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Ask the Consul — November 2023
November 8, 2023

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Question: I am a Form 4 student hoping to study in the United States. I already have a U.S. tourist visa; will I need to have this visa changed?

Answer: YES. Students who wish to study in the United States must apply for and be issued a student visa.

Once you have been accepted to study at a school in the U.S., you may apply for a student visa.

First, complete the DS-160 visa application form online at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and register at our official appointment website https://ais.usvisa-info.com/. After completing the application, you pay the application fee at a local Scotiabank branch. You cannot make payments online. Once payment is made, schedule an appointment and attend the visa interview.  The Consular Section provides student visa appointment slots on most workdays to facilitate new and returning students.

When you come in for your visa interview, bring the following documents:

  • valid passport,
  • DS-160 confirmation page,
  • a recent passport size photo,
  • the I-20 form provided by the school,
  • proof of payment of the required Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee.

Schools issue the I-20 and will register you in SEVIS.   Follow up with your school if you have questions about either. Both are required for all international students studying in the United States.

Visit www.ice/gov/sevis/students for details on submitting the SEVIS fee and information on your responsibilities once you enter the United States as a student.

You will need to show how you will finance your education. You should be able to explain why your financial supporter is willing to help you, along with evidence of sufficient funds to cover the first year of study.  Generally, this can be demonstrated through letters of financial support, bank statements from your financial supporter, job letters from your financial supporter’s employer, including their salary, and scholarship information.

During your interview, be prepared to talk about your program of study and plans after graduating. If your request for a student visa is approved, visa delivery will occur within 7-10 working days after your interview.

The U.S. embassy American Center in Port of Spain is staffed with a full-time education specialist to assist and answer questions.  Please email IRCPoS@state.gov to make an appointment if you need further information.

Details on the non-immigrant visa application process are available online at https://ais.usvisa-info.com and on the EducationUSA website https://educationusa.state.gov/