F1/I-20 Visa Guidelines

For more information on becoming a student in America, you can visit these websites:

Step 1

To obtain an F1 VISA to enter the United States, a valid passport is required. (Valid for at least 6 months more after the presentation day)

Step 2

In order to receive a Tampa Language Center Acceptance Letter, you must submit the following documents:

  • Submit a completed application form (<--click here) by fax or email, or regular mail
  • Pay the I-20 application processing fee of $100.00 (non refundable). Please be aware that this fee is different from the registration fee. This can be paid by credit card, check, or wire transfer. This amount covers our administrative expenses.
  • Submit:
    • A current bank statement to cover tuition and living expenses for at least 3 months(1 quarter). Funds must show at least $6000.00 USD if you are single. OR
    • A notarized financial guarantee statement(<--click here) from your sponsor with a current financial statement and a picture ID of your sponsor.
  • Submit a copy of your valid passport (Valid for at least 6 months or more after the presentation day).

Once we have received, reviewed, and verified the submitted documents, we will issue a letter of acceptance and your I-20.

Step 3

To obtain your visa, you must apply for one at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence.

For initial admission, you must attend the school specified on your visa. If you have Form 1-20 a-B from more than one school, it is important to have the name of the school you intend to attend specified on your visa by presenting a Form 1-20 A-B from that school to the visa issuing consular officer, Failure to attend the specified school will result in the loss of your student status and subject you to deportation.

For the F-1 visa procedures and requirements, contact the U.S. Embassy in your country.

What to bring to your embassy Appointment

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future).
  • SEVIS INITIAL I-20 form - a student visa will not be issued unless a SEVIS I- 20 is presented at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • The prospective student must pay the SEVIS I-901 fee and print out the receipt to take with their visa application to the embassy.
    The I-901 fee ($200.00) can be paid online at https://www.fmjfee.com/i901fee/desktop/students/formSelection.htm. (An explanation of the I-901 fee and FAQ can be found at http://www.ice.gov/sevis/index.htm).
  • Your letter of acceptance from the Tampa Language Center.
  • Bank letter or letter of financial support verifying the funds to cover your expenses while you study in the United States.
  • A copy of the front page of the I-20 (including the I-20 of any dependents).
  • Check with your embassy because every country has different requirements.

Arriving in the United States

When you arrive in the United States, you need to present the following to the Immigration Officer:

  • Your passport
  • Sealed envelope with the SEVIS I-20 inside
  • Form I-94 "Arrival and Departure Record"( including length of stay and departure date)
Please be aware that United States Department of Homeland Security regulations state that holders of F-1 visa will not be admitted to USA until a date thirty days or less prior to the beginning of the program date, or start date, as given on your Form I-20. Please consider that date carefully when making your travel plans to the USA.

Students who enter the USA earlier than 30 days before his/her program begins may do so if they are also holders of a valid B2 (tourist) or B1/B2 (business/tourist) visa. Students who enter the USA on their B2 or B1/B2 visas cannot begin their programs in B status. Therefore, you must depart the USA and re-enter using your F-1 non-immigrant visa no more than thirty days before your program start date.

Maintaining your status in the United States

Upon entering the United States on an F-1 visa, you are granted F-1 status. In order to remain in status while you study at the Tampa Language Center, you must:

  • Attend classes on a full-time basis (20 hours per week)
  • Keep the I-20 valid
  • Pay course fees in full
  • If applying for an extension it must be done 30 days before your approved ending date

If you cannot complete the educational program after having been in student status for longer than the anticipated length of the program plus a grace period in a single educational level, or for more than eight consecutive years, you must apply for extension of stay. An application for extension of stay on form 1-538 should be filed with the Immigration and Naturalization Service district office having jurisdiction over your school at least 15 days but no more the 60 days before the expiration of your authorized stay.

  • Leave the U.S. within 60 days after completion of your program
  • Transfer to another school within 60 days after the completion of your program

A non-immigrant student is permitted to transfer to a different school provided the transfer procedure is followed. To transfer schools, you should first notify the school you are attending of the intent to transfer, then obtain a letter of acceptance and a transfer form from the school that you want to attend. You must finish your current program with Tampa Language Center before transferring.

Traveling outside of the United States

If you are planning to travel outside the United States while studying at the Tampa Language Center, an appointment must be made with the Principal Designated School Official to discuss travel arrangements. Your I-20 must be signed by your school in order to travel abroad.

Please note, your F-1 visa and passport must be valid in order to return to the U.S. If your visa has expired, you will need to renew it at the U.S. Embassy in your home country.
 
Other Resources:
 
*For more information please visit official website of the Department of Homeland Security:

www.uscis.gov

https://www.studyinstates.dhs.gov
 
*NAFSA: Association of International Educators

http://www.nafsa.org/regulatoryinformation/default...