Immigration

  • Important procedures that will save you time and trouble

    To help international students at Gannon University maintain the proper status and file the necessary paperwork, we have outlined several concerns to be addressed and steps that must be taken below. They include:

    Passports

    International students must obtain a passport from their government under whatever regulations apply in their home country for permission to travel abroad and re-enter. The passport, which also serves as proof of identification, must be kept valid at all times. If it expires while you are in the United States, revalidate it through your country's Consulate or Embassy as soon as possible. Your passport should remain valid until at least 6 months after your program end date. If you lose your passport, file for a replacement at your Consulate or Embassy.

    SEVIS Fee Requirement

    All F-1 visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee of US $200; All J-1 visa applicants are required to pay a SEVIS fee of $180. (This is in addition to any application fees that must be paid at the US Embassy/Consulate). This I-901 SEVIS fee is required by the US Department of Homeland Security to fund the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. This fee is NOT required by Gannon University; it is required by the United States government. The SEVIS fee must be paid BEFORE you visit the US Embassy/Consulate for your F-1 or J-1 visa appointment. You will be required to provide proof of payment to the US Embassy/Consulate in order to have your appointment. The proof of payment is the receipt that you will receive after you pay the fee.

    How do I pay the SEVIS fee?

    The SEVIS fee can be paid for by one of two ways:

    1. Electronically, by completing form I-901 on the Internet with a credit card. Please visit the following website to submit your payment by credit card: http://www.fmjfee.com. You will need to use a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card. This is the quickest way to pay the fee. You will need to print the receipt directly from your computer and bring it with you to your visa appointment. Gannon University recommends that you use this option to ensure timely processing of your SEVIS fee payment.
    2. By mail, by submitting Form I-901 (enclosed) together with a check or money order (not cash) drawn on a US bank and payable in US currency. Ensure your payment envelope has your correct return address. Also, be sure the envelope has both your payment and your coupon or Form I-901. (NOTE: This process can dramatically delay your application process as you must wait for a receipt to be mailed back to you BEFORE you have your F-1 visa appointment).

      Send to:

      By Mail:
      1-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
      PO Box 970020
      St. Louis, MO 63197-0020
      United States

      By Courier:
      1-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee
      1005 Convention Plaza
      St. Louis, MO 63101
      United States
      Phone: 1-314-418-8833

    (United States Country Code 011)
    NOTE: The SEVIS fee is non-refundable even if you are denied the F-1 visa. However, if you reapply for new F-1 visa within 12 months of the denial, you will not have to pay the fee again.

    For more information regarding the SEVIS fee, please visit the following web page: www.fmjfee.com 

    Visas

    To enter the United States, international students (except for Canadian citizens) and their accompanying dependents (spouse and/or children) must obtain a visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Depending upon diplomatic relations between the U.S. and your country, the visa stamp will be issued for either one, two, or multiple entries and will have a specific expiration date after which a new U.S. visa stamp must be obtained to enter or re-enter the United States. The expiration date does not determine how long you may stay in the United States. You may remain in the U.S. with an expired visa stamp as long as you follow procedures to maintain your status.

    Ordinarily, students studying in the United States obtain F-1 student visas or J-1 exchange visitor visas and their accompanying dependents obtain F-2 or J-2 visas, respectively. If parents, in-laws aunts, uncles, siblings, etc. will accompany you to the U.S., these individuals will not qualify for a dependent visa. In most cases they must obtain a B-2 (Visitor for Pleasure) visa.

    Applying for a Visa Stamp

    United States Consulates and Embassies establish their own procedures for visa applications. You should determine in advance the procedures at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you will apply for your visa. Generally, students are required to present their passports, complete a visa application form, and submit a Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) with original or notarized copies of the guarantee of financial support.

    You should be prepared to submit original documents of financial guarantee that you submitted to Gannon, to the Consulate or Embassy, if required. Consulate or Embassy staff will review your study intentions and ask that you provide proof that you are coming to the U.S. temporarily for the purpose of studying and that you intend to return home upon completion of your studies. If you meet these criteria, you will be issued the appropriate student visa (F-1 or J-1). Qualifying dependents will be issued F-2 or J-2 visas, respectively.

    The most common grounds for denial of a visa are inability to prove intent to return home and inadequate financial documentation.

    Important Information

    You are expected to attend the college or university which issued the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) that you presented to obtain your visa. The name of the school is usually marked on the visa page of your passport. If you have already obtained a visa other than F-1 or J-1 in your passport, you should be aware that entering the U.S. on that visa may jeopardize your ability to become a student.

    If you have a B-2 (Visitor for Pleasure) visa DO NOT use it to enter the U.S. You must apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy. However, if the B-2 is marked “Prospective Student” you may use that to enter the U.S., but you must then apply for a change of status upon arrival at Gannon University.

    If you are the citizen of a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Pilot Program, which enables entry into the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa stamp in the passport, DO NOT enter the U.S. under this program. Changes of status after arrival in the U.S. are prohibited. You must apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.