FAQ's for International Students Accepted to JNA Institute of Culinary Arts

*Please note, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).

Q:
I was accepted into JNA Institute of Culinary Arts! What do I need to do next?

*This answer does not apply to students from Canada or Bermuda, please read on if you are a citizen of these countries.

A:

Congratulations! As soon as you learn that you are accepted to JNA Institute of Culinary Arts, you should fill out an application for an I-20 and verify your financial status via our Application for Form I-20. If you are currently in the United States, we can schedule a day for you to pick up your Form I-20. If you are not in the United States, please speak with someone in the Admissions Department about receiving your Form I-20 via FedEx or email.

When you receive your I-20 from JNA Institute of Culinary Arts, verify that everything on the form is correct and sign it.

*Please note, an I-20 does not guarantee admission to the U.S.– nor does it guarantee you will be granted an M-1 visa. Do not purchase airfare to the U.S. until you have been granted your M-1 visa.

Complete you application for a nonimmigrant visa, Form DS-160, online.

Next, call the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country; you must schedule an appointment for your visa interview. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.

Wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category, so you should apply for your visa early. If you intend to travel to the U.S. in less than two (2) months, you may attempt to schedule your interview before your I-20 paperwork arrives. Email admissions@thamanaphotos.com and request JNA’s school code and your SEVIS number, as you will need this information to schedule your interview and to pay your SEVIS fee (also known as I-901 fee).

You must pay the SEVIS fee (also known as I-901 fee) to apply for your M-1 visa. This fee was put into effect by the US Department of Homeland Security in September 2004 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This can be done online at the Student and Exchange Visitor Program: SEVIS I-901 Fee website.

In addition to the SEVIS I-901 fee, residents of some countries may also need to pay a visa application fee. When your visa is approved, you may also need to pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality. To learn more about the various fees associated with visas and border crossings, please read Fees for Visa Services. You can also ask a representative at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

The following documents should be gathered in preparation for your visa interview:

  • Acceptance letter from JNA Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements)
  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
  • Your signed I-20

Additional documentation that may be required:

  • Financial documentation that shows you can pay all educational, living, and travel costs for the duration of your program at JNA

During your visa interview, an officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive an M-1 visa. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location. After your visa interview, your application may require further administrative processing. You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.

When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.

IMPORTANT: When you receive your passport with visa, verify that you were issued an M-1 visa. If you were issued an F-1 visa by the embassy or consulate, you must contact them regarding this mistake prior to arriving at JNA.

Please read FAQ #9 to learn more about the immigration process at the airport.

Q:
A:

Unlike nonimmigrant students from other countries, Canadians do not need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for a visa but you will need to do a few things to be able to attend JNA Institute of Culinary Arts.

First, you are required to fill out an application for an I-20 and verify your financial status via our Application for Form I-20. If you are currently in the United States, you can make arrangements to pick up your Form I-20 at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts. If you are not in the United States, please speak with someone in the Admissions Department about receiving your Form I-20 via FedEx or email.

When you receive your I-20 from JNA Institute of Culinary Arts, verify that everything on the form is correct and sign it. You will need to travel with this document, so do not misplace it.

You must pay the SEVIS fee (also known as I-901 fee) prior to arriving in the United States. This fee was put into effect by the US Department of Homeland Security in September 2004 to supplement the administration and maintenance costs of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This can be done online at the Student and Exchange Visitor Program: SEVIS I-901 Fee website.

You must travel with your signed I-20 and your I-901 fee receipt. When you enter the United States, a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official at the Port of Entry (POE) will determine your eligibility for entry into the U.S. You should be prepared to present all supporting financial documentation upon arrival at the U.S. POE in order be admitted as a nonimmigrant student.

In summary, these are the steps Canadians must take to attend JNA Institute of Culinary Arts:

  • Apply for an I-20 from JNA
  • Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
  • Bring the following documents with you into the United States:
    • Your signed I-20
    • Your I-901 fee receipt
    • Financial documentation proving you can afford your tuition and the cost of living in the United States for the duration of the program

You will need to show all of these same documents to a JNA staff person in the Admissions Office before you will be permitted to attend classes.

