- Frequently Asked Questions about Iranian Student Visa Changes
- When Can I apply for a Visa?
- Where do I Apply?
- What to Bring for the Visa interview?
- Financial and Bank Statement
- Do I Need English Proficiency Test Scores?
- Traveling With Family
- Working While You Study
- How Long Can I Stay in the United States?
- EducationUSA Iran Location
We have received many messages after announcing the recent changes to the U.S. Department of State’s policy toward Iranian student visas on our website. Thank you for contacting EducationUSA Iran with your inquiries!
Many of you have asked questions about whether your fields of study would fall into the sensitive or technical fields’ categories. Although we do not have a list of fields in these categories, the announcement indicated that fields related to proliferation are considered sensitive or technical.
Some of you are asking if single-entry student visas issued before the announcement are eligible for multiple-entry instead. Iranian students currently in the United States on three-month, single-entry visas must reapply for two-year, multiple entry visas outside of the United States. You will need to obtain a new I-20 form from your university and re-apply for your student visa at the closest U.S. consulate to you. If you would like your visa interview to be conducted in Persian, you may apply at the U.S. consulates in Dubai or Ankara. Keep in mind that the validity of a visa refers to the time period the visa holder has to enter the United States. It has no bearing on the length of stay permitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at the port of entry.
Iranian students and exchange visitors in good standing in the United States do not need to apply for a new visa until after they depart the United States. If you are planning on leaving the United States, you can reapply for a visa at that time; however, you will need to request a new visa interview. As there is no guaranteed outcome, be sure to take this into account by planning ample time to reapply.
For information about visas please go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Youcan apply for a student visa as soon as you receive your I-20 form, although the U.S. consulate or embassy where you apply will not issue you a visa more than 120 days before the start of your studies. First you’ll need to submit an application for the course you wish to study to the university (or universities) of your choice. Start as soon as possible by searching links that provide lists of accredited universities in the United States.
For step by step information on how to apply, please see: http://www.educationusairan.com/newsletter/vol3-1#steps
We advise that you apply for your visa as soon as possible after you receive your acceptance letter and I-20 form. Keep in mind that issuance of your student visa will be determined by a number of factors, including proof that you have ties outside of the U.S., enough funds to support your studies and intend to return to your home county after the completion of your studies. To find sample questions, please go to the following links: http://www.educationusairan.com/newsletter/vol1-4#interview
Currently there is no U.S. embassy or consulate in Iran. Iranians may request an appointment at any U.S embassy or consulate that issues visas, but for those who prefer to be interviewed in Persian, we suggest applying in Ankara or Dubai, which have Persian-speaking officers in the consular sections.
You should complete the DS-160 visa application on-line before your interview. Depending on where you apply, the U.S. consulate or embassy may require that you complete a visa application in order for you to schedule a visa interview appointment. Applications must be completed fully in English and signed with your name as it appears on your passport and other official English-language documents. Be sure to answer all questions on the forms or they may not be accepted—ask the consular office if you are not sure how to answer particular questions.
The following additional materials are also required—
I-20 or DS-2019. This is the form that you received from your university or your sponsoring agency confirming acceptance into their programs. If you have an I-20 form, be sure to fill in pages 2 and 5, sign page 2, and check that your date of expected arrival is still current before you take it to your interview. If you have a DS-2019 form, be sure to read page 2, check arrival date, and sign the bottom of page 1.
Passport. Make sure that this is valid for at least six months beyond your planned U.S. arrival date, as that is a requirement for issuing the visa. Longer is better, obviously—if your passport expires and you need to return home, you will need to renew your passport and apply for a new visa before reentering the United States.
Receipts for Fees. You need to pay a visa application fee and a SEVIS fee and possibly additional fees before the time of your visa interview.
Photo. It’s best to have this taken by a photographer/photo facility specifically as a passport photo as there are very specific formatting requirements (described below).
