Ask the Consul: The U.S. Embassy Doha Answers Common Questions (Part 3)

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Welcome back to the “Ask a Consul” section of the U.S. Embassy Doha! Each month, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy will answer your questions about visas and consular services. This month, the focus is on student and exchange visas.

Q. I want to study in the United States. Where do I start?
A. The US Embassy in Doha welcomes all qualified students to apply for a student visa. We prioritize student visa appointments to ensure students can arrive in the United States on time for their program. Before applying for a visa, all student visa applicants must be accepted and approved by their school or program. Once accepted, educational institutions will provide each applicant with the necessary endorsement documents to submit when applying for a student visa. The U.S. Embassy offers free educational consultations through the EducationUSA office. For more information, please contact [email protected]

Q. I have been accepted by an American educational institution to study in the United States. Which visa category should I apply for?
A. Your program of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F visa or an M visa. If you have been accepted by a university or college, high school, a private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, or other academic institution that includes a language training program, you must apply for a category “F” visa. Your school must register you in the Exchange Student and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and you must pay the SEVIS fee and obtain a Form I-20 from your school. Bring the payment receipt and I-20 with you on the day of your interview.

Q. I am going to college or university. Should I reapply for an F visa?
A. Continuing students may apply for a new visa at any time, as long as they maintain their US registered student status and their SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may also enter the United States at any time before the start of their courses or programs.

Q. I want to attend flight school in the United States. Which visa category should I apply for?
A. If you have been accepted into a recognized professional or non-academic institution, such as a flight school, then you must apply for an “M” visa. Your school must register you in the Exchange Student and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and you must pay the SEVIS fee and obtain a Form I-20 from your school. Bring the payment receipt and I-20 with you on the day of your interview.

Q. What category of visa should I apply for if I am participating in an exchange program in the United States?
A. Persons eligible to participate in visitor exchange programs in the United States must apply for a “J” category visa. There are many categories of exchange visitors: Au Pair, Camp Counselor, Government Visitor, Intern, Physician or Doctor, Teacher, Researcher, Specialist, Student Semester or Short-Term Exchanges, Summer Work and Fellowship Program. travel, and intern. Visa applicants applying for a “J” visa must bring to the interview a “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status” known as Form DS-2019 obtained from your program office. The consular officer will sign this form and you must present it at the port of entry to the immigration officer.

Q. Can I bring my spouse and children under the student or exchange visa categories?
A. Yes. Spouses and children may accompany the principal applicant on “F2”, “M2” or “J2” visas. Each applicant needs a separate visa appointment and families can apply together if they can get appointments at the same time.

Q. What happens after I get a student or exchange visa?
A. A visa permits travel to the United States, however, it does not guarantee entry into the United States. US immigration officials determine entry and length of stay in the United States. Once a visa holder arrives in the United States, the United States Department of Homeland Security then takes over as the agency responsible for entry into the country, as well as issuance and enforcement. regulations for international students.

Q. My child or a relative is going to study in the United States and I want to accompany or visit them. What type of visa should I apply for?
A. If your main purpose of travel is to accompany or visit your child or relative at university, you must apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa. You can learn more about our visa categories at https://ustraveldocs.com/qa/.

Q. Can I get a Green Card after completing my studies?
A. In general, it is not possible to obtain a green card (permanent residence) directly via a student visa. However, some students upon graduation apply for a job and obtain an H1B work visa, then apply for a green card through their employer.

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