Ask the Consul — July 2020

Question: I have been accepted to attend university in the United States. What are the next steps? Will I be able to get a visa appointment given the U.S. Embassy’s suspension of routine services?

Answer: Congratulations on your acceptance to attend university in the United States! It is important to celebrate such accomplishments, especially during challenging times.  While the U.S. Embassy suspended routine visa services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are exploring ways to efficiently serve our student applicants as soon as in-person appointments are possible again. Assuming you will be able to travel to the United States for the commencement of classes in August and September, you should start the application process for your non-immigrant student visa now. However, remember that students may not travel – and will not be admitted to the United States on their student visas – unless they are within 30 days of the start of classes.

The student visa application process remains the same. First, you must complete the electronic visa application form (DS-160 form) by visiting our website, tt.usembassy.gov. Then, you must pay the application fee at a local ScotiaBank branch. After that, when appointments become available, you may schedule an appointment and attend the visa interview. Please regularly check the online appointment system for open student visa appointments.

For your visa interview you must bring the following documents: your valid passport, DS-160 confirmation page, passport photo, I-20 form, and proof you paid the required Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee. As your university issues the I-20 and registers you in SEVIS, follow up with your university if you have questions about either. Both the I-20 and registration in SEVIS are required for all international students coming to the United States to study. Remember, you are required to pay the SEVIS fee before the visa may be issued.

During the interview, you will need to bring documents to show how you will finance your education. These include, but are not limited to, bank statements from family members, job letters from family members’ current employment, and scholarship or award letters. Be able to explain why your financial supporter is willing to help you. The Consular Officer must ensure you have sufficient funds to cover at least the first year of university and a viable plan for funding the full course of study.

During your interview, be prepared to talk about your program of study and plans after graduating. If approved, visa delivery will occur within 5-10 working days of your interview.

If you are interested in studying in the United States, the U.S. Embassy has many tools available to help you in your research, including our American Center and the EducationUSA website: www.educationusa.state.gov. You can make an appointment with our Education Advisor by emailing IRCPOS@state.gov.

Complete details about the non-immigrant visa application process are available online at trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com or by calling 868-235-4500, Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.