University of New Hampshire

School of Law

School of Law

International Students - Your Visa and Entering the U.S.

Applying for a Visa

Apply for a student visa (F-1 or J-1) at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you. Payment of the SEVIS fee is required before you apply. Go to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for more information and to pay the fee. Print a copy of the receipt and bring it to the U.S. Embassy, together with your Form I-20 or DS-2019, a valid passport, original financial statements and other supporting documents. Make sure your documents are organized so you can provide them quickly if asked. The same goes for your dependents who will come on F-2 or J-2 visas, except that they don't have to pay the SEVIS fee. You will be required to appear for a personal interview when you apply for a student visa.

Read more>> Obtaining your student visa

Tips for a successful visa interview

Be Courteous
Be friendly and courteous to the consular officer at all times.

Speak English if Needed
Be prepared for an interview in English.

Ties to Your Community
You must overcome the presumption that you are an intending immigrant by showing strong connections to your home country in the form of property ownership, a job, social/family ties and professional involvement.

Be Concise
Be aware consular officers are under considerable time pressure to make a decision quickly, so their first impressions of you are critical. Your responses to the officer's questions should be short, clear and to the point. Speak slowly.

Who to Bring to Interview
Bring to the interview only those family members who are accompanying you to the U.S.


Be Positive
Do not argue with the officer. If you are denied a visa, ask the officer a reason for the denial. If applicable, ask for a list of documentation that you may bring in order to reverse the decision. If you can, get the officer's name.

UNH Law Programs
Be prepared to discuss the program you are hoping to pursue in the U.S. and how it can benefit you upon your return to your country.

Military Service Questions
For male applicants who are subject to mandatory military service, be prepared to explain how you will comply.

Supporting Your Family
For married students whose spouse and children are staying behind, be prepared to address how they will be supported in your absence.

Dress professionally as if you were attending a business meeting or a job interview.

* Once you have your U.S. visa, keep your passport, financial documents and form I-20 or DS-2019 with you when you first enter the U.S. Do not pack these documents in the suitcase.

Entering the United States

At your first U.S. port of entry, you will be asked to present your passport, I-20 or DS-2019 and an I-94 Arrival-Departure Card (which you will get from the airline) and submit to a short interview with the immigration officer. Make sure the officer stamps your I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 card with F-1 or J-1 and D/S for Duration of Status. Your picture and fingerprints will be taken at this time.

Everyone is especially cautious since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, so please pay close attention to what is going on around you. Listen carefully and follow closely all instructions given by security and transportation personnel. Do not leave any baggage unattended in a public place. Do not accept any package from anyone you do not know or someone who is not boarding the plane.

Have your immigration documents in a safe but accessible place, do not pack them in your suitcase!  Have American dollars available for your transit and your first few days in Concord, NH.

Changing to F-1 Status

If you are in the United States, on a non-student U.S. visa, you may have to file a Petition to Change Status to F-1 (Form I-539). Contact the international student advisor if you have any questions.

SEVIS Record Transfer from a U.S. University to UNH Law

If you are already in the United States and have been attending another educational institution, we will provide you with a Transfer Form to be completed by you and your current International Student Advisor.

Contact UNH Law's International Student Advisor, Christine Rousseau to facilitate the transfer of your SEVIS records from your current school to UNH Law.