International Students Traveling to the U.S. for Residency
The activities and length of the Residency Conference do not meet the standards or minimum requirements allowed for any form of student visa. All graduate students (and their guests, if any) who are attending the Residency Conference week should apply for a B-2 visitor visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in order to enter the United States as a tourist. Please visit the U.S. Department of State website for more information on the different types of visas.
In addition to your passport and any required fee or payment of fee receipt, we recommend that you take the following documents with you to the U.S. consulate:
- An invitation from the College of Graduate and Continuing Studies. You will receive a number of email correspondences outlining the purpose of your visit to the United States. Many of these emails will contain the dates for the Residency Conference, the location of the Norwich University campus, and state that it is a degree requirement for graduation from your chosen course of study.
- Required visa application form, along with photographs as stated on the U.S Department of State website.
- Evidence of ties to the home country. The reason U.S. consular officers most frequently deny B-2 visa applications is a lack of evidence of strong ties to the visitor’s home country. Under U.S. law, consular officers are not supposed to issue a B visa if they do not believe the applicant has ties that will bring him or her back home.
- Support letter from Norwich (optional). If you think you may have trouble obtaining a visa, please feel free to request a letter of support from the Residency Conference Coordinator or your Student Services Advisor. U.S. consular officers sometimes ask B-2 visa applicants for a letter certifying that the people inviting them are in fact from the United States. The letter will verify your student status and degree of study at the school, outline the Residency Conference as a degree requirement and note the event dates. Generally though, this document is not required to obtain a B-2 visa.
Other helpful tips for applying for a visa:
- Apply early - wait times for interviews can vary by location, season, and visa category so make sure to schedule your visa interview to allow you enough time to complete other travel arrangements in a timely manner.
- Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets without first obtaining a visa. It cannot be guaranteed that you will be issued a visa so avoid the unnecessary expense of non-refundable items.
- Apply multiple times - if for some reason the consular officer that you see denies your visa request, it is perfectly acceptable - and may even be necessary - to apply again.