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Ask the Consul — July 2022
July 11, 2022


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Question: I have been accepted to attend university in the United States!  I am so excited.  What are the next steps?  I heard there are no appointments until 2023 and my classes start in August.


Congratulations on your acceptance – this is a huge accomplishment!  Every year the United States welcomes scores of overseas students.  You will also help share the culture and warmth of Trinidad and Tobago, which will benefit and culturally enrich your university.  We will work hard to get you to campus.

The university should have issued you an I-20 form, which is your official admission document and indicates your start date.  As soon as your I-20 form and supporting documents are ready, you can begin the visa application process.

First, you must complete the electronic visa application form (DS-160 form) and register for visa services online.  Visit the information and appointment website ais-usvisa-info.com for links to the application form and access to the fee payment slip.

Non-immigrant visa application fees are paid at local Scotiabank branches. When the payment is confirmed, schedule an appointment to appear for the interview.

If you receive an appointment date after your intended university start date, go ahead and still schedule the interview.  You will be able to submit an expedited appointment request online to request to move the appointment to an earlier date.

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’ employers, and scholarship or award letters.

You should be able to articulate why your financial supporter is willing to help pay for your studies.  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 7-10 working days of your interview.

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 these issues.  Both the I-20 and registration in SEVIS are required for all international students coming to the United States.  Remember that you are required to pay the SEVIS fee before the visa can be issued.

Please note 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.

Information on all visa services is available on the U.S. Embassy website: tt.usembassy.gov