Obtaining a Visa & SEVIS Information

If you would like assistance with the International Student application process, please visit: https://www.usembassy.gov/

EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in 178 countries. The network promotes U.S. higher education to students around the world by offering accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities to study at accredited postsecondary institutions in the United States. EducationUSA also provides services to the U.S. higher education community to help institutional leaders meet their recruitment and campus internationalization goals. EducationUSA is your official source on U.S. higher education.

Find an Education USA advising station near you: https://educationusa.state.gov/find-advising-center

Obtaining Your Visa

Essential Points of a Visa Interview

  • Have a clear plan. Describe why, where, and what you plan to study in the U.S.
  • Show enough funds to cover tuition and living expenses. For detailed expense information, see the tuition & fees..
  • Explain your intention to return home. Tie it to your specific situation and avoid generalities.
  • If you will take Intensive English first, as listed on your I-20, you can request to be interviewed in your first language.

Sample Interview Questions 

  • Why do you want to study at Riverland Community College in the United States?
  • Do you have any family members or relatives in the United States?
  • If you have relatives in the United States, who are they, where do they live and what is their relationship to you?
  • What ties do you have in your home country that will draw you home?
    • Establish a strong personal motive to return to your country after you complete your course of study.
  • Who is funding your educational expenses? 
    • Show documents proving there is a valid source of funds, and explain clearly how they were obtained and/or will be obtained in the future.

Document Requirements

Check for specific requirements in your home country. 

Typical documentation includes:

  • I-20 issued by Riverland
  • Visa and processing fee - paid to U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • Photo, passport-sized
  • Valid passport
  • Completed visa application form
  • High school (and university, if available) transcripts, in English
  • TOEFL scores (if available)
  • Documents indicating reasons to return to home country after education, if available, such as:
    • Job offer or admission to an educational program upon return
    • Documentation of research you've done on your intended job in your country like translated job advertisements or quotes from newspaper or trade industry article.
    • Statement of future plans. (Take care 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, fiancé, etc.).
    • Local identity card (indicating, if possible, your entire immediate family).
  • Financial statement(s): originals to show and photocopies to submit, for example:
    • Bank statements
    • Certificates of deposit
    • Earnings statements
    • Proof of sponsorship from a corporation or other entity

Issuance or Denial of Visa

  • If you are issued a visa
    Congratulations! Contact us to confirm your arrival plans.
  • If you are denied a visa
    Politely ask the consular official why the application was denied and when you may apply again. Then, contact your advisor at Riverland. If the denial was based on a misunderstanding or poor communication, we may be able to write a letter for your second visa interview. Such a letter of support does not guarantee approval, but may clarify points of possible miscommunication.

    If you have questions, please e-mail your international advisor



SEVIS Information

After we receive your completed application along with all the required documents, an admissions package will be created for you within one week. This contains a Riverland acceptance letter and your I-20, which is an official document that confirms your acceptance as an international student in the USA. You will be contacted when your I-20 is ready for shipment. Shipping the I-20 is easy. Visit UEMS to set up a shipment account.


SEVIS and Student Status

Maintaining Student Status

Your F1 student status is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to be familiar with and follow all immigration rules. For additional information please read page 2 of your I-20.
SEVIS and Your Form I-20

Your I-20 Form is a certificate of eligibility status that allows you to study in the U.S.  This form is part of the SEVIS system.

SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) is the database used by schools, immigration, ports of entry and consulates abroad. Information that is tracked includes your enrollment status, date of entry to the U.S., contact information, address, and work status.

What maintaining SEVIS status means for you

  • You must be registered full-time (at least 12 credits) per semester. Online classes have restrictions so please ask your international student advisor for guidance.
  • You must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average (GPA) at all times.
  • You must maintain a valid assport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future at all times. It is your responsibility to contact your embassy or consulate to renew your passport, so be aware of the expiration date.
  • You must pay your tuition by the deadline - click here for drop for non-payment dates: https://www.riverland.edu/tuition-aid/tuition-due-dates/
  • Failing to pay tuition will result in you being dropped from your classes. If you are not enrolled in at least 12 credits you terminate your status.
  • Your Form I-20 and I-94 documents are important documents which you must keep with your passport in a safe place at all times. You need these documents whenever you travel in and out of the United States. Meet with your international advisor to make sure all your documents are signed and current prior to traveling.
  • Your Form I-20 has an expiration date. Check your program end dates.  It is your responsibility to renew your I-20 at least 30 days before expiration.