For admissions information and instructions on how to apply please contact our international student services specialist
For Applicants Outside the U.S.
Your Student Visa and Form I-20
If you have been issued a Form I-20 Certificate of Eligibility from Moraine Valley, you will need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for obtaining your F-1 student visa. This document is your proof that you have been officially admitted to a college or university, and you will need it to obtain the correct non-immigrant visa.
Please make an appointment with the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and make sure you tell them it is for an F-1 STUDENT VISA. There may be special fees, interview procedures and processing times. Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country which is most convenient for you. You may find the locations for student visa issuance at the U.S. Department of State website.
Preparing for your interview at the U.S. Embassy
- You must be able to prove to the U.S. Embassy or Consular official that you can afford your education in the U.S. Be prepared to bring current financial support documents to prove that you, your family or sponsor has more than enough money to support you. The visa officer also may ask for information about your academic background, and academic records to see if you have adequate preparation or ability to succeed in an academic program in the U.S.
- You may provide information about your family, parents’ occupation, employer, property ownership or other evidence of family connections in your home country. Information that might show your home country opportunities after you finish your degree could be helpful. Student applicants must show ties to the home country, and plan to return.
- Be prepared to discuss the reasons for choosing Moraine Valley, and your academic plans and goals, since the visa officer may wish to discuss these with you. You want to be able to demonstrate that you made a good decision for your education and that you really are prepared for your education in the U.S. We recommend that student applicants be prepared, honest and friendly.
After you receive your student visa, you are allowed to enter the United States up to 30 days before the beginning of the semester. However, Moraine Valley is not able to assist new students arriving directly from overseas with arrival or housing if you arrive early. Students who choose to arrive early must make their own arrangements for arrival and housing. We are prepared to assist students with arrival and housing ONLY on the scheduled arrival dates.
You are required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service to report to the college by the date shown on the Form I-20. This date is usually the first date of the required International Student Orientation Program.
For Applicants Who Want to Transfer
- You must submit a copy of your previous school Form I-20 to Moraine Valley, and official proof of school enrollment, with a transcript or grade report from your previous school.
- You must sign and ask your current International Student Advisor to complete the Moraine Valley Transfer Eligibility Form. Make sure they have sent or faxed it to us.
- You must have your previous school record “released” prior to beginning classes. Please speak with your current Designated School Official.
- Upon arrival at Moraine Valley, you must complete Immigration requirements to process a legal transfer from your current school. To complete these requirements, you must report to the Office of International Student Affairs with your Moraine Valley Form I-20, within the first 15 days of enrollment. This procedure requires that you meet with the college’s Designated School Official to obtain the appropriate signature and notation on your Form I-20.
- Failure to complete the school transfer requirements will affect your legal F-1 status. This must be completed with 15 days of enrollment.
For Applicants in the U.S. Who Wish to Change Visa Status and Become an International Student
NOTE: The ability to change your visa status within the U.S. is currently under review by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. You may wish to consider traveling home to obtain the F-1 student visa prior to studying. Applications to change status typically take 4-12 months to process. The following is for your general advice and information only. You may wish to consult an experienced immigration attorney as well.
As of April 12, 2002, applicants in the U.S. on the tourist/business visa B1/B2 may NOT enroll in school until AFTER the application to change to student visa status is approved and received back from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. Other visa holders (J, H, M, etc.) may be allowed to enroll after submitting the application, and must be aware of and comply with all student visa regulations while the application is pending. Please consult Moraine Valley Office of International Student Affairs regarding your specific requirements.
- Students who are already in the United States and wish to become a student must have a current legal passport (not expired), and must provide the college with photocopies of the passport data pages, visa, and the white I-94 card issued at entry to verify current legal status.
- Students who will not travel outside the U.S. prior to enrollment, and who have a B visa, J visa, H visa or other legal status, and have been issued the Form I-20 by Moraine Valley, should process a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change visa status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in a timely way to maintain legal standing.
- The Form I-539 can be downloaded from the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services website. The current fee is $290 to submit this application.
- Applicants who are attempting to change status in the U.S. are advised to file their applications within the 45-day period prior to the current status expiration date as shown on your I-94 card.
- The timing of change-of-status applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is crucial. Do not overstay your current visa status without traveling outside the U.S. or submitting an application for an extension or change to the appropriate office while your current visa status is still valid. This is absolutely crucial; applicants who overstay the current visa status are ineligible for a change.
Please feel free to call our office at (708) 974-5540 or e-mail the international student services specialist to discuss this matter or for more information regarding this procedure if you are currently in the U.S.