Frequently Asked Questions | International Student Services

Pre-Arrival Questions
Arrival Questions

Pre-Arrival Questions

1. How do I read my Form I-20?

Getting an I-20 certificate means you are registered as an international student in the Student Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS).  You want to make sure your full name, birthdate, and other information are correctly spelled in the I-20 form. If your name's spelling or any information that is not correct, you need to contact Wheelock's Designated School Official (DSO) immediately.  If you don't, you may face other immigration problems later.

2. How can I pay my SEVIS I-901 fee?

Paying your SEVIS I-901 fee is important.  Without it, you cannot apply for a visa.   You can go to the fmjfee.com website to pay with a credit card.  After making your payment, wait three business days, make sure you go back to the website to print out and keep your SEVIS fee payment receipt. You will need this receipt when you enter the U.S.

3. How can I apply for my F-1 Visa?

Once you have your I-20 form, SEVIS fee payment receipt, Wheelock's acceptance letter, you can apply for your F-1 visa at any American embassy or consulate in your home country. We recommend that you apply early because the wait may be long.

4. What documents are required for my visa application?

The following are required:

  • I-20 (for F-1 visa) sent to you by Wheelock College
  • Nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-160
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Proof of funds that will cover the cost of tuition and living expenses during your studies
  • A passport that is valid 6 months beyond your program end date
  • A 2x2 colored photo

 You should also be prepared to provide:

  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended (must be translated into English)
  • Scores from English proficiency tests (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson Versant)

Please visit this website for more information:  travel.state.gov

5. How early can I arrive in the U.S. to begin my program of study?

You can enter the U.S no more than 30 days before your program start date. 

6. Can I work while I attend Wheelock as a degree seeking student?

There are many types of employments, you can meet with the international student advisor to discuss employment options.

7. What if I find out at the last minute I cannot enter the U.S. by the program start date?

You need to contact Wheelock's DSO immediately and let him or her know.  If you don't inform your school, your SEVIS record will be canceled.

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Arrival Questions

1. What documents do I need to enter the U.S?

Before going to the U.S., get to know the types of documents you will need to enter the U.S. In order to enter the U.S smoothly, you are required to have the following original documents with you:

  • I-20 Form
  • Valid passport

2. What should I do once I have arrived to the U.S?

Upon your arrival, you need to immediately check in with your school and the Designed School Official (DSO).  It is important that you check in with your DSO so your SEVIS record will be updated.

3. What should I do if I encounter problems at the Port of Entry?

It is important that you have the proper documents ready to arrive into the U.S. smoothly. If you encounter problems at the Port of Entry with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer, it is helpful to have the following ready before leaving for the U.S.:

  • Your DSO's name and phone number
  • Your school's name and phone number
  • Get another emergency number from your school in case your school office is closed when you call

4. What are my responsibilities as an F-1 student?

As an F-1 student, you are required to meet the following guidelines to maintain your lawful status:

  • Good academic standing
  • Full-time course load (12 credits per semester)
  • Good class attendance
  • Follow your school and City of Boston's regulations and laws
  • Make sure your DSO has your current personal information to keep your SEVIS record updated

5. When do I need to contact my DSO?

You must contact your DSO immediately if any of the following has taken place:

  • If you want to reduce your course load below full-time (below 12 credits)
  • If there is a change of your Visa status, your legal name, program of study, date of completion, or a change in information on F-2 dependents, funding guarantor, or if you or your dependents are reapplying for a new I-94 to reenter the U.S.
  • If you lost your documents (I-20, visa, or passport)
  • You need to request a program withdrawal
  • If you will arrive the U.S. late or can't enter the U.S.
  • If you plan on traveling inside/outside U.S.
  • If you have questions about employment
  • If you intend to transfer schools

6. What if I was issued a form I-515A at the Port of Entry?

See your DSO immediately afterwards. You must submit the following to Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) as soon as possible to maintain your lawful status::

  • Form I-515A, Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor
  • Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status with original signatures
  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record number
  • Copy of admission stamp from Customs and Border Protection
  • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt

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