Student Visas only for a Specific University

Q : I have planned earlier for my MS degree in North Carolina State University back in 2006 and got a Visa for the same which is valid till 1st June, 2011.

However, due to unplanned situations at my home I was not able to pursue that MS degree and have done my masters here in Indian Institute of Science.

Now I am planning to go for Ph.D. degree and got an admission from Carnegie Mellon University.

I want to know if I have to reapply for the VISA for this Ph.D. degree or is there a way in which I can use the currently valid Visa and transfer it from North Carolina State University to Carnegie Mellon University.

Please help me understand the procedure to be followed in my case.

A : Because you plan to attend a different university and obtain a different degree than in your original visa application, you will need to pay the visa fee and attend a new interview.

Student visas are issued for students to attend a specific university at a specific time. They cannot enter the U.S. to attend an institution that is different from the name on the visa.

To travel to the U.S. on a student visa, you must have an I-20 form with a Sevis ID number, and arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date listed on the I-20. The information on your I-20 should match the Sevis number and university listed on your visa.

By the way, all of this information is listed on our website.

Q : I have recently changed my last name in my passport. I have a valid business visa for 10 years, stamped in my old passport.

I would like to know if the visa in my old passport is valid for any travels within the visa validity period.

A : Whether you are able to enter the U.S. on your visa is an issue DHS deals with at the Port of Entry.

DHS normally will allow a person in your situation into the country if you carry your old passport, new passport and your marriage certificate (or other documentation showing your legal change of name). If you have previously traveled to the U.S. on the old visa, the DHS officer should be able to see a record of your travel under your previous name.

Again, the decision rests with DHS at the Port of Entry. You can apply for a visa in your new name.

Q : I got married in the year 1982. Please clarify whether it is mandatory for the couple to produce their Marriage Certificate, when they attend the Interview in US Consulate for securing Tourist (B1/B2) Visa, and also whether sponsorship is required for securing Tourist (B1/B2) Visa.

A : This is a common question. As always, the best source for answers is our website,

As we say on the website, the only documents we require for a B1/B2 visa application are your passport (and old passports), DS-160 confirmation page (with readable barcode), recent photograph, blue HDFC receipt (in the correct amount), and your VFS appointment letter.

You must bring these with you to your interview. You may also wish to bring documentation that supports your case or demonstrates your economic and social ties to India.

We do not require sponsorship for a tourist visa. An applicant for a tourist visa needs to establish that he or she has a residence outside the United States, which he or she does not intend to abandon, that he or she is coming to the United States for a temporary period, and that he or she is seeking admission to the U.S. to only engage in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure.

I’d like to take the opportunity here to repeat that our officers make their decisions on whether the applicant has those reasons to return.not so much on why he or she is travelling.

In other words, if you want to travel as a tourist next summer, then make your appointment during our slow season, in November, December or January.

That will give us plenty of time to resolve any problems that arise and give you peace of mind once the summer comes.

I’d also like to remind our readers that they should not make their reservations or buy their tickets before they have their visas in hand.

We will not expedite printing visas except in dire emergencies. Having purchased your tickets in anticipation of a visa is not an emergency.

I have an internship offer from a university for six months in the field of Biological Sciences. This falls into the ‘Group 26′ of J-1 visa skill list. ‘Group 26′ does not appear in the skills list for the two-year residency requirement of my home country, India.

Q : My internship is not funded by US or Indian government. Is there still a possibility that I may be subject to the two-year home country residence requirement (section 212(E) of INA).

I want to pursue my higher studies in USA. In case if I am subjected to two year home stay rule, do I need a waiver to pursue higher studies with F-1 visa? If I am subjected to two year home stay rule in my Visa, can I opt out of the internship programme and wait for another academic year to enter US as a graduate student with F1 visa?

A : Section 212(e) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act does not apply to those who plan to temporarily study in the U.S. So, you may apply for an F1 visa to study in the United States, without needing a waiver, after participating in a J visa cultural exchange programme that is subject to section 212(e).

However, if you plan to apply for an H, K, L, or immigrant visa to the United States, the two-year residency abroad requirement will apply.

Let’s take a moment to talk about visas that need additional documentation. If you are applying for an F, M or J visa (students and exchange visitors), then you will need more than just your regular application forms.

If you are applying for petition-based visas (H &L), then you need to submit your petition and other documentation to VFS a minimum of four business days in advance. See our website :

Note : Those applying for H & L visas must submit documentation four business days in advance.

Documents should be submitted to VFS.

Visit for additional information.

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