U.S. Student Visa
You may apply for your visa up to 120 days prior to your start date. Please check the embassy website for information on how to schedule your appointment. Enter the following information for a contact person on the visa application form:
Name: Lucy Dawson
Phone: (325) 674-2237.
1600 Campus Court
ACU BOX 29000
Abilene, Texas 79699
Ten Points to Remember when Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa
(Modified from NAFSA, Association of International Educators & the U.S. Department of State)
1. Ties to your home country: 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 countries are the things that bind you to your hometown, 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 and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate, or letter that will guarantee visa issuance. \
2. Documentation: Evidence of sufficient funds to cover expenses as well as evidence of scholastic preparation may be requested. Make sure to include your letter of acceptance from ACU along with your I-20. If you have immediate family members (parents, siblings) in the U.S., be prepared to explain why they are here and what they are doing in the U.S. It should be immediately clear to the consular officer what written documents you are presenting and what they signify. Lengthy written explanations cannot be read quickly or evaluated. Remember that the interview time is typically less than ten minutes. For additional information, please see the web sites listed on next page.
3. Language: 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. Americans generally use direct eye contact when communicating so it is advisable to do the same.
4. Speak for Yourself: 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 (under age 18) and need your parents there in case there are questions, for example about funding, they should wait in the waiting room.
5. Know the program and how it fits your career plans: If you are not able to articulate the reasons you will study in a particular program in the United Sates, 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 U. S. relates to your future professional career when you return home. Lastly, be prepared to answer the following question: What will you do if your visa application is denied?
6. Be brief: 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 and remember to speak clearly.
7. Not all countries are equal: Applicants from countries with a history of terrorist activities may encounter additional scrutiny. Countries suffering economic problems or applicants from countries where students have remained in the U.S. as immigrants may have more difficulty obtaining visas – statistically, applicants from those countries are more likely to be intending to immigrate. If you are from such a country, you may be asked about job opportunities at home after your study in the U.S.
8. Employment: Your main purpose in coming to the United States should be to study, not for the chance to work after graduation. While a number of students do work over the course of their studies, such employment requires authorization and is incidental to the 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.
9. Apply in your home country: Applicants for student visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.
10. Maintain a positive attitude: Do not engage the consular officer in an argument. If you are denied a student visa, request the reason you were denied in writing and ask the officer for a list of documents to bring in order to overcome the denial.
NAFSA would like to credit Gerald A. Wunsch, Esq., 1997, then a member of the Consular Issues Working Group, and a former U. S. Consular Officer in Mexico, Suriname, and the Netherlands, and Martha Wailes of Indiana University for their contributions to this document. NAFSA also appreciates the input of the U. S. Department of State.
Additional information may be found on the websites listed below:
- Study in the States - Everything you need to know and links to forms!
- International Travel Info - U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Student Visa Info - Student visa link for site listed above
- EducationUSA - Your Guide to Higher Education in the United States
- USCIS - General Immigration Services
Please note that the web pages may not be completely up to date at all times.
Consular officials want to know: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ACU?
Some people choose ACU because it is with the Christian denomination called "Church of Christ." If you are familiar with this denomination, ACU is very well respected among the leaders of the churches of Christ. One very popular American pastor and author, Max Lucado, is a graduate and frequent visitor at ACU, and there are many others.
Other students choose ACU because it is a conservative Christian university (all the faculty are Christians) with very high academic standards. The professors here have Ph.ds from places like Yale, Harvard, Notre Dame, Duke University & Vanderbilt University.
It is big enough to offer many majors, services and activities (such as services for international students), yet small enough to have every class taught by a professor and not graduate students, with a ratio of about 16 students per faculty member.
The faculty in the School of Theology are all experienced in other parts of the world. In fact, several faculty are immigrants and bring other perspectives to their classroom in the study of Scriptures.
ACU is also very forward-thinking. It was one of the first universities to implement the use of iphones on campus. It has been well-ranked in the US News and World Report rankings. Find out more of our honors and awards.
Lastly, ACU is located in a small city in West Texas (pop. 120,000). While this may seem "out of the way" to many people (3 hours' drive from Dallas), it is also a calm and safe place, where people are very friendly and helpful.