You may also need to bring supporting materials (described further below) to make your case to the consular officer that you should be awarded a student visa. To read more about types of visas, visa application forms, and SEVIS please go to: http://www.educationusairan.com/visas/qa-types
If you have received your I-20 form and your classes are starting soon, you may be able to request an emergency appointment and can find instruction for NIV Emergency visa appointment on the U.S. embassy in Ankara at: http://turkey.usembassy.gov/step_1.html
We receive many inquiries about scholarship opportunities and encourage you to apply for financial aid when applying to U.S. universities. The main source of funding for your studies outside your own resources is the university that you are applying to. It is important to have a back up plan and not solely rely on financial assistance from the school. The U.S. consular officer needs to be convinced that you are able to cover the costs of your first year study, including living expenses.
If your university will fund your studies, they will indicate that amount on the I-20 form. For students who are receiving partial scholarships, you are required to convince the consular officer that you have sufficient funds for your academic and living expenses, and would not be compelled to resort to unauthorized employment in the United States.
Some of you are asking if you can come to the United States and learn or improve your English. The answer is that you must prove you have a good understanding of English during your visa interview and at the port of entry when entering the United States. As for your visa interview, you should bring every document used for your application to the U.S. university, including your test scores. The consular officer may or may not want to see your TOEFL or IELTS scores; nonetheless, it is to your advantage to have these documents handy to show if needed to prevent delays. During a visa interview for a program of study requiring English-language fluency (as indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019), you’ll need to be able to communicate without a translator.
Family members planning to accompany you to the United States must apply for their own visas and can apply for a visa based on their legal relationship to you. You will have to prove your relationship to your dependent and only your spouse and children (under age 21) will qualify to accompany you. They would receive an F-2, J-2, or M-2 visa depending on whether you are awarded an F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa (the consular officer will make the decision depending on your type of academic program).
In a majority of cases, visas for dependents are issued when the primary applicant is able to demonstrate his or her seriousness as a student, financial resources to pay for his/her study/living expenses and those of the accompanying dependent(s), and intent to return to the home country after the course of study is completed.
To read more about accompanying dependents please see: http://www.educationusairan.com/newsletter/vol2-2#family
Visitors to the United States, including students, must receive official authorization before they can take any employment. On a student visa you may be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week and can only start working once your courses have started. International students are generally not allowed to work during their first academic year; however, some work/study programs are offered that will allow you to work on campus. Examples of such opportunities would be working at the campus library or a university office or as a research assistant to a professor. Under visa regulations, you’ll be allowed no more than 20 hours of work per week while attending classes; and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods. Some universities may offer paid internship programs or assist international students in finding such programs; however, unless these programs are a required part of your academic program, you can only take part after your first academic year of study.
The international student advisers at your U.S. college or university will be able to provide you with information on work options and campus resources to help you find work. Always talk with the adviser before accepting any employment opportunity as regulations can be complex and obeying them is important for remaining in good visa status.
EducationUSA Iran receives a number of questions regarding whether students can stay and work in the United States permanently after graduation. The answer is no. While you may be able to participate in optional practical training (OPT) in your field after graduation, student visas will only be awarded to individuals who are planning to return home after their study. If you have questions about immigrant visas, you can find a useful source at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/immigrants_1340.html
International students entering the United States with a student visa are allowed to remain in the U.S. for the amount of time indicated on the I-94 form that is received upon arrival at the port of entry to the United States. Students choosing to participate in OPT upon completion of their degrees, will be allowed to stay for an additional 12 to 24 months. For more information on student visas please go to: http://www.educationusairan.com/visas
Students often ask for a phone number or the physical EducationUSA center location in Iran. At this time, we only can provide virtual advising via our website, email and social media tools. If you live outside Iran, you may want to contact the EducationUSA center closest to you for information about studying in the United States. To locate EducationUSA advising centers go to: http://www.educationusa.info/centers.php
You may also find more information about visas at http://www.educationusairan.com/study-basics/visa-basics
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Good luck with your visa applications.
EducationUSA Iran Adviser