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Visa Help

After you've applied to Highline and received your I-20, the next steps toward your dream of studying abroad are paying your SEVIS fee and getting a visa from the U.S. Government. Please read this page very carefully to understand what you need to bring to your interview and what is expected of you!

Student visas (F-1 and M-1) are issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates located outside the United States. The application process typically includes an interview with a consular official to determine the applicant's purpose of travel to the US. Most visa interviews are short (one to two minutes) and are conducted in English, so good preparation is essential. It is important that you plan your answers before you go and that you be completely honest and thorough.

Helpful Hints for your interview
Before you go, spend some time thinking about yourself, your personal goals, and why you want to study in the U.S. The consular officer will ask you a lot of questions about your future plans, both for your studies and when you return home!

Essential points of a Visa interview:

  • Have a clear plan.
  • Describe why, where and what you plan to study in the U.S.
  • Demonstrate adequate funding to cover tuition and living expenses. Bring documents proving there is a valid source of funds.
  • Explain your intent to return home. Be very specific about your personal situation and avoid generalities. It is extremely important that you establish a strong motive to return to your country after you complete your studies.
  • If at all possible, do the interview in English. You may be nervous, but it shows that you are dedicated to learning and that you have the ability to study at a U.S. school. If your I-20 states that you will initially enroll in intensive English courses, you can request to have a visa interview in your native language.
  • Bring all necessary documents!
  • Make sure you pay your SEVIS fee before your interview.

Commonly asked interview questions: Practice!

  • Why do you want to study at Highline College in the United States?
  • Do you have any family members in the United States?
  • If you have relatives in the United States, who are they, where do they live, and what is your relationship?
  • What ties do you have in your home country that will draw you home?
  • Who is funding your educational expenses?

Document Requirements

Check for specific requirements in your home country. Typical documentation includes:

  • I-20 immigration document - issued by Highline College
  • Visa and processing fee - paid to U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Photo, passport-sized
  • Valid passport
  • Completed visa application form
  • High school (and university, if available) transcripts, in English
  • TOEFL scores (if available)
  • Financial statement(s): originals to show and photocopies to submit Examples of financial documents:
    • Bank statements
    • Certificates of deposit
    • Earnings statements
    • Tax records
    • Proof of sponsorship by a corporation or other entity
  • Documents indicating reasons to return to your home country or another country outside the US, if available. These might include:
    • Job offer or admission to an educational program upon return
    • Documentation of research you've done on your intended job in your country
      • Examples: translated job advertisements, written description of a discussion you had with a person in the kind of job you want, or quote from a newspaper article or trade industry write-up
  • Statement of future plans (Care should be taken to demonstrate the relevance of the US course of study to those plans.)
  • An indication of close personal ties in the home country (parents, spouse, children, fianc�e, etc.)
  • Local identity card (indicating, if possible, your entire immediate family)

Visa Issuance

If you are issued a student visa, congratulations! You can start making your flight and housing arrangements.  Please contact a homestay agency or fill out the short-term housing application to make reservations.  You should also contact Highline at to confirm your arrival plans.

Visa Denial
If you are denied a student visa, politely ask the consular official why the application was denied. Also ask when you may reapply for a visa. Then, contact your education agent or Highline College. If the denial was based on a misunderstanding or on poor communication, the Highline official may be able to write a letter for you to present to the consular official during your second visa interview. Such a letter does not guarantee approval, but will serve to clarify points of possible misunderstanding.

For specific information about how to apply for a visa in your home country, visit

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