U.S. Department of State Tips for Foreign Students

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a message of encouragement, with helpful information and advice for students who intend to study in the United States for the 2012-13 academic year. Summarized here for our readers are tips that were shared by the DOS.

Majority of Student Visas Approved

The DOS encourages potential students to prepare for the necessary visa appointments and provides some interesting statistics regarding approval rates of student visas for academic and vocational students, and exchange visitors. The DOS reports approvals of 780,000 student and exchange visitor visas, representing an 86 percent approval rate.

There is concern among universities, academic institutions, and the general public in other countries that the United States is not welcoming to foreign students. The DOS is responding to such concerns with helpful statistics.

Analysis of DOS Statistics

Although helpful, there appear to be some flaws in the statistics the DOS is using to encourage students to apply to U.S. academic institutions. It is noteworthy that these favorable statistics do not differentiate between first-time student or exchange visitor visa applications and visa renewals. Additionally, the visa application process at the U.S. consulates abroad should not be confused with the change of status application used by individuals seeking to change to F-1, M-1, or J-1 status within the United States. The statistics provided are quite promising overall, and provide hope to those who have been accepted into U.S. colleges, universities, vocational programs, and exchange student programs.

Must Apply Early for Student Visas: Up to 120 Days

The DOS reminds potential students that, while they cannot enter the United States earlier than 30 days prior to the start of their programs, they can apply for their visas up to 120 days in advance. This allows sufficient time for any requests for more information or other potential delays in the process. Earlier visa approvals also enable students to focus on preparation for their departures to the United States, rather than the lingering uncertainty of their visa issuance.

DOS, DHS/ ICE WebSites: Valuable Resources

Students are urged to stay informed through the information provided on the DOS WebSite, which provides information about requirements for students, as well as visa application procedures at the appropriate embassies and consulates.

In addition, there is a wealth of information for students and potential students on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) WebSite, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Study in the States WebSite.

MurthyDotCom is a Valuable WebSite for Students

MurthyDotCom has extensive information to help students who intend to study in the United States. We provide NewsBriefs, InfoArticles, and many online services, including podcasts and teleconferences, as a free service to the immigrant community. Attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm are available to consult with students on particular matters. They also regularly assist students and recent graduates with their immigration options.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.