Obtaining Your Visa
When you have received an acceptance letter and an I-20 from Concordia, you may apply for an F-1 student visa. You will need several documents to support your visa application from a U.S. embassy or consulate. Visa procedures vary slightly from one consulate or embassy to another. Before you apply, check with the office where you plan to apply to determine exactly what you need to do. Several standard items are required for application:
- A current, valid passport
- An I-20 form
- Evidence of financial support for the period of time and amount indicated on the I-20 form
- Proof that you have permanent residence outside of the U.S.
- One or more passport-type photos
- A nonimmigrant visa application
Additional application materials may be requested by the visa officer to prove your eligibility for an F-1 student visa. These may include evidence of English proficiency, school records to verify academic preparation, and additional strong ties to your home country or of your ability to support yourself while in the U.S. An application fee or a short interview may be required. Visa officers assume that the person applying for a visa will want to immigrate permanently to the U.S. The person applying needs to show they only want to reside in the U.S. for a temporary amount of time as a student.
Make travel arrangements as soon as possible
You are expected to arrive at Concordia University no later than the "report date" indicated on your I-20, item number 5. Concordia offers an International Student Orientation that international students are required to attend before the academic semester begins. Please complete the Transportation Form included with the acceptance letter and the $300 confirmation deposit. Without the deposit, your housing requests will not be processed.
Mail transportation form to Concordia University and $300 deposit
If possible, it is a good idea to bring important documents that relate to your academic, medical and legal history with you to the U.S. Obtain English translations of the following documents and make copies:
- Official transcripts from secondary schools, colleges or universities you have attended. Transcripts are an official academic record listing courses a student has taken and the grade received in each.
- Medical records, including immunizations and vaccinations
- Information about medical conditions or treatments, prescriptions for medications (consider bringing a year's supply) and eyeglasses (consider bringing an extra pair)
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
Obtain medical insurance
Oregon law and Concordia require all F-1 visa holders to have insurance to cover the cost of medical treatment. Concordia has an insurance plan that students can obtain once they arrive.
Buy travelers checks (recommended amount $1,000)
Bring with you enough money to cover the expenses of your first month. You will need to pay for tuition and fees for the first semester.
Bring photos and favorite recipes
You will appreciate having some reminders of home!
Prepare for your travel
Label all your luggage inside and outside with your name and Concordia's address
Check with the airlines regarding their luggage policy
Reconfirm your flight reservations 72 hours before departure
Pack a travel bag with personal articles
Carry this bag with you for use in case your luggage is temporarily lost during your journey. Pack valuables in this bag.
Give your family a contact number in case of emergency
The number for the Department of International Studies is (503) 493-6248.
Complete BCIS forms
Toward the end of your flight, the airline personnel will give you several forms to complete for the Bureau of Citizenship & Immigration Services (BCIS).
Please complete these forms and keep them with your passport as they will be requested when you go through customs. It is forbidden to bring certain items into the U.S. (fruit, vegetables, drugs, firearms). You will be asked to report the value of the things you are bringing to the U.S. Simply follow the directions on the forms. If necessary, ask the flight attendant for clarification.
Present your passport, visa, I-20 and evidence of financial support to the U.S. immigration officer at the airport.
After questioning you about your plans in the United States, the immigration officer will decide how long you will be allowed to stay. After this, you will be directed to the Customs Service for inspection of your luggage.