Look carefully at the documentation that your consulate is requesting. If you have any questions about any of the items, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to help you. Below are some of the items about which we commonly field questions. Note that these items may or may not be required in your particular case, as visa requirements vary from country to country and sometimes even from consulate to consulate. It is therefore important to read the consulate’s website very carefully.
If your visa application requires passport-size photos, you can get those right on campus at Printing Services in the Thwing Center for a small fee.
Proof of Health Insurance Coverage
The CWRU Office of Risk Management registers all study abroad students for its Out-of-Country Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation Plan. This insurance is free; however, the ID card contained within it does not contain your name. Therefore, you’ll need to request something called a Certificate of Coverage. The Certificate of Coverage contains your name and details what the plan will cover. If your visa requires proof of health insurance coverage, request a Certificate of Coverage from the Office of Risk Management. Be sure to tell the Office of Risk Management the insurance requirements for your consulate because they can tailor the Certificate of Coverage to ensure that all of the consulate’s requirements are mentioned.
Some consulates will ask for copies of your bank statements in order to make sure that you have access to enough money to support yourself while abroad. An ATM receipt will not suffice; you’ll need copies of your monthly statements. An example of a bank statement can be seen here. If you bank online, you should be able to print these out. Make sure that your bank statement contains more than enough money to support yourself while you’re abroad. Some consulates may ask to see specific amounts.
Other Ways to Show Proof of Financial Means
If you don’t have enough money in the bank to support yourself while you’re abroad, you may need to document that you can support yourself in other ways. In the case that you’ll be using financial aid to support yourself while abroad, you’ll need to contact Nancy Issa at email@example.com to request the information you need. If your parents will be supporting you while you’re abroad, you may need to submit copies of their bank statements instead of your own. When submitting copies of your parents’ bank statements, you’ll also need a letter from them which says that you are permitted to use the money in the account. It’s a good idea to get this letter notarized, as some consulates require such letters to be notarized.
Some consulates require that certain documents be notarized, or authenticated by a notary public. If you have a document that needs to be notarized, you can do so right on campus in the Office of General Counsel. Just bring your document and your ID any time between 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday. No appointment is needed.
Many consulates request that you submit your flight itinerary in order to receive your student visa. Unfortunately, if this is the case, it is not possible to wait until you receive a visa to reserve your flight.
Information pertaining to your study abroad program
Generally, consulates want to know what you’re going to be doing overseas, so you’ll almost always have to provide some information about your study abroad program. Be sure to review carefully what the consulate is requiring. For short-term programs (e.g. Spring Break, Winter Break), you will probably have to get a letter from your group leader. For long-term programs (e.g. semester or year), you will probably need an acceptance letter from your institution abroad, and you may need a letter from Case Western Reserve University as well.
If you need to pay your visa fees in person, note that credit cards and personal checks are almost never accepted. You will often have to pay by cash or money order. Be sure to read carefully how much the visa fee is and what forms of payment are acceptable.
If the consulate will be mailing your passport and visa back to you, they will ask you to pay for return postage. If you are mailing your visa application, you’ll need to include an envelope with postage with your application. If you are applying in person, you’ll need to bring this envelope with you. It is very, very important that you pay the extra money for Express Mail or Priority Mail, as these options allow you to track the envelope. If you don’t pay for trackable mail, there is a chance that your passport could get lost in the mail. Be sure, however, to read the consulate’s instructions, as some consulates will only accept envelopes from FedEx, USPS, etc.
FBI or Police Background Check
While most visas don’t require FBI or police background checks, a few countries (notably Spain, Chile, and Greece) do require them for student visas. If the consulate will accept a state or local background check rather than an FBI background check, we generally recommend that you get the state or local background check as the FBI background check usually has a much longer processing time. Information on FBI background checks can be found here.
Some consulates might require you to provide a state ID to prove that you live within their jurisdiction. If you have a driver’s license, this will suffice. If not, you may need to apply for an Ohio state ID. You can do this at any Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles branch, or BMV. The closest branches are in Mayfield Heights and University Heights. When you go to get your state ID, you may have to bring some paperwork with you to prove that you reside in the area legally. A list of the acceptable documents you may bring can be found here. (For international students, we recommend that you bring the following items: your passport, I-20, student ID card, and two recent bank statements with your address.) If you are flying to Chicago or another city to apply in person to get your passport, it is very important to have a state ID. This is because you