Over the past decade, Shorelight advisors have worked with thousands of students to navigate the US visa process — and we’ve learned which strategies make the process simpler and less stressful. Here are five tips to help your students work toward getting their visas this year.
Get your students’ I-20 forms early. Review the required list of documents on your students’ offer letter or contact your regional Enrollment Services team for assistance.
Apply for visa interview appointments as soon as possible. Book interviews at embassies and consulates as soon as your students receive their I-20 form — and get the date locked in. Don’t delay; appointments fill up fast. (At publication time, some embassies showed earliest available appointment dates in June or even July.) Students who have a visa date in May are more likely to obtain a visa than those with interviews in July. Additionally, by being in a position to book travel earlier, they have a better chance of securing cheaper flights to the US.
Book whichever visa appointment date is available. Take the first appointment available, even if it is not necessarily the most convenient option. Remember: Students can always apply for an emergency slot or keep looking for earlier dates if the interview is scheduled too close to the program start date.
Prepare and practice for visa interviews. To set your students up for success, make sure they know what to expect during their visa interviews and take time to prepare in advance. Our Enrollment Services team is on hand to help with visa preparation sessions and mock interviews.
Pay tuition and fees. For students who are self-funded, paying fees prior to their visa appointment can help demonstrate intent to enroll and financial ability during the visa interview. Early payment shows a student’s dedication and their full commitment to their chosen university and field of study.
Need a little extra guidance helping your students with the visa application and interview process? We are here for you! Get in touch today and our advisors will follow up with next steps.