by Shelbey Hernandez
The Lance – News Editor
For Canadians, a trip the States is an easy one. Passport in hand, there are not often issues. It’s just show the passport, answer some questions and cross.
However, for international students, it isn’t so easy. Since they are not Canadian citizens as it is, to cross the border can be done, but there is a process even if they are just visiting.
For that reason, UWindsor has put on the U.S. Consulate General reps. Presentation which brings up the topic of U.S. Visas. This event is a popular one for international students, usually bringing in about 100 or so. With the change in midterms this year, though, fewer were able to attend and some had to leave early.
The majority of the students were from India and China, with others from countries like Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Iran, to name a few. Some were present on the pretense of just getting a visa, whereas others had specific questions regarding a visa they already had.
“It’s very popular, because a lot of our students want to go cross as the border,” said Deena Wang, international student advisor at the International Student Centre. “Especially now, Christmas and holiday season is coming and so a lot of students are planning to do shopping over in the States.”
The presentation told students about the different types of visas, how to apply for visas, the interview process for visas and the interview waiver program specifically. The waiver program allows certain applicants to mail in their passports for renewing their visas without having to see a consulate.
“Usually an international student if they want to visit the U.S., they will apply for a visitor visa,” said Wang. “They will get usually multi-entry, allowing them to come back and go back there again in a limited period of time. In the future, if they want to pursue their study in the U.S. or work, there are different visas for that as well.”
According to the consulate officer who did the talk, the different visas go by specific names. The one many students would use now would be a B1/B2 visa, which is used for visiting the U.S. Aside from this visa, students can get an F-1 is for studying in the states, a J-1 for an internship or summer program or an H1B if working full-time in the States.
The presentation may have covered types of visas, but that wasn’t all. The consulate also provided advice and information for students such as informing them about non-refundable interview fees, how to obtain an appointment, informing students about reciprocity fees applying to specific countries and more. They also urged students to get the process started quickly because even if visas are processed usually within a week, that is not always the case. Each case is different and whereas some may be open and closed cases, not all are. Plus, there could be issues at the consulate office itself.
“Especially right now if you’re thinking to apply in Toronto, we really need you to book your appointment in advance. We have construction going on and we’re a little bit down in terms of how many people we can see each day. So if you’re thinking of going Black Friday shopping or New Years, you need to apply now,” said Ann Marie Warmenhoven, the consulate officer. “Plus, normally once we adjudicate the visa, it can take one week to get it back to you but some cases require mandatory administrative processing and that can take a couple weeks to several months, even a year. We have no control over how long that takes. So if you have something important, apply early.”