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Are there financial aid and scholarships for international applicants?

International students do not qualify for U.S. federal and state Financial Aid.  You may research scholarship opportunities at IEFA, a scholarship search engine which focuses on international students.  Please also contact EducationUSA. If you obtain a scholarship, please contact the Office of Financial Aid to learn more about SVA's Matching Outside Scholarship program.

SVA awards partial tuition scholarships to new undergraduate students entering the fall semester through the Silas H. Rhodes Scholarship program. All applicants, including international students, citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for scholarship.  Scholarships are primarily available to full-time students seeking admission to the fall semester who possess a minimum 3.0 GPA. Scholarships are based on academic and creative merit. To be considered for a scholarship, first-time freshmen must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by February 1. Transfer applicants must submit all admissions and scholarship materials postmarked by March 1. Please contact the Office of Admissions for further information.

Can I submit a photocopy of the DOF/VOF?

No, original documents are required. Signatures on the Declaration of Finances Form must be in ink.  A photocopy of bank documents are normally not accepted unless the bank has signed or stamped it to certify the copy.  It is recommended that applicants obtain two sets of documents and retain one set of original documents for the visa interview.


When is the deadline for submitting the DOF/VOF documents?

The DOF/VOF documents may be submitted together with the rest of your application materials or after you are offered admission to SVA.  These documents are required to issue your visa, and do not affect your eligibility for admission.  Due to the time required to apply for the visa, there is a recommended application deadline of March 31 for the summer semester; May 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester.

When can I receive my I-20?

The Certificate of Eligibility, Form I-20 will be issued to students who have paid the enrollment fee and have submitted a sufficient DOF/VOF, as soon as possible upon completing the application file.  You will receive an email with the FedEx tracking number when the I-20 is issued.

What type of visa do I need to study at SVA?

Most international students at SVA apply for the F-1 student visa or J-1 exchange visitor visa.

How do I get a visa?

Once you have received an offer of admission and submitted your enrollment fee, a sufficient and official (original) Declaration of Finance form (DOF) and Verification of Finances (VOF), the Certificate of Eligibility, Form I-20 or DS-2019 will be sent via FedEx express mail as soon as possible. You must take these forms with other required documents to your local U.S. embassy. Required documents include a valid passport, the original letter of acceptance from SVA, evidence of financial support, proof of permanent residency outside of the U.S., the visa application form, two photographs in a specified format, and the SEVIS fee payment receipt.

How long does it take to apply for a visa?

An interview appointment to appear in person is mandatory for student visas, and appointments must be made in advance. Please access the website for the embassies or consulate in your area.

When can I come to the U.S.?

New students who are entering the U.S. for the first time on a F-1 or J-1 visa can only enter the country 30 days prior to the start of classes. This 30-day rule does not apply to returning students who already have a F-1 or J-1 visa.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on the F or J visa?

F visa holders may remain in the U.S. for up to 60 days after the program end date listed on their I-20. J visa holders may remain in the U.S. until the date indicated on the DS-2019 plus 30 days to prepare for departure.  There is a 15-day grace period if you are approved to take a leave of absence.

What should I do if I am currently attending another school in the U.S. and I am accepted to SVA for the following semester?

Please download and submit the I-20 Transfer Form.

 

What program do I have to be accepted to if I need a visa to study at SVA?

SVA is authorized to enroll non-immigrant aliens for the following programs, and visa types: undergraduate and graduate degree programs, ESL/Studio Program, ESL/Non-Studio program, one-year special student study program, Pre-College Program, and the International Exchange Program.  Continuing Education students are not eligible to apply for the F-1 student visa.

I have a valid visa that allows me to study at SVA, but want to change my status to F-1. What should I do?

Please contact the International Student Office immediately upon acceptance. We can advise on the procedures of changing your status to F-1. Only those who are currently on a visa that allows them to study will be considered a favorable candidate for a change of status.

I am here as a tourist but want to study at SVA. Can I apply and start the program?

Studying at SVA on a full-time basis as a tourist on a B1/B2 visa or the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a violation of your visa status. Tourists should not enroll in or attend a full-time program before switching their status to F-1 student.  You have the option of applying to change your status from tourist to F-1 while staying in the U.S. before beginning your studies. You cannot begin your studies until the change of status is approved. However, this process will take at least 3 to 6 months and an approval is not guaranteed. For this reason, it is recommended that you return to your country first and apply for a F-1 visa after you are accepted to SVA.

Please note: Continuing Education students are not eligible to apply for the F-1 student visa.

I am only interested in taking a few courses at SVA through the Continuing Education program, as a tourist. Am I allowed to do so?

Tourists can take a vocational or recreational course as long as it is incidental to their main purpose of visiting the U.S.  Please note that SVA is not authorized to issue the Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for the F-1 student visa for the Division of Continuing Education.  Continuing Education students are not eligible to apply for the F-1 student visa.

Can I work in the U.S. while I am attending school?

F-1 students may work on-campus at SVA for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session.  Federal regulations prohibit any off-campus employment (including credit-bearing internships off-campus) without prior authorization from the ISO and the U.S. government. Engaging in unauthorized employment is a violation of your visa status.

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