US students need visas

Caymanian students who have been accepted at US institutions but have not yet obtained their visas should attend to the matter immediately or as soon as they have their I-20 forms and all other necessary documentation, urges Acting Chief Secretary Donovan Ebanks.

‘We understood that some students were experiencing some anxiety due to the fact that it did not appear that they would be able to obtain visas through the US Embassy in Kingston in time to take up their offers of admission to US institutions in mid-August and onward. We have been in contact with the US Embassy in Kingston over the past few days and are assured that the Embassy will accommodate Caymanian students in securing their visas in a timely manner in spite of their extremely high work load at this time of year’, said Mr. Ebanks.

Student visas are required of all non-US citizens contemplating study in that country, states a GIS press release.

Students may use the services of Adventure Travel to assist them, for a fee, in completing the application documents and arranging an appointment – if a suitable one is available.

Alternatively, students may pursue their own arrangements.

To begin the process, a student needs to first pay their SEVIS fee of US$100 either on line (www.FMJfee.com ) or by mail. A copy of the receipt form I-797 is one of the documents that will be required as part of the students visa application. This SEVIS fee is not payable at the US Embassy and is in addition to US$100 visa application fee.

To commence the necessary paperwork for the visa application, students should go online to http://kingston.usembassy.gov/index.html and fill out and submit visa application form DS-156. Forms DS-157 and DS-158 are also available on line and will need to be printed and completed in hard copy. The web site provides information on the other elements of the application package such as fees, photos, etc.

Students should seek to make an appointment on line. In doing so, it should be noted that they will be asked to provide a ‘Paymaster Receipt Number’. This does not apply to persons paying their visa application fee by draft, and the student may simply enter 000000 (six zero’s). Even if the first available date for an interview is considered to be too late relative to the date the student needs to travel to the US to take up admission, the appointment should still be made and the appointment sheet printed.

All applicants for US student visas must attend the US Embassy in Jamaica for interviews. Applicants are to arrive at the Embassy between 6.30am and 7.30am weekdays.

If the online appointment does not allow sufficient time for completing personal arrangements prior to the date to report to their overseas institution, students must refer to the information provided at http://kingston.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas.html regarding the emergency window. They should make arrangements to travel to the embassy in Kingston and present their application at the emergency window, taking with them a printed copy of the appointment.

For the interview, students must ensure that they have all the supporting documents listed on the website, including the processing fee. Candidates should be aware that all applicants for student visas are fingerprinted.

The emergency window facilitates a two- to three-working day turnover. Students wishing to return to Cayman during this period should request the return of their unstamped passport. On return, they will need to courier their passports back to the US Embassy, with pre-arrangements for its return, for the visa to be affixed.

Students or family members requiring further information on this process should first reference the websites listed above, and then contact the office of the acting chief secretary @ 244-2222 if questions still remain.

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