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Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do you provide visas?

UCEDA International is a school which is authorized under federal law to enroll international students. No school can provide visas; that is the responsibility of the U.S. government. We can certify your eligibility for nonimmigrant (F1) student status, and then you may apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Do you provide I20?

Yes, this school is authorized under federal law to enroll nonimmigrant (F1) students. The Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for the F1 student visa, which we can provide after you are accepted at UCEDA International. You will need the I-20 document in order to apply for the F1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Do J-1 or B-1 students need the Form I-20?

No. UCEDA International will only issue the Form I-20 to prospective F-1 students who enroll in a full-time program of study. J-1 and B-1 students can enroll in part-time programs of study. J-1 students may receive a Form DS-2019 from a U.S. sponsor designated by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

How can I apply for a student visa for travel to the United States?

After you receive a Form I–20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” and pay your I–901 SEVIS fee, you can visit the closest U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for your F-1 student visa with the U.S. Department of State. In most cases, you will need to complete a Form DS-160 online, print it, and bring it to your interview. Also bring your passport, Form I–20, and I–901 SEVIS fee payment receipt to your visa appointment. To learn more about how to apply for your visa, visit the student visas page on travel.state.gov.

What is the difference between the Form I-20 and the F-1 visa?

The Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status. A nonimmigrant applying for F-1 status needs a Form I-20 to apply for an F-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

What do I need to do after I have been accepted by the school?

First, get a Form I-20. Once you receive acceptance to the school and provide evidence of financial support, as well as any other supporting documents, a designated school official will send you a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status.” Next, Pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee: All international students must pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee. You can pay your fee at FMJFee.com. For more information, view the Form I-901 Fee Payment tutorial. Finally, you can apply for a visa to travel to the United States at any U.S. embassy or consulate. Make sure you bring all required documents with you.

How long does this process take?

We recommend students to apply 2 months before the desired program starts.

When will classes start?

New students start classes on the first Monday of every month.

How long can I study at UCEDA?

The duration of your Intensive English Program at UCEDA may be tailored according to the number of months you need to study to achieve your goals. Some students study only 3 months for a single course, while others study up to 12 months or longer in a multi-course program. At UCEDA, we understand that the rate of language development may vary according to the learner’s educational background, first language, learning style, cognitive style, and other factors. If you have a compelling academic reason and are unable to complete your course of study by the Program Completion Date on your Form I-20, you may apply for a program extension. Your total program duration including all extensions may not exceed 48 months.

Can I study at any school as an international student?

Only schools certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) can accept international students. UCEDA International is certified by SEVP. After completing your program of study at UCEDA International, you may transfer to a college or university in the United States without needing to apply for the F-1 visa again.

Definitions

What is SEVP?

SEVP is the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). SEVP has the important role of protecting national security while supporting the international student exchange for the more than one million international students, exchange visitors and their dependents in the United States. SEVP crafts policies and regulations for schools and students, answers questions from international students and school officials, and works with law enforcement to support criminal investigations.

What is SEVIS?

SEVIS is a national security tool managed by SEVP. The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, known as SEVIS, is used to monitor international students and the schools that enroll them. SEVIS information is shared throughout ICE and with government and law enforcement partners including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of State, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

What is a DSO?

A Designated School Official, or DSO, is an employee of the school who serves as the point of contact between students and SEVP. DSOs are responsible for entering information about F-1 international students into SEVIS. A DSO can issue prospective international students a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status.

I-20 Eligibility

What is Form I-20 and how do I get it?

The Form I-20 is a Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status. All nonimmigrants applying for F-1 visa status need a Form I-20 to apply for the F-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once you receive acceptance to the school and provide evidence of financial support, as well as any other supporting documents, a designated school official will send you a Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student Status” with instructions on how to apply for a visa to travel to the United States.

How much money do I need?

In order to issue the Form I-20, a school official is required by law to review and evaluate proof of financial responsibility. You will need to show evidence that you have enough money to live and study for the duration of your program of study. For each month you plan to study, you may budget for tuition and living expenses to be at least $1500-$2000 per month. If you will be living with a friend or family for free, then you will only need money for tuition and personal expenses.

Can my friend or family be my sponsor?

Yes. Many students who do not have enough money in their own bank accounts will have a friend or family be a sponsor. The sponsor will need to sign an affidavit to agree to sponsor you, and will also be asked to provide a copy of bank statements to show sufficient funding. You may have up to two sponsors in combination with your own funding.

Does the sponsor need to be located in the U.S.?

The sponsor can be located anywhere as long as he/she holds legal residency in the country he/she resides.

Does the financial evidence need to be in U.S. dollars?

No, we can accept financial documents can be in any currency. There are very few exceptions, for example, accounts in Venezuela need to be in U.S. dollars.

Does the financial evidence need to be in English?

At UCEDA International, we currently accept financial documents in English, Spanish, or Portuguese as we have staff who can interpret and certify translations in those languages. Financial documents submitted in other languages must be accompanied by a certified translation to English.

What supporting documents do I need to submit to UCEDA?

In order to certify eligibility, a school official must receive and review a copy of your valid passport, your application form, and bank statements from your account and/or a sponsor’s account showing sufficient funding to live and study in the United States for the duration of your program.

SEVIS Fees

What is the I-901 SEVIS Fee?

After receiving a Form I-20, regulations require all prospective F-1 students to pay the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee before the Department of State issues you a visa. To pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit FMJfee.com to access the SEVIS Form I-901. Watch the I-901 SEVIS Fee payment tutorial to learn about each step of the payment process. For additional FAQs about the I-901 SEVIS Fee, visit www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq

Do I need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee?

