royalrange

F1 visa interview - end of July too late for Fall?

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I have only finished paying my SEVIS fee and filling in my DS-160 today. My grad program starts at the end of August and the orientation 1 week before that. I have yet to apply for accommodation but I will start looking this week.

Is near the end of July too late to take the F-1 visa interview? Should I just ask for a deferral to Spring instead?

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Unless they flag you for administrative processing, you should get your passport with the visa stamp back within a few days following the interview. In that case having an interview in the last week of July should be fine. The main difficulty might be with logistics, if you want to wait with booking a flight and figuring out housing until after you have the visa so you're sure you can move. It's not impossible, but it might be somewhat stressful. 

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Thanks. Also do you know whether it is acceptable to write the address of the school in the "Place where you will stay in the U.S." field, since I haven't finalized my housing yet? I have read online from some F-1 visa students that that is what they write in the DS-160 form, although I am not sure if this is acceptable. Also, if I do finalize my housing, is there a way to amend the form later on? Say if I finalize my housing before the interview, do I need to print a new DS-160 form to the interview? Or do I just explain to the consular officer that I have recently found a place on or near campus? If I find housing after the interview, how do I amend the form?

Once I arrive land at an airport, will immigration officers question me on why I wrote the school address in the DS-160 form?

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1. Writing the school's address seems reasonable to me, if you don't have something more permanent yet.

2-3. To my knowledge, there is no way to update the DS-160 once you submit it, so you'll just explain that your address has changed in the interview, if asked (I doubt it'll come up, though). You won't the first or last person not to have accommodations pre-arranged, so don't worry about this too much. 

4. After the interview the DS-160 doesn't matter anymore and you don't need to update it. 

5. If anyone asks when you cross the border, you simply explain that you didn't have permanent accommodations so you gave your school's address because that's where you could be reached. Simple as that. Again, I doubt anyone is going to ask. 

Disclaimer: I am not an immigration lawyer. Ask your school's ISO if in doubt. 

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Just to add: the person reviewing your paperwork when you enter the US will almost always ask you again where you plan to stay the first night. Even if you already provided this information before! If you book a flight to the US, your airline might also ask because it's part of the protocol. And even if you tell your airline, the border agent might ask again. So just be truthful and always provide the best answer at the time. It's okay if the answer isn't always the same since plans can change. I'm just telling you this since if you get the question at the border, don't panic, it's a standard question and it doesn't necessarily mean that they think something bad is going on!

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Thanks. I am also wondering are there any ramifications to deferring admission AFTER getting an F-1 visa?

Here's my situation:

As stated, I am in a tight schedule. I am still looking for housing and I don't know if I can find a place in time for the Fall. Furthermore, I am currently working and I need to give a month's notice to resign. I am not sure if I can take some leave during the last week or two of my work, but I can check. If I resign and then discover that I can't find housing then I won't be able to attend and I will be jobless. Whereas if I get the F-1 visa and find housing, I might be too late in making the decision to resign and still make it to the Fall.

Do I need to explain my situation to the consular officer? Or can I just attend the visa interview (in a week's time), get the F-1 visa, and defer and ask for a new I-20 if need be? Will that have legal ramifications later on, as it will be almost equivalent to lying to the consular officer about when I will be attending? Is there any problem with obtaining the F-1 visa and immediately deferring?

Or should I just cancel the visa interview, defer now, and get a new I-20?

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I strongly advise you to talk to the International Students Office at your school about these questions. This is too specific for us to give general advice, and we are not immigration lawyers or specialists.

I think you have to enter the US within a certain date after whatever is stated on your I-20 (30 days, I think? but in the Trump era, who knows anymore), so if you defer by a semester you may have to redo the entire process, including SEVIS and visa (but again, you need to check this with a professional). I'm pretty sure you can't just get a visa and then not attend starting whenever the I-20 says you should, and be able to use the same paperwork for what would then be a different course of study as far as immigration is concerned. 

would suggest not telling this story to anyone when you have your interview, simply because it's not relevant. Unless you've decided to defer, in which case going for the interview is a waste of time and money, you go because your current plan as of the time of the interview is to start school in the fall. The complications with housing and your job aren't relevant to the interview. That's for you to figure out. Most international students can figure out housing from afar, and hopefully you can do the same, even if it's not ideal for the first year. There's subletting, university housing, paying a realtor to help, using local connections through your future department/university. I'm not saying it's easy (been there, done that, I remember the stress it came with), but it's doable. You just need to make a decision and start making a plan. 

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You are making too big of a deal about housing. Housing is the least of your worries. Even here in the US, most of us are coming from a distance and because we are usually already students, cost to travel to a place simply to get housing is prohibitive, so we negotiate from a distance. In the last 2-3 weeks, I have seen many sublets and roommate situations come available on one of the FB sites for my new university. Ask the department about various social media pages/sites that could help you find housing.

You are in the procrastination stage. We all go through that. The reality has hit that you are going to move to a different country and you are having doubts and subconsciously finding excuses. This is a BIG thing. I went through it in May--simply contemplating packing up and moving a few states away. I'm still having moments of trepidation and it will continue until I show up for teaching orientation on August 14. You have to power through this and do it anyway.

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2 hours ago, royalrange said:

Thanks guys. Just an update. The department has just stated that they no longer allow deferrals. So next week will be the decisive factor.

If you are able to get the visa on time, you should stick to your plan to start this fall. It is very common for students in North America to only settle on housing a month before the lease begins and/or just after they arrive. (Some places have different timelines though). If your program begins at the end of August, you could also look for Sept 1 start dates for a lease and just stay in a motel or hotel between your arrival and Sept 1. I know many students who don't have any housing set up at all when they first arrive, and spend a week or two living in a motel to sort that out. Not ideal, but certainly doable.

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Hey guys. Just an update. The result is in. The visa interview was a breeze. The consular officer said I should be able to get the passport with visa back by the end of the week. I'm hoping nothing else goes wrong at this point.

I'm going to sort my finance/housing issue and successfully enroll in the school before I start celebrating.

Here's a tip for anyone in the future: Don't faff around and get shit done early. I learned my lesson. The past few weeks have been very stressful for me because I neglected to do things in a timely manner, plus things could have gone wrong such as being put on administrative hold, etc.

Edited by royalrange

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Hey Man, I was following your thread as I am in a similar situation and applying for a VISA for the Spring Semester.

I would like to know what did you finally put in the "Address Where You Will Stay in the U.S.". Was it the school address? And what were the questions asked of it? 
I am also in a similar situation where I am applying for VISA, without concrete housing plans as of now.

Thanks.

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