Non-immigrant students admitted to United States institutions of higher education must obtain certain documents prior to arriving at the University (see below). Additional information will be available to you during the MANDATORY orientation held for all new international students.
Certificate of Eligibility (I-20)
After you have been accepted and have submitted the required documents, you will receive a certificate of eligibility form I-20. The I-20 is necessary to apply for an F-1 student visa for entry to the United States.
The I-20 will indicate the latest date by which students should report to Southern Arkansas University, which is generally the last day of the registration.
- Student Visa (F-1)
- U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions in your country
- 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa
Students must submit the I-901 form and $200 SEVIS fee before applying for a visa. SEVIS fee is paid directly to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Therefore, we do not have any control over your SEVIS payment and we cannot refund or transfer your payment.
The U.S. Embassy will issue an F-1 student visa, which will be placed in your passport. You must have a valid U.S. F-1 visa in order to enter the United States. A visa is valid for a stated number of entries within a stated period of time. Please remember it may take a considerable amount of time to obtain this visa depending on what country you are from. So, give yourself plenty of time to obtain the F-1 student visa before you plan to come to the United States.
When you go through Customs you will receive a blue visa stamp in your passport. Likely close to your actual visa. It is important that you check this stamp before you leave customs. The officer should write “F1” for visa status and “D/S” under that which means Duration of Stay. If they write a date here or any other status you need to see a Customs Officer to get it changed.
I-94 Arrival/Departure Card
This is an electronic document that you automatically receive upon entry. It records when you enter and leave the US. After you arrive it is a good idea to review it to ensure your personal information and visa status information is correct.