Common Visa Facts and Myths

Fact: It is completely free to register for the Diversity Visa Program. The US government does not charge a fee to register for the program, and you should not pay a visa consultant a fee to register on your behalf. Go to www.dvlottery.state.gov to sign up. It is free!

Fact: You may only apply for the Diversity Visa Program once in each program year. Individuals who submit multiple applications in the same year will be rejected and not considered for that year’s lottery.

Fact: We strongly urge applicants not to use a visa consultancy when choosing a university or submitting a student visa (“F1”) application. Consultancies are mainly concerned with taking your money, not providing you with good advice about the best university for you or how to apply for a student visa. We recommend students visit the United States Education Foundation (USEF) for information on applying to US universities: http://usefnepal.org

Fact: Decisions about US visas are based in U.S. law, not on the mood of the Consular Officer, the time of day, or any of the many other myths about the US visa process. All of our Consular Officers are highly trained and apply the same legal standards when making a decision about a visa.

Fact:  Decisions about U.S. visas are based in U.S. law—not where, when, or who you interview with at the embassy. Consular Officers regularly rotate between windows and they all apply the same legal standards when considering a visa application. Please be assured you will receive the same level of service and consideration regardless of who you interview with.

Fact: Students attending university in the U.S. on an F1 visa may not work off-campus during the first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training Extension (OPT)

Other types of employment are illegal and will be a violation of the terms of your student visa.

Fact: The U.S. government DOES NOT e-mail you about your Diversity Visa Program selection status when results are announced, and also does not charge a fee for you to find out the results of the lottery. If you receive an e-mail telling you that you have been selected for the Diversity Visa Program, it is fraudulent. When you register for the Diversity Visa Program, use your own e-mail address and write down your confirmation number. You can check your results at www.dvlottery.state.gov–for free!

Fact: The U.S. State Department does not make a profit from visa application fees. All of our consular activities are fee-funded, meaning the fees you pay to apply for a visa go towards paying for the processing of your application, the interview, and the Consular Officers’ time. These fees vary from time-to-time based on the cost of processing the applications. (Note: SEVIS fees are not collected by the U.S. Department of State and are not related to visa applications. They pay for the SEVIS system itself, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security.)

Fact: There’s no magic formula or special major to help you get a student visa to study in the U.S. The requirements for student visas are the same for all majors, interests, universities and levels of education (B.A., M.A., Ph.D., etc.). To qualify for a student visa, you only need to demonstrate three things:  1.) that you intend to study and will not use the visa for any other purpose (work, etc.);  2.) that you intend to depart the United States after completion of your studies; and 3.) that you can pay for your studies.

Fact: All applicants who are refused a student visa in Nepal are provided with a yellow sheet that explains the U.S. legal requirements for an F1 visa. The reason(s) for an applicant’s refusal will be circled by the Consular Officer on this sheet. If you are reapplying, you must be able to specifically address the issue(s) the consular officer circled on your refusal sheet and demonstrate how you now meet the requirements for a U.S. student visa. While you are free to change your major or chosen university, that is not required and is not likely on its own to be enough to overcome a previous refusal.

Fact: You are not legally permitted to take a job—part time or full time—or sell products when visiting the United Stated on a tourist B1/B2 visa.

Fact:  It is certainly possible to qualify for a student visa if you have family in the U.S. In your interview, however, you will need to be able to convince the Consular Officer that you only intend to be a student and are not simply seeking to get a student visa so you can go live permanently with the family you have in the U.S.