Now that you’ve been accepted and are off to your dream school, it’s time to ensure your student documentation is all in order. Keep in mind that Canadian citizens do not have to apply for student visas to study in the United States.
You need to obtain an I-20 (or DS-2019) Certificate of Eligibility from the university that you plan to attend. This document is usually prepared by an international admissions officer or the international student services office. You need this form to proceed further with your documentation.
Once you receive the hard copy of the I-20 (or DS-2019) you will be registered with SEVIS, the student tracking system. You will be assigned a SEVIS number and be required to pay a registration fee. To pay your SEVIS fee (which can be done by credit card), visit FMJfee.com. You may find this tutorial from the Department of Homeland Security helpful.
When you cross the border to study you will need to provide the officer at the port of entry with the following:
- Proof of identity and citizenship (a Canadian passport)
- The original I-20 (or DS-2019) certificate
- Proof that you have paid your SEVIS fee (receipt)
- Proof of funding: You will have given this information to your university already. Bring copies of the information that you submitted and matches the amount required on your I-20.
- Proof of your ties to Canada: Your end date on your I-20 (or DS-2019) serve as your proof that you will return to Canada.
Now that your documents are in order, time for STEP 5: Preparing for Departure!