Monday, May 13, 2002

student visas online

Over the next few months, tracking student visas will become possible over the web. Schools will have the ability, and the requirement, to update name changes and indicate whether a student has dropped out of school through the online system. The database will also speed up the communication process greatly:
The system will link every U.S. embassy and consulate abroad with every immigration service port of entry in the United States and all schools eligible to enroll foreign students, Hartle said.

Before foreign students can apply for a visa, they must be accepted by a school, which will enter their names and identifying information in the database. The students will pay a $95 registration fee and be issued a paper receipt. It must be presented along with the acceptance letter to a U.S. embassy or consulate to apply for a visa, he said.
This upgrade to the INS tracking system was initiated by a 1996 immigration reform law.