MLC I-20 and F-1 Student Visa Application Process

Applying for an F-1 Student visa can feel confusing and complicated, but we are here to help!  We have explained each step of the process below, and listed advice to help you with your application process.

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    Step 1: Apply for the MLC and Request MLC I-20

    Submit the Online Application Form for Michigan Language Center’s Intensive English Program. You can see these Complete Instructions for Applying to MLC.

    After you have successfully submitted your complete application and paid the non-refundable application and registration fee, MLC will finish processing your Form I-20 within 2 business days and send it to you by your requested method (i.e. Express Mail, Office Pickup).

    IMPORTANT: These documents do NOT guarantee that you will receive an F-1 student visa. The officer at the U.S. Consulate will make the final decision whether or not to issue you the F-1 visa.

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    Step 2: Schedule the Visa Interview

    Go to the US Embassy website to find the U.S. Consulate’s office that is nearest to you. You should schedule your appointment 60 – 90 days before the program start date written on your I-20, if possible. For example, if your program start date is June 1, 2018, then you should try to schedule your appointment between March 1 to April 1, 2018.
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    Step 3: Prepare for the Visa Interview

    It is very important to complete the following steps as you prepare for your appointment at the U.S. Consulate:

    • Confirm that your I-20 document matches your name and date of birth.
    • Sign your Form I-20
    • Complete the Form DS-160 & pay the I-901 fee.
    • Prepare all of the essential paperwork listed below, and bring it with you to the visa interview:
      • Passport valid for at least 1 year
      • Form I-20 with your signature
      • Official MLC acceptance letter
      • Completed visa application (Form DS-160)
      • Two 2” x 2” photographs
      • Transcripts and/or diplomas
      • A receipt of your I-901 fee
      • Bank statements showing sufficient funds for tuition and living in the U.S.
      • If available, documents that show you will return home after completing your education, such as evidence of owning property, a business or home; or a letter from an employer saying that you will return to your job. It is important to show that you have ties to your home country and plan to return after you complete your studies in the U.S.

    Finally, here is a list of tips for your visa interview, and a video with useful instructions for applying for your student visa.

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    Step 4: Prepare for Arrival in the U.S. and the Customs Process

    Once you have received the F-1 Student Visa from the U.S. Consulate, please contact the MLC so that we can plan for your arrival. As you  prepare for your trip to the U.S, please see important guidelines below about entering the U.S and going through customs:

    When you arrive at the airport, you will go through customs. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will meet you, check your passport and documents in their computer database to make sure you are authorized to enter the U.S.

    1) Prepare the following documents to show to the CBP officer:

    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Arrival card (you will receive this and fill it out on the airplane before you arrive)
    • Admissions letter to MLC (and Pathway University, if applicable)

    2) Be prepared for the following procedures:

    • Please use the restroom before you enter the Customs line, since you might have to wait for a long time. If you leave the line in the middle of waiting, this could be seen as suspicious behavior by a CBP officer.
    • The CBP officer might request to search your luggage. Please make sure you do not have any illegal items (i.e. drugs, plants, fruits, animals). If you have prescription drugs, please bring a letter from a doctor that explains the medications and the medical condition they are used for.
    • The CBP officer might request to see your electronic devices, such as phone, laptop, tablet. Please make sure you have cleared any social media or internet browsing content that might seem inappropriate.

    When you speak to the CBP officer, be prepared to answer questions such as:

    • What is the purpose of your visit to the U.S.?
    • Where will you study?
    • How long will you stay in the U.S.?
    • How much money are you bringing?
    • How often do you come to the U.S?

Best wishes on your application process, and we hope to see you at the MLC in the near future!

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