EducationUSA – Zoom Info Session, 18. Mai 2021
Eric Larson, U.S. Consulate Berlin
Visa application – When and Where
- Place: Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich
- 2021: Franfurt issues only immigrant visa, Berlin and Munich issue non-immigrant visa
- J-1 Visa: Can be scheduled as soon as all documents are available
- F-1 Visa: Can be issued no more than 120 days before the Start of the Studies (see program start date on the I-20)
DS 2019 / I 20 and SEVIS
- Name, gender and date of birth must be 100% accurate
- First name(s) and surname(s), as in the passport
- Special characters = machine readable characters (e.e. ä =ae)
- Pay SEVIS fee at www.fmjfee.com
- DS-160 form ceac.state.gov/genniv/
- DS-160 form has no fee (but the actual visa application has!)
- Fill out a new one if needed
- If you change your place of application: new DS-160 advisable, but not required
- Updae the „Application I.D.“
- Can take up to two hours!
- Errors or missing information: Proactively request corretion at the time of your appointment
- Issues and Challenges:
- Full Name: First name(s) and surname(s), as in the passport
- Type out special characters (ä =ae)
- Entry of data: only up until the date the DS 160 is filled out (not future degrees!)
- U.S. adress (if unknown): Address of the U.S. university (from DS 2019 /I 20)
- Parents‘ Names and Dates of Birth: Please include even if a parent has died or if there is no contact
- „Home country“ = The country you consider as home country
- The most common mistakes:
- Older than six months
- Incorrect background / „selfie“
- Problems? .jpg is NOT compliant?
- Bring a compliant photo to the interview
- On photo paper
Visa Information and Appointments
- Visa Service Provider „CGI Federal“: Contractor of the U.S. State Department for
- Visa information
- Appointment scheduling
- Fee collection
- Delivery of passports / visas
- Ustraveldocs.com / de (Information: Telephone, Skype, Email, Chat)
- Appointments (including Emergency) ONLY through CGI Federal!
- Can be requested up to 5 time
- Pay the fee IMMEDIATELY
- Be precise in your email: e.g. “I am a J-1 student [or professor or …] going for an exchange semester [or course of study or ….] at University xyz [or High School in.. My program starts on [date]. (Use the program start date on the I-20/DS-2019.)
- The option for an Emergency Appointment appears only after a regular appointment is scheduled
- Applicants will receive email about approval or rejection. If approved: Confirm or decline as soon as possible!
- Appointment waiting times can vary
- Processing time after Interview including delivery: 7 workdays (excluding Saturday, Sunday and German as well as U.S. holidays)
- Process is not faster if you have already been issued a previous visa
- Delays are always possible!
Delivery Option (for your passwort and visa)
Choice of delivery when making an appointment:
- Pickup (no additional cost):
- Mail Boxes Etc. 0202 Bundesallee Berlin
- Tri-Punkt Solutions, Dachauer Str., München
- Mail Boxes Etc., 0191 Rathenaustr., Offenbach
- Premium Delivery:
- Additional cost, payable only with credit card (not EC-Card!)
- With both options: NO delivery/pickup on Saturday or Sunday!
- NO pickup at U.S. embassy or consulate!
- Valid passport in good condition
- Residence permit (if not EU citizen)
- Appointment confirmation / DS-160 confirmation page
- SEVIS – proof of payment
- DS-2019 /I-20 (original)
- Financial Statement(s)
The Visa Interview
- Consular officers will review each application individually.
- Consular officer considers primarily the DS-160 form, other necessars documents, and the applicant’s responses at the interview
- The interview is typically in English.
- At the interview, the applicant will learn whether: Qualified vor visa OR additional documents or stps are required
Online status Check
- Check status at ceac.state.gov/CEAC (after the interview)
- Issued: usually shipped within 1-3 workdays
- Adminstrative processing: „…can take several weeks. …follow any instructions provided … at the time of your interview. If further information is need, you will be contacted.“
Receipt of Visa
- Delivery: Confirmation email and SMS with tracking number/information
- Upon receipt IMMEDIATELY check accuracy!
- Name and date of birth
- Visa expiration date
- In case of an error, contact us as soon as possible!
DS-2019 /I-20: After Interview
- DS-2019 /I-20 is often returned to the applicant at the time of the interview
- After receiving the visa, it is best to put the original DS-2019 / I-20 form in the passport
- Note: Visa does not guarantee entry (Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has final say at port of entry!)
Grace period – Entry and Departure
- Before program starts: Enter up to (but no sooner than) 30 days before Program start date!
- After program ends:
- J1: Depart within 30 days
- F1: Depart within 60 days
- Intended for travel or preparation for departure, NOT internships or work, including unpaid work!
COVID Presidential Proclamation (PP 10143 – Schengen Proclamation)
Regional Proclamation affecting Schengen Area and UK (previously PP 9993)
- Suspension of entry of those who have been in the Schengen area any time during the 14 days before departure
- PP 10143: Travel to the U.S. from the Schengen Area requires:
- Like before, a visa (or VWP /ESTA)
- In addition:
- NIE (National Interest Exception) or
- nother exception or reason that the travel restriction does not apply to the traveler
NIE - National Interest Exception
- F-Visa: Do NOT need to apply for an NIE.
- J-Visa: J-Students NEED the NIE!
- NIE is only valid for 30 days!
- NIE is only a number, no physical document
- J-1: Will be decided at the visa interview. If you are approved for the J-1 visa, you also get the NIE. No separate request necessary.
- To request an extension of the original NIE after 30 days, send an email closer to your travel date.
- If your appoint was more than 30 days prior to your departure: apply for prolongation of the NIE via Email
- NIE is only for the first entry into the US. If you re-entry the U.S., you need to apply again!
- All international airline travelers to the U.S., who are older than 2 years need:
- Negative COVID-19 PCR test, within 3 calendar days of travel, OR
- Documentation of recovery
- Vaccination is NOT required (as of May 20, 2021)
- Details at Center of Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html
- Center for Disease Control Travel Planner
For up-to-date information ALWAYS check the websites!
U.S. State Department – Embassy / Consulates
travel.state.gov Visa Processing and Issuing
U.S. Embassy Berlin de.usembassy.gov/visas News
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) www.cbp.gov Entry to U.S. / Border Control
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)
www.uscis.gov/ After entry to U.S. (Adjustment of Status, Extension of Admission)
CGI Federal - Visa information & appointments ustraveldocs.com/de
U.S. Embassy-Berlin ConsBerlinstategov
U.S. Consulate General-Munich ConsMunichstategov
U.S. Consulate General-Frankfurt FrankfurtVisaInquiriesstategov
BridgeUSA – Exchange Visitor Program (= J-1 Program)
j1visa.state.gov/basics/ J-1 visa basics
Study in the States (mostly for F-1 students)
Preparing for your visa interview
studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2019/07/students-read-these-tips-your-visa-interview Grace Period (after program ends – slightly different compared to J-1) studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/completions-and-terminations/terminate-a-studentdependent
To reach out to EducationUSA send an email to Germanyeducationusaorg
Students who have study in the U.S. related questions can
- Join our Pre-Departure Orientation on June 1st at 6 pm on Zoom
- book an appointment with an adviser. (But, sorry, we cannot help them with visa appointments) Calendly.com/educationusagermany