If you need to apply for an F-1 visa, the answer is yes. This includes all prospective F-1 students from countries where a visa to travel to the United States is mandatory. This also includes anyone applying for a change of status to F-1 student status or a reinstatement of F-1 student status. You also need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee if you are a prospective F-1 student from a visa waiver country, before seeking admission at a U.S. port of entry. Please note that an F-2 dependent does not have to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee.

How do I pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee?

Prospective F-1 students can use a credit card to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee at FMJfee.com. If your country of citizenship or country of birth is Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or Gambia, you must pay by money order, Western Union Quick Pay or certified check drawn from a U.S. bank. 

Do I need a receipt for my I-901 SEVIS Fee?

Yes. In order to get your student visa, you must present proof of your I-901 SEVIS Fee payment at your visa interview. Print a receipt of payment after you have completed your I-901 payment on FMJfee.com.

Can someone else pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee for me?

SEVP will accept third party payments, meaning someone else can pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee using an approved method of payment. 

I made a mistake when paying my I-901 SEVIS Fee. What should I do?

If you would like to request corrections to your I-901 SEVIS Fee receipt because you have noticed misspellings, would like to go to a different school, or would like to transfer your payment to a new SEVIS record, you should e-mail a detailed request to FMJfee.sevis@ice.dhs.gov.

How much is the I-901 SEVIS Fee?

For F-1 students, the fee is currently $350. This is a government fee that can be paid at FMJfee.com.

I can’t pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee by credit card. What should I do?

SEVP will accept third party payments, meaning someone else can pay your I-901 SEVIS Fee using an approved method of payment. You can also pay by Western Union Quick Pay. Visit SEVP’s website for instructions on how to complete the Western Union Quick Pay/Quick Collect form.

Visa Interviews

Where do I go for my visa interview?

You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence. Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early.

When should I schedule my visa interview?

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. F-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date. However, you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.

What kind of photo do I need for my F-1 visa application?

You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements. Visit http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/photos.html.

Do you guarantee I will get the visa?

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee you will get the visa, since this is decided by the consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. While the vast majority of visa applications are approved, federal law sets out many standards under which a visa application may be denied. An application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa, because the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa. If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies. Please share this information with a UCEDA representative, and we can help you reapply in the future.

Can I reapply for a visa?

After being found ineligible for a visa, you may reapply in the future. Please send us a copy of the reason your visa was denied, and a UCEDA representative can help you prepare to reapply. UCEDA will not charge another admissions application fee, but you should expect to pay a visa application fee again as required by U.S. visa regulations.

I passed my visa interview! Now what do I do?

After you receive your visa, check to see that you received the right type of visa and that your name and date of birth are correct and match the information in your passport. Next, please send a message to a school representative to confirm your program start date and schedule an orientation session. When you travel, be sure to carry your passport, visa, and Form I-20 with you at all times.

Traveling to the U.S.

Do I need a Form I-94 for travel?

If traveling by sea or air, you do not need to request or carry a Form I-94. There is a new automated Form I-94 process. The Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer will create an electronic automated arrival Form I-94 during the admissions process for nonimmigrants entering the United States at an air or sea port, with information already available in various law enforcement databases. The Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” is evidence of a nonimmigrant’s term of admission and used to document legal status in the United States, including length of stay and departure. For more information regarding the Form I-94 automation, please review the resources below:

Do you offer housing?

No, we do not offer housing. UCEDA International students usually rent apartments or extended stay hotels, or stay with family or friends. For a complete cultural experience, students have the option to live with an American family in what is called a Homestay Program. UCEDA International is now also able to accommodate students on a college campus with our partner College of Saint Elizabeth, located in Morristown, New Jersey.  Please review all available housing opportunities found here.

What documents are important for traveling to the United States?

Important travel documents include your passport, visa, and Form I-20. After you receive your F-1 visa approval, make at least two sets of copies of your important travel documents: one copy to leave with your family before you depart and one copy to give to your school officials. When you travel, carry your original documents with you at all times. Do not put them in your checked baggage.

I am visiting the United States on a (B) visa. Can I study at UCEDA?

Yes! Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit toward a degree or academic certificate, is permitted on a visitor (B) visa. Learn more about Visitor Visas. UCEDA offers short, semi-intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that are not categorized as degree-granting or academic certificate programs.

When should I plan to travel to the United States?

Once you receive your F-1 student visa, you are allowed to enter the United States in F-1 status up to 30 days before your program start date. Learn more about how you can get ready to go!

Other Questions

Do you offer housing?

No, we do not offer housing. UCEDA International students usually rent apartments or extended stay hotels, or stay with family or friends. For a complete cultural experience, students have the option to live with an American family in what is called a Homestay Program. UCEDA International is now also able to accommodate students on a college campus with our partner College of Saint Elizabeth, located in Morristown, New Jersey.  Please review all available housing opportunities found here.

Do I need health insurance?

UCEDA INTERNATIONAL strongly recommends that students obtain health insurance while living in the United States. While UCEDA does not require any specific brand of insurance, please be advised that failure to maintain health insurance can carry significant consequences/risks as medical care in the United States can be extremely expensive. Students who are interested in obtaining health insurance may apply by contacting any of a variety of private insurers. Different plans may vary in the services they cover, the cost of premiums, deductibles and co-payments required, and the length of coverage.

Do you offer scholarships?

In order to make tuition rates low for ALL students, UCEDA International does not offer school-sponsored scholarships. Please talk to a UCEDA representative about special tuition discounts for groups or for referrals.

Where can I go for more information about F-1 visa processes and regulations?

The Study in the States website is a Department of Homeland Security resource for international students and school officials, offering government news, agency-sponsored webinars, and the latest information they need in order to stay in compliance with immigration rules. For more information visit StudyintheStates.dhs.gov.

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