Drew University will issue an I-20 form (F-1) or the DS-2019 (J-1) for student visa applications for newly admitted students who have met all documentation requirements for their degree program (generally, verification of financial support and submission of any enrollment deposit).
You must have a passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States.
If you are currently abroad and do not yet have a valid U.S. student visa, you generally apply for one at the U.S. embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it is generally more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
You should apply for your visa well in advance of the date you would like to depart for Drew University. Most U.S. consulates allow students and scholars to apply up to 120 days prior to your program start date.
Remember that you are required to show proof of having paid the Federal SEVIS I-901 fee when you appear for your visa interview. Holiday and vacation periods are very busy times at the U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, and it is important for you to have your visa in time to arrive and begin orientation and registration activities no later than the start date on your I-20.
Appointments are now mandatory for all student visas, and some U.S. embassies and consulates require that appointments be made at least 4 to 8 weeks in advance. All U.S. embassies and consulates have a Web site where you can read the latest information on visa procedures. Locate the embassy or consulate near you. In some cases you may be asked to complete an online visa application (form DS-160) prior to visiting the embassy.
For information on waiting times for student visa appointments, review this guide, provided by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.
If you plan to attend Drew, you must present the visa officer with an I-20 issued by Drew University. You cannot apply for a U.S. visa using another school’s I-20 and then try to attend Drew, as that is considered to be a fraudulent entry by the U.S. Immigration authorities.
Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a U.S. visa to enter the United States. However, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will inspect your papers, either at a pre-inspection site in Canada or upon entry to the United States. You must have with you:
It is essential that you enter the United States in the appropriate status – be sure to have complete documentation with you.
Be sure to bring the following with you to the visa appointment:
Under U.S. law, all applicants for nonimmigrant visas, such as student visas, are viewed as intending immigrants until they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. “Ties” to your home country are the things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. If you are a prospective undergraduate, the interviewing officer may ask about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans and career prospects in your home country.
Each person’s situation is different, of course, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter which can guarantee visa issuance. If you have applied for the U.S. Green Card Lottery, you may be asked if you are intending to immigrate. A simple answer would be that you applied for the lottery since it was available but not with a specific intent to immigrate. If you overstayed your authorized stay in the United States previously, be prepared to explain what happened clearly and concisely, with documentation, if available.
Anticipate that the interview will be conducted in English and not in your native language. One suggestion is to practice English conversation with a native speaker before the interview, but do NOT prepare speeches! If you are coming to the United States solely to study intensive English, be prepared to explain how English will be useful for you in your home country.
Do not bring parents or family members with you to the interview. The consular officer wants to interview you, not your family. A negative impression is created if you are not prepared to speak on your own behalf. If you are a minor applying for a high school program and need your parents there is case there are questions, for example about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United States, you may not succeed in convincing the consular officer that you are indeed planning to study, rather than to immigrate. You should also be able to explain how studying in the United States relates to your future professional career when you return home.
Because of the volume of applications received, all consular officers are under considerable time pressure to conduct a quick and efficient interview. They must make a decision, for the most part, on the impressions they form during the first minute of the interview. Consequently, what you say first and the initial impression you create are critical to your success. Keep your answers to the officer’s questions short and to the point.
It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be quickly read or evaluated. Remember that you will have 2-3 minutes of interview time, if you are lucky.
Applicants from countries suffering economic problems or from countries where many students have remained in the United States as immigrants will have more difficulty getting visas. Statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending immigrants. They are also more likely to be asked about job opportunities at home after their study in the United States.
Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work before or after graduation. While many students do work off-campus during their studies, such employment is incidental to their main purpose of completing their U.S. education. You must be able to clearly articulate your plan to return home at the end of your program. If your spouse is also applying for an accompanying F-2 visa, be aware that F-2 dependents cannot, under any circumstances, be employed in the United States. If asked, be prepared to address what your spouse intends to do with his or her time while in the United States. Volunteer work and attending school part-time are permitted activities.
If your spouse and children are remaining behind in your country, be prepared to address how they will support themselves in your absence. This can be an especially tricky area if you are the primary source of income for your family. If the consular officer gains the impression that your family will need you to remit money from the United States in order to support themselves, your student visa application will almost certainly be denied. If your family does decide to join you at a later time, it is helpful to have them apply at the same post where you applied for your visa.
Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal, and try to get the reason you were denied in writing.
This information is provided by NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
Move-In Day for new international students is Sunday, August 19, 2018. The mandatory International Orientation will begin on Sunday, August 19th. Classes at Drew begin on Monday, August 27, 2018
International students are expected to arrive in the U.S. on move-in day. If you arrive prior to the reporting date, please make arrangements to stay at a local hotel.
Students will receive official Fall 2018 Orientation Schedule with session locations on move-in day – Click Here for Tentative Schedule.
International Student & Scholar Services provides an orientation program for new international students prior to start of their academic program at Drew. This program is designed to provide students with helpful information to facilitate a positive transition to life in the U.S and to the University.
With the assistance of the staff and faculty at Drew, new students will learn important information about:
Undergraduate students entering the College of Liberal Arts are required to live on campus and each student must complete a housing application with Residence Life. Graduate and Theological School students who plan to live on campus must also apply for on-campus housing in graduate apartments through the office of Residence Life. All students are advised as to housing options during the admissions process. The following staff members can provide detailed information about on-campus housing.
College of Liberal Arts & Graduate and Theological Schools
Undergraduate Housing Coordinator
Undergraduate residence halls close during several breaks and holidays throughout the academic year and during summer months (Thanksgiving Break in the third week of November; Winter Break beginning mid-December; January Term beginning the first week of January; Spring Break beginning the second week of March). Residents are required to vacate the residence halls during these times.
Undergraduate international students wishing to stay in residence halls during such periods pay an additional fee per night (approximately $48 nightly), and temporarily relocate so that all students living on campus during break periods reside in one residence hall. Contact Undergraduate Housing at x3681 if you would like to remain in campus housing during any of these periods.
Graduate and Theological housing does not close at any time during the year, and Grad and Theo students are not required to relocate or pay additional fees during breaks and holidays.
Northern New Jersey has a varying climate with four distinct seasons:
Temperatures vary considerably from year to year. During spring, summer and fall, moderate periods of rainfall occur; snow falls periodically during the winter months.
Three basic types of clothing are essential:
Most students like to bring examples of arts, crafts, traditional dress, photographs, tapes or CDs, maps or other items descriptive of their country and culture to show interested Americans and to provide a touch of home to their new homes. You may want to bring items you use regularly that may not be readily available or may be more expensive in the United States, such as eyeglasses, cameras, watches, traditional pre-packaged foods or portable music players. You may also have the opportunity to visit a duty-free port where such items may be purchased at a reduced cost.
Basic furniture is provided in the campus residence halls, but the below items are not; you will need these during your stay. If you do not bring these items with you, we organize a trip to a store during orientation so that you can purchase them within the first few days of your arrival. However, please bring a pillow, towel and sheets for at least the first few nights. We do not provide linens in the dorm room for students.
Also consult the list of items recommended for dormitory living, provided by the Office of Residence Life. These are items you may wish to purchase after arriving on campus.
On-campus apartments for Graduate and Theological students are very sparsely furnished. The Residence Director for Grad/Theo can provide access to a limited supply of used household goods (pots, pans, utensils, furniture, appliances, decorations, etc.) that have been donated by past residents and community members. To browse the available items, contact the Grad/Theo Residence Director at x3055.
You can obtain a booklet on customs regulations at the consulate or embassy where you acquire your visa. Prohibited items include some foodstuffs, narcotics and items for resale. For more information, visit these Web sites of the US Customs Service: TSA Prohibited Items, and TSA quantity limitations for liquids, aerosols, and gels (toiletries).
Due to new immigration policies you will not be allowed into the U.S. more than 30 days before the start date on your I-20 or DS-2019. You should have your financial certification documents to show the Port of Entry officer when you enter the U.S. If you have problems entering the country and the officer wants to speak with a representative from Drew University, you can call during office hours (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) at (973) 408-3111.
Taking a taxi is the easiest way to get from the airport to Drew University. On the baggage claim level there is a station for taxis. My Limo offers taxi service to Drew University from Newark (about $65 plus tip and tolls). Please make prior arrangements with My Limo if you want a taxi service to meet you outside the Customs area at the airport. If you can’t make prior arrangements there are usually plenty of other taxis at the airport, but the fare may be higher. Make sure you agree with the taxi driver on the fare, plus tolls, before you leave the airport.
