Charleston international student programs were established with the firm belief that varied histories, points-of-view, and experiences are vital to any successful educational environment. International students provide a dynamic blend of cultural connections and the historic city of Charleston is a fitting destination to extend America’s welcome.
USA Security Measures
Regardless of the warm embrace of the international community, Charleston international student programs are grounded in the realities of the world. The changing visa status in USA, resulting from the terrible acts of 9/11, has created a more demanding application process for prospective participants.
The Process for Changing Student Visa Status
To begin, international students in Charleston must be accepted to a registered institution. Upon acceptance, an I-20 visa application form will be sent to the applicant. This form is used along with the new visa, passport, and other credentials to gain entry into the United States.
Enrolling in a Full-Time Program of Study
Because of the changing visa status in USA, instructions for specific situations can be acquired from the United States Embassy or Consulate. A good example is the full-time student enrolled in academic or language studies who will need to be issued an F-1 visas. Students looking for practical instruction their countries lack will be issued J-1 visas. M-1 vocational visas are for those fulfilling established criteria while going to occupational colleges. In general approved applications take up to five weeks to receive a visa. For this reason it is recommended that students submit applications during early summer, ensuring ample time to reach their destinations for the fall semester.
Financial Independence and Support
Several documents are required to accompany the final visa application, to include proof of financial support. For individuals with dependent family members, specialized visas can be obtained for them as well. Sufficient proof of familial relationships must be provided in these cases, commonly in the form of marriage and birth certificates. Generally families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas together but should the need to apply separately arise, copies of the student’s passport, visa, and other required documents should be presented.
Student Visa Interview
An additional yet important step in the application process involves completing a visa interview. During the interview, it is vital for an applicant to display ties to their native country. Family, prospective jobs, or owned property are great ways to show consular officers the candidate’s desire to return to their countries upon completion of their educational programs. A clear explanation of why studying in the United States would be more beneficial will must also be presented. Interviews are short so concise, honest answers work very well.
Understanding Conditions and Requirements for Employment
There are a few challenging aspects of life for student visa holder’s in the United States. Early planning is essential when it comes to funding a candidate’s education and activities. F-1 student visas restrict the ability to work off-campus during their first year. On-campus employment, with a few conditions, is permissible however positions are of course limited. For those who complete their first year, three types of employment off-campus become available; Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT). The OPT is particularly recommended as it allows students the chance to work in the field one year after graduating.
Benefits of International Experience
Despite the extensive application process, those seeking education with Charleston’s international programs should always remember the end goal of their desires. Thousands of students every year, with the help of caring professionals and personal drive, navigate their way through the necessary bureaucracy and achieve unparalleled educational success.