Admission Documents | Pre-Arrival and Orientation Guide | U.S. Visa Information | Review of Immigration Documents
Admission Documents and Correspondence
Applicants who successfully turn in all required documents, and who meet the admission requirements should expect to receive their Admission Packet within two weeks depending on the shipping option selected. Newly admitted students should expect to receive the following documents in their Admission Packet:
- Admission Letter
- Welcome Letter
I-20 or DS-2019
- Arrival Instructions
- Health History and Medical Form
You should continue to check your e-mail for important information about confirming your visa issuance, airport pick-up, housing, orientation, network account set-up, deferral or cancelation. Please continue to keep your e-mail address updated and check for messages from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
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Pre-Arrival and Orientation Guide
* Download the complete Pre-Arrival and Orientation Guide here. (PDF)
In the Pre-Arrival and Orientation Guide you can learn about:
- International Students and Scholars Affairs Office
- Online Services/Resources
- Paying Tuition
- Student Life
- What to Pack
- And More!
Visa Information | Getting your U.S. Visa | What to Expect at the Airport/Port of Entry | A Review of Immigration Documents
After being admitted to Western Oregon University, and proving that you have sufficient funds to cover your first academic year of study in the U.S., you should be issued an I-20 or DS-2019 immigration document.
Important things to remember:
- Double check your I-20 or DS-2019 for spelling errors or mistakes (in your name, birth date, or course of study) and make sure it matches your passport. Contact us immediately if it needs to be corrected.
- You are encouraged to apply early to get a U.S. Visa because at certain times in the year it is hard to get a visa appointment and processing times may be long.
- DO NOT buy plane tickets before you receive a visa! You may only enter the U.S. 30 days before the Program Start Date and should arrive before the first day of classes.
- If you cannot attend by the Program Start Date, you will need to contact the us to defer the I-20 or DS-2019 and attend WOU at a later term.
Before applying for a visa, it is recommended that you have general knowledge about visas, know any conditions that your visa has, and understand the rules and regulations international students must follow.
travel.state.gov website logo
The Travel.State.Gov website offers up-to-date information about visas and forms. It is highly recommended that you read this site.
Education USA Icon
The Education USA website offers information for international students planning to study in the U.S. and provides support and resources in countries around the world. Visit an Advising Center in your home country to learn what it offers.
The Homeland Security Study in the States site offers information and resources for perspective students and current students.
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Getting your U.S. Visa
Contact the U.S. Embassy in the country you will apply for a visa in. Each Embassy or Consulate may require different or additional information for the visa application process.
First, you will need to set up a visa appointment. Most of the time, this can be done online and you may need your I-20 or DS-2019 information to complete the visa appointment time registration.
Each applicant for a student visa must submit these forms and documentation as explained below.
Other Documents (with certified English translations)
All applicants should be prepared to provide:
- Admission letter to Western Oregon University;
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, IELTS, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study;
- Supporting documents which strengthen your claim that you will return to your country after completing studies;
- Other documents which may vary depending on which country you are from.
The Visa Interview and Questions
The Immigration and National Act has a strict set of requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for the student visa. At the visa interview, the consular officer will be able to determine in a few minutes whether you qualify for the visa or not. It is important that you are prepared and know the qualifications for obtaining a student visa. You must:
- Have a residence abroad with no immediate intention of abandoning that residence;
- Intend to depart from the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- Possess sufficient funds to pursue the proposed course of study.
You should expect the interview to be conducted in English and not in your native language. Since time is limited, keep your answers to the officer's questions short and to the point. Be confident and polite because the initial impressions you create are critical to your success.
visa interview questions image Click on the picture to see commonly asked U.S. Visa Interview Questions and Tips.
If you are denied a student visa, get the reasons you were denied in writing and ask the officer for a list of documents he or she would suggest you bring in order to overcome the refusal. Contact the ISSA office if we would be able to help or if you will need to defer your I-20/DS-2019 to a future term.
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What to Expect at the Airport/ Port of Entry
First you will need to plan your arrival. Review the Travel Arrangement page to learn more information about airport pick-up dates, and arrival information. Know that you should not make travel arrangements until your visa has been confirmed, and that you may be refused entry if you arrive more than 30 days before the Program Start Date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019.
Follow the links for up-to-date detailed arrival information specific to each status:
Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry … What a (F-1) Student Can Expect
Arriving at a U.S. Port of Entry … What an Exchange Visitor (J-1) Can Expect
Highlights of what to expect upon arrival:
- Due to heightened security concerns since the attacks of September 11, 2001, your carry-on and checked luggage may be thoroughly searched by airport personnel. Do not lock your bags, and know the limits on liquids you can have in your carry-on baggage.
- You should expect to go through immigration and customs inspections at the US port of entry. Allow enough time (a few hours to be safe) for immigration and customs procedures to make any connecting flights.
The following documents should be carried with you, and never packed in your checked baggage: passport, visa, I-20 form or DS-2019 form, admission letter, SEVIS I-901 fee receipt, and evidence of financial resources. Present these documents to the immigration officer.
- Be prepared to state the reason you wish to enter the United States and your final destination. An appropriate response is "to attend Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon”.
Note for transfer students: If you are traveling while transferring from another US school, your WOU SEVIS I-20 may read "transfer pending from" and the name of your previous school. If you are questioned about the "transfer pending" notation, inform the immigration officer that WOU has advised you that your transfer will be completed once you arrive on campus and register for courses.
- Answer all questions asked by the immigration officer politely and briefly. Do not offer any information that goes beyond the extent of the question asked you.
- The officer will return the documents to you after stamping the I-94 card, I-20/DS-2019, and passport page with an arrival stamp. Make sure all the documents are returned to you, and do not exit until you double check everything.
- You may be asked to go to secondary inspection if your documents or situation need additional review or processing. Immigration officers will carefully look at your documents and run additional computer checks. This is normal but may take additional time.
- After the immigration area, you will collect your baggage and pass through customs. A customs inspector will ask you to declare what you have brought into the country (such as money or gifts), inspect your bags for forbidden or restricted items, and review the customs form you filled out on the airplane.
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