If you don’t have much baggage, you can also take the AirTrain Newark Train from the Newark Liberty Airport to Secaucus Station and then change trains to New Jersey Transit Dover line which goes to Madison, NJ (where Drew University is). For walking directions from the Madison train station, please see the maps and directions portion of the Drew website.
It is also possible to get to Drew from JFK airport by taxi. “Airport Express Taxi offers services to Drew for $105 plus $15.75 tip and $1.00 per bag. Please make prior arrangements. From US – 1-888-566-6665. Outside US – 1-973-701-7884. There is also an area for taxis in case you could not make prior arrangements. These fares could be as high as $160.00 plus a 15% tip and tolls ($16). Make sure to arrange the price before you leave in the taxi. Most taxi drivers only take US dollars, not credit cards or traveler checks. You can also get to Drew by public transit. Take the AirTrain to the Howard Beach/JFK Subway stop for the A Train. Take the A train to Penn Station. For directions from Penn Station to the Madison train station, please see the maps and directions portion of Drew’s website.
Taking a taxi is the easiest way to get to Drew University. The taxis can be found on the baggage claim level. “Airport Express Taxi” offers a taxi service to Drew University from La Guardia for about $95 plus a $14.25 tip and about $16 in tolls. Please make prior arrangements with the company (from US 1-888-566-6665 or outside US: 1-973-701-7884). If you didn’t make arrangements beforehand you can usually still get a taxi, but the fare could be as high as $150.00 plus a 15% tip. Make sure to arrange the price before you get in the taxi.
If you are planning to stay in a hotel before you move into the residence hall, or if you would like a friend or family member to visit you, Drew University provides a list of nearby hotels on our website.
Once you have obtained your U.S. student visa, you are ready to finalize your travel plans. Be sure to have your Form I-20 (for F-1 visas) Or DS-2019 (J-1 visas) and your proof of the SEVIS fee payment with your passport when you go through your immigration inspection at the U.S. port of entry. Do not pack your immigration documents in your suitcase!
DO NOT enter on another school’s Certificate of Eligibility, as that is considered to be a fraudulent entry by the U.S. Immigration authorities.
DO NOT attempt to enter the United States with large sums of money unless you declare it with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is a US federal law that anyone carrying more than $10,000 in a monetary instrument of any form must declare that money or risk having it seized by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.
DO NOT attempt to enter the United States on a visitor/tourist visa (B-2) unless it is designated “Prospective Student” by a consular officer or unless you will be doing short “incidental study” only. The U.S. Immigration Service rarely authorizes a change of status from B-2 to F-1.You will be prevented from enrolling in school until your change of status application is approved, which could take several months.
DO NOT attempt to enter the United States under the visa waiver program (unless you intend to do incidental study in ESL), available to citizens from nearly 30 countries throughout the world. The waiver program is designed for tourists only, and attending school (apart from “incidental study”) under the waiver program is a clear violation of U.S. immigration law.
Expect to go through both immigration and customs inspection at the U.S. port of entry. You may also be required to go through a pre-inspection procedure at certain airports abroad.
At the immigration booth, present your passport, your I-20, your proof of the SEVIS I-901 fee payment and your completed I-94 arrival/departure card (if the card was distributed on the airplane). Expect to have your fingers scanned for fingerprint purposes and a digital photograph taken, as required by U.S. federal regulations.
In the vast majority of cases, there will be no difficulty. In certain cases, if there is some problem with your documents, you may be issued a 30-day entry on your I-94 card and issued a form I-515, usually with instructions to see your international student advisor.
Examine your I-94 card and I-20 carefully as you leave the immigration booth. F-1 students should have their I-94s marked “D/S” which means Duration of Status, along with a stamp indicating the date you entered the United States. The same stamp and “D/S” notation should also be on the I-20. If an expiration date is written on the I-94 instead of “D/S,” and you are in F or J status, come to the Office of International Student Services as soon as possible.
Anyone who is denied admission at a U.S. port of entry should be very cautious about arguing with the immigration official. You may risk being issued “expedited removal,” which now entails a five-year bar on admission to the United States. If you are denied admission, first try to contact the Office of International Student Services for assistance, but also make it known to the immigration official that you are willing to withdraw your application for admission to the country rather than be subject to expedited removal.