United States immigration law requires that non-US citizens attending vocational schools in the United States, for any program in excess of 18 hours of instruction, obtain an M1 student visa. Further, a vocational school must be approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to accept non-US citizens as students. UBI Ashland and UBI Portland both have this approval.
After a non-US citizen enrolls for class, UBI will provide the student with a form called the I-20 M-N. This form is essential to the visa process. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are not required to visit a US embassy to obtain a visa: one will be issued at the Port of Entry when the student enters the United States. Canadian and Bermudan students must present the I-20 M-N form and the I-901 receipt (see below) to the border agent when entering the US.
Upon registration, international students must provide a photocopy of their current passport. International student registrations must be submitted at least 60 days in advance to the start of class (except for Canadian citizens). Canadian citizens must register no later than 30 days before start of class. International (non-Canadian) students may be subject to an additional $30 shipping fee to cover expedited, traceable, freight charges for their Form I-20M-N, payable upon arrival on the first day of class.
In addition to the I-20 M-N form, the U.S. government requires that non-US citizens pay a fee, called the I-901 (or SEVIS) fee. For most students this fee is US$350. In addition, students from certain countries may also have to pay a visa issuance fee. A student must have a receipt showing he or she has paid the I-901 fee before applying for a visa. The I-901 fee must be paid in advance. US immigration will not permit the fee to be paid at the Port of Entry.
To avoid problems entering the United States a student should have the following documents:
- A valid passport with necessary visa. Citizens of Canada and Bermuda attending UBI do not need a separate student visa, but must present the I-20 M-N form, I-901 receipt and passport at the border.
- The I-20 M-N form, signed by the student.
UBI advises strongly that international students (other than citizens of Bermuda and Canada) contact their nearest US embassy to determine waiting times for a visa before enrolling for class at UBI.
English Proficiency for Non-Native Speakers
All UBI classes are conducted in English, and all testing is written in English. Therefore, English proficiency can be a key component to success at UBI. However, because UBI’s classroom instruction is dominantly visual and hands-on, students who are not fluent in English can still complete UBI training successfully. It is UBI policy to offer extra time on written examinations to students for whom English is a second language. UBI does not require students to submit TOEIC or TOEFL scores for admission to the school. However, we can provide guideline scores for those who choose to take one of these tests that will help the student assess whether his or her current English speaking proficiency will be a barrier to success.