International Student Visas at Meridian
International students registered for a Meridian University residency as part of their enrollment in a Meridian degree program may have the option to enter the United States on an F-1 student visa. All nonimmigrant students who apply for an F-1 visa must have been issued an I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) to present to the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. Meridian may issue an I-20 to enrolled international students who have shown proof of sufficient financial resources to cover all anticipated expenses for each residency.
Below, the international student visa process for Meridian University students is outlined. For more information, current and prospective students can contact the Financial Services Team, who handle visa services, via [email protected]
For more information about the Student Exchange & Visitor Program (SEVP) and F-1 visa requirements, visit the Student Exchange & Visitor (SEVP) Program website.
Residency Registration and Length of Stay
International students in the U.S. on F-1 student visas are required to engage in residency coursework on a full-time basis (scheduled to attend the full weeklong residency).
International F-1 students enrolled in a Meridian degree program and registered for a weeklong residency may enter the United States up to 30 days before the residency begins and remain in the U.S. up to 60 days after the residency has ended. Students are responsible for ensuring they comply with applicable immigration laws and comply with all conditions and terms applicable to their F-1 visa.
Students can reference the Academic Calendar for scheduled residency dates and locations. Note that for residencies conducted outside of the U.S., no visa services are available from the University.
Receiving Form I-20
A Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) is a United States government form on which Meridian University certifies to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that a student is eligible to receive an F-1 visa. This form certifies that the student:
- Has registered for a Meridian University weeklong residency associated with an enrollment in a Meridian degree program, or will be registering for such a residency as soon as the course registration period for the applicable quarter has opened.
- Has satisfied the University’s admission requirements and has been admitted. (Per Meridian policy, students must also be currently enrolled to receive an I-20 and must explicitly request an I-20.)
- Has provided evidence of sufficient financial resources for current and future residencies— for the total number of residencies required for completion of their specific degree.
F-1 Student Visa Applicant Requirements
F-1 visa applicants who are seeking to enter the United States in order to attend a Meridian University residency need to meet a number of criteria.
- Have a foreign residence and must intend to return there upon completion of the residency;
- Study only at Meridian during their time in the U.S. using the F-1 visa applied for with a Meridian University I-20.
- Have sufficient financial resources needed to attend each residency required for their Meridian degree program.
- Have strong ties to their home country (e.g. financial, property, or commercial assets and family).
Note that spouses and minor children of F-1 students may be able to obtain F-2 visa status.
Applying for an F-1 Student Visa
All students, except those coming from Canada or Bermuda, will need to obtain an F-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate in the student’s home country as soon as possible after receiving the I-20 from Meridian’s Financial Services Team. This will involve completing the online DS-160 visa application form and having an in-person visa appointment scheduled. Processing times will vary. Students should contact their local U.S. embassy or consulate for details on current procedures and processing times.
Students will need the following documents to apply for an F-1 visa:
- Meridian University Acceptance Letter
- Form I-20 issued by Meridian University for the specific residency
- SEVIS fee payment receipt
- Original copies of financial resources documentation
- Other supporting materials (as needed)
The documents should be brought to a U.S. embassy or consulate in the student’s home country as soon as possible after receiving the I-20 from Meridian’s Financial Services Team, preferably with an appointment to avoid waiting.
Processing times will vary. Students should contact their local U.S. embassy or consulate for details on current procedures and processing times.
The U.S. Consulate will provide immigration documents in a sealed envelope which may not be opened by the student. The U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) will open the envelope upon the student’s arrival in the U.S.
Obtaining a Form I-20
The I-20 Request Form can be accessed here.
SEVIS Forms and Information:
- SEVIS Fee
- Estimated Expenses for I-20 Insurance
- Maintaining your F-1 Status
- Room and Board Certification
International students who need to submit any of these forms must contact [email protected]