseas, please notify us at OIE@riomail.maricopa.edu about your visa status and arrival date.
Useful documents to bring with you:
- Official copy of transcripts from high school, colleges, or universities and course descriptions in English. If you plan to transfer to a 4-year university, bring 2 or more copies. Official copies should have school seal and/or official stamp.
- Official English translated copies of your transcripts, if necessary.
- Medical, dental and immunization records - if you had medical problems in the past or have allergic reactions to something, you should ask your physician to write down information about your conditions.
- Information about your medical conditions or treatments, prescriptions for medication from your physician.
- Birth certificate for your children, if applicable.
- Marriage certificate, if applicable.
- International driver's license, if applicable