Details for Canadian students at AMBS
Canadian students typically need to have a nonimmigrant student visa (such as a F-1 or J-1 visa) in order to study in the U.S. You to NOT need to visit a U.S. consulate in order to obtain a visa. The visa itself is issued to you by a U.S. border crossing official when you cross the border on your way to AMBS, or by a customs official at the airport where you land in the U.S. However, in order for you to be issued a student visa, you will need to present several documents to the official, most of which the AMBS Registrar will mail to you at some point in your application process. Those documents are:
“Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” This is a key document, of which there are two kinds depending on the type of visa you decide to use. You will need one of the following:
Form I-20 A-B, aka "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status.” This is for most international students pursuing a degree.
– or –
Form DS-2019, aka “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status.” This is for international exchange visitors who are in the U.S. to study, perform research, or teach.
- Form I-901 Fee, aka the document proving you paid the SEVIS fee.
- Evidence of Canadian citizenship (Passport and ID).
- Evidence of Admission to AMBS such as an admissions letter.
- Certification of Funds and accompanying documentation
When you depart for Elkhart, you should have all of these documents with you in a secure place yet readily accessible. At the Port of Entry into the U.S., the official will inspect your documents and will issue you an I-94 card with a visa stamp on it. THAT is your ticket ... your very, very important ticket that you should keep safe while in the U.S. (typically it is stapled into you Passport).
Canadian citizens need to be sure the I-20 is properly processed at the border when they are applying for entrance in F-1. The top copy of the I-20 must be stamped by the border official (in the upper right corner with the notation "F-1 D/S") and the student must be given a properly stamped I-94 card. Be sure that you receive these documents before you part company with the official. Sometimes they assume you are a tourist and don't give you these stamps. Be sure they know you are going to be a student and need an F-1 student visa.
Shortly after your arrival at AMBS, you must report to the Registrar's Office. Please come prepared to present your passport, your stamped I-20, and your stamped I-94 card for photocopying and reporting in compliance with federal regulations. After confirming that you have registered for classes and are able to attend, I will change your SEVIS status from “initial” to “active.” Your failure to register for classes and to present your documents to the Registrar will result in your SEVIS file being automatically terminated. This, in turn, would require that you apply for “reinstatement” (a costly, time-consuming, and uncertain procedure). Trust me, you don't want to have to do that. Therefore, it is extremely important that you register for classes and report in person to the Registrar in a timely manner.
For more information about student visas contact the AMBS Registrar toll-free at 800.964.2627 to discuss which visa option is best for you.
If you have questions about what you may bring into the U.S., other than personal effects, contact a U.S. Customs Office by phoning your nearest airport.