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Travel and Visas

Where and When to Apply for a Visa

Apply for visa at a U.S. consulate in your home country.  Some students may be able to apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in a country other than your home country.  This is called a “third-country national (TCN)” application.  Not all U.S. consulates accept TCN applications, and this practice is not encouraged by the Department of State.  It can be risky to apply in a country other than your home country, and you may encounter greater processing delays.  You will not be able to re-enter the U.S. while your application is being adjudicated or if your application is denied.  Students are encouraged to return to their home country during long breaks (such as summer or winter) to apply for a new visa.

Studying Abroad

Students in valid F-1 or J-1 (except for current exchange students) status may participate in the study abroad and exchange programs offered at Georgia Southern.  While planning to participate on a study abroad, students in valid F-1/J-1 status should ensure they have a valid passport,  and F-1/J-1 visa and authorized travel signature that do not expire prior to returning to the U.S.  You should also carefully review the entry requirements for the country where you will study for citizens of your home country.  For example, if you are a Nigerian citizen who plans to study in France, your entry requirements may differ from U.S. citizen participants attending the program.  No matter what, be sure to consult with your International Student Advisor prior to studying abroad to see if and how these plans may affect your F-1 or J-1 status.

Inviting Family Members to Visit the U.S.

During your studies at GS you may want to invite your parents or other family members to visit. Here are some suggestions to help them apply for a visitor’s visa (B-2) at a US consulate or embassy in their home country.

To facilitate their visa interview process you should do the following:

  • Write a letter of invitation. Include the purpose of the visit, your relationship to the individuals, a statement of your status here, itinerary details and the length of time they will be visiting (usually less than three months). It is best to emphasize the temporary nature of the invitation and to demonstrate their intention to return to their home country following the visit. If you will provide their financial support while they are here, include that information as well.
  • Include an Enrollment Certification Letter (may be requested online from the Registrar’s Office) to confirm your student status. Graduate students who hold an RA/TA appointment may want to also attach a departmental funding letter.
  • If you are graduating and they are traveling to attend your commencement ceremony, provide fill out the graduation invitation letter request form.
  • For additional information about U.S. consulate/embassy locations and application procedures, review the U.S. Department of State visa information.

Providing your family members with this documentation may improve their chances of obtaining a visa; however, there is no guarantee a visa will be issued. The success of their request for a visa lies in their ability to prove that they have no intention of staying permanently in the U.S.

Please note that IPS advisers are unable to write letter of invitation for your family members.

Issues Re-Entering the United States

If you have repeatedly had trouble entering the U.S., you may have a “flag” on your record. The reasons may vary, but you can ask to have the Department of Homeland Security review your record which may eliminate the problem. Request assistance here: https://www.dhs.gov/dhs-trip.

Last updated: 10/15/2018