I-20 and Visa Information

I-20s — Important forms for your stay in the US

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) requires these forms for entry to the United States. Read the I-20 carefully before you apply for your visa form. Prior to any departure from the United States (even a weekend trip to Canada), your form must have been signed in the previous 12 months by the International Student Advisor. In the case that a signature is forgotten, International Students are usually given a lengthy question-and-answer session at the entry port and then given a form for the International Student Advisor to sign and return to INS within 30 days.

Visas — Important Information

Prior to enrollment and sometimes after entering Bates, international students need to obtain a United States visa. The visa permits entry into the United States. Students may stay in the United States beyond the visa expiration date as long as the person is enrolled as a full time student.

To obtain an initial visa or a visa renewal, you will take the I-20 documents you received from Bates and your Bates letter of admission, or a letter of current enrollment from the International Student Advisor Office, to the United States Embassy or Consulate. Visas can only be obtained at an Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States. At the Embassy or Consulate, the officials will have you complete an additional visa application form. Call ahead to the Embassy or Consulate to know what other documents or fees are required, and to check to see if you need an appointment. In each country of the world, the requirements are slightly different. You likely will need to provide some financial evidence (bank statement or family property record or business ownership record) that demonstrates that you and your family have the funds to cover what Bates is asking you to pay towards your education here. The officials will also interview you on your plans to attend Bates, and they will ask you how they can be sure that you intend to return to your home country after your education.