Stricter application process for international students

By Staff Writer
April 29, 2004

International students endure a more rigorous preliminary application process while looking at the higher education institution of their choice. Student visas are the additional paperwork they have clipped to their basic transcript and admissions essay package.

The two types of visas that are granted to potential students are F-1 and J-1. An F-1 visa is issued to an individual who will study at an American institution approved by the U.S. Attorney General. You must have the intention to return to your country of origin 60 days after you have completed your studies.

A J-1 visa is issued to someone is going to participate in a specific program under the direction of the U.S. Information Agency. The person must have no intention to abandon residency of their foreign citizenship. Each type of visa requires other supplemental documents specified by the university.

In the case of Ramiro Ramirez, senior accounting major, he had to go the U.S. Embassy office in Caracas, Venezuela in 1997 to wait in line to apply for a student visa. He would hear many interviewers decline people for their petitions for a visa to the U.S. and was nervous when his turn came around to plea his case. Fortunately, he had a valid reason to come to the U.S. unlike the other stories that were circulating in the embassy. Ramirez would like to continue living in the Radnor, Pa., area after his graduation. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my country but I can’t go back to Venezuela with the political climate that is going on right now. I like this area because I’m comfortable,” Ramirez said.

Changes in visa approval have changed since Sept.11, 2001. In an article dated April 22, 2003, Anthony Kujawa wrote for a U.S. Embassy conference exploring the U.S. visa policy impact on international education exchange, that the U.S. now requires more information from the applicants and places more emphasis on the visa interview.

Senior finance major, Amy Xie can attest that a visa grant depends on the mood of the interviewer. “They ask you questions like, why do you want to go and are you going to come back. They want to make sure that you will be able to pay the tuition of the school you want to go to. I can’t see myself anywhere other than Cabrini. I love it,” said Xie.

The number of international students has grown less than one percent during 2002-2003. According to the U.S. Embassy website, it was cited that new security procedures and financial difficulties as being the primary reasons for the lack of growth in the number of students. “These figures reflect the impact of a number of factors – a weakened economic situation affecting many countries, student and family concerns about safety and possibly delays associated with processing student visas and an increase in competition for foreign students from other host countries,” said Institute of International Education’s President and CEO Allan E. Goodman.

Possessing a student visa has its complications if you are not aware of certain rules. You must be attending the university in which you have been enrolled. Your residency status will be taken away if it is discovered you are not attending. You must receive authorization from the INS before you attempt to find work off-campus. If you don’t have permission to work, you will be deported.

A 24-year-old man, whose identity will not be revealed, was granted a student visa to attend University of Arlington in Arlington, Texas to study computer science. He arrived to the U.S. but changed his mind about the scholarship he was offered. He instead chose the work route and is currently working to attain his green card.

Posted to the web by Shawn Rice

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