Q:
A:

Bermudian citizens do not currently require a visa to attend school in the United States. Presentation of the I-20 for vocational studies, a SEVIS fee receipt (I-901), proof of financial support and a valid passport at the port of entry is sufficient for Bermudian students to attend school in the United States. However, since you will be remaining in the United States for more than 180 days, you may find that having an M-1 visa can assist with obtaining a U.S. driver’s license, securing accommodations, or re-entry from land border crossings.
To apply for an M-1 visa, schedule an appointment at your local U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Q:
A:

Receiving a Form I-515 is not good. You received this form because you did not remember to bring all of the required documents with you to the United States. You must bring all of your documentation and the Form I-515 to the Admissions Office at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts immediately. You are not permitted to attend classes until you meet with a staff person at JNA.
You have only 30 days from the date of entry into the United States to submit your correct paperwork to the Student Exchange Visitor Program officials. Failure to do so can result in deportation and the revocation of your M-1 visa.

Q:
A:

You can transfer your current M-1 visa to JNA if your program at your previous school started less than six (6) months ago. M-1 transfers cannot occur after 6 months have passed since the start of the program (that date is noted on your I-20). If your program at your previous school began more than six (6) months ago, you need to follow the standard process for obtaining an M-1 visa from JNA Institute of Culinary Arts.
If you wish to transfer to JNA, please inform the registrar at your current school and email admissions@thamanaphotos.com.

Q:
A:

No. To attend JNA Institute of Culinary Arts you must have an M-1 visa for JNA. You should follow the steps outlined in FAQ #1.

Q:
A:

Yes, it absolutely matters. The School needs to supply this information to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. As soon as you secure your local living arrangements, you must update the Admissions Office at JNA Institute of Culinary Arts. You are not permitted to attend classes until you provide this information.

Q:
A:

It’s true, Visas typically do not expire for 4 or more years, however when studying in the United States, you must also have a current I-20. Unfortunately, each Form I-20 can only be issued for a period of 12 months.

To remedy this, you will work with the Admissions Office to complete and submit USCIS I-539 Application to Change or Extend Nonimmigrant Status. The fee for this application is $290.00, payable by check or money order.

Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

Q:
A:

As a foreign national entering the U.S., you will need certain documents with you as evidence of your legal status. You should have with you:

  • your passport with a valid visa (Canadian citizens are exempt from visa requirement)
  • your I-20 (M-1 visa holders)
  • it is also a good idea to bring proof of your financial support with you, in case the inspector at the airport asks for it

You are allowed to enter the US in M status up to 30 days prior to the program start date listed on your I-20 (section 5). Please plan accordingly.
If you have your documents properly prepared, your experience with USCIS and Customs (CBP) will go easily, but it might be time consuming. Your experience will be as follows:

  • When you disembark from the airplane at the US airport, you will be directed to the immigration (CBP) station. There, a US inspector will ask to see your passport, visa stamp, and your SEVIS I-20. They may also ask to see proof of financial support.
  • Next, you will be directed to Baggage Claim. If you checked any baggage, those items will be placed on the carousel marked with your flight number. Do not worry if you do not see your bags at first. Sometimes it takes a while to have all bags placed on the carousel.
  • At the US Customs desk, you will show your passport and the customs declaration form that your flight attendant gave you on the airplane (make sure you have completed the form). Customs regulations will not allow you to bring fresh foods or plants into the country, so you should leave those items at home. The officer might ask you to open your bags for a random check, or to put them on a scanner.

Did you lose or misplace your I-20? (Also see FAQ #4)

If you lost or misplaced your I-20, do not panic. Ask the inspector to issue you a Form I-515. The I-515 will allow you to legally enter the US as an M-1, but only for one month. Come to the Admissions Department to check in as soon as possible after you arrive, and we will take care of the Form I-515.

Q:
A:

A non-immigrant is someone who seeks temporary entry to the United States for a specific purpose. Furthermore, all non-immigrants require a visa to be allowed to enter the United States to fulfill that purpose. Once they are in the United States, they have a non-immigrant status, which they must maintain by pursuing the intended purpose and following certain regulations. The M-1 status allows you to study a vocational subject, like culinary/pastry arts, as a full-time student.

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