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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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This is the visa you obtained at the American Embassy or Consulate which allowed you to ask for permission to enter the United States. A nonimmigrant visa (such as an F-1) is valid only for the purpose for which it was issued. It is NOT a guarantee of entry. For initial admission, you are required to attend the school written below the visa for at least one academic term. Once you have been granted entry, your visa does NOT determine how long you stay in the U.S. (See "I-20" below.) You are required to renew your visa only when you leave the U.S. and wish to return and if your visa has expired or if your visa was designated as "single entry only." A request to obtain a new visa must be made at the American Embassy or Consulate outside the United States. PLEASE NOTE: If your visa has expired, it is all right to remain in the U.S. if you are in legal F-1 status. However, you must renew your visa if you go outside of the U.S. Please note that your I-20 must be valid. Canadian citizens do not need visas.

Why Is There a Visa Requirement?

The United States is an open society. Unlike many countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, international students have a responsibility to PROVE THEY ARE GOING TO RETURN ABROAD before a student visa is issued. Under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, consular officers are required to view every visa applicant as intending to immigrate until the applicant proves otherwise.

Applying for a Visa

Tips on how to get your visa!


If you are in the process of obtaining your F-1 or J-1 visa, the following websites may be of help to you as you prepare for your visit to the US Embassy/Consulate:

Visa Granted

Congratulations! Once you have gotten your US visa, let us at the International Center know that you are arriving. Email

Visa Denial

Unfortunately, there times when international students are denied visas by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their home country. To be refused a visa causes great disappointment. The following information is provided by the U.S. State Department to help you avoid visa denial.

What is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status…

The most frequent basis for being refused a student visa under Section 214(b) concerns the requirement that a prospective student possess a residence outside the United States that he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants must prove the existence of such a residence by demonstrating that they have ties outside the United States that would compel them to leave the United States at the end of their temporary stay. The law places the burden of proof on the applicant.

United States consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents.

Make the consular officer's job easier. Be prepared. Be concise. Be respectful.

What constitutes "Strong Ties"?

Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, or a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social, and family relationships.

Each person's situation is different. If you have a job, a family, own or rent a house or apartment, or have other commitments that will require you to return to your home country at the conclusion of your stay in the United States, you have a better chance of being granted a visa.

United States consular officers are aware that each person's situation is different. During the visa interview, they look at each applicant individually and consider professional, social, cultural, and other factors. In cases of younger applicants, such as students who may not have had an opportunity for form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicant's specific intentions, family situations, long-range plans, and employment prospects within his/her home country. Each case is examined individually and should be accorded every consideration under the law.

Is denial under Section 214(B) permanent?

No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if the applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. If you are denied a visa, you should contact the Embassy or Consulate to find out about reapplication procedures. To qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, you must show that your personal, professional, and/or financial circumstances have changed considerably.

Review your situation carefully and evaluate your ties to your home country realistically. Write down on paper what qualifying ties may not have been evaluated at the time of your first interview with the consular officer. When you reapply for a visa, show further evidence of your ties or how your circumstances have changed since the time of your original interview. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying:

  • Did I explain my situation accurately?
  • Did the consular officer overlook something?
  • Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties to my home country?

Also, keep in mind that a nonrefundable application fee is charged each time you apply for a visa, regardless of whether the visa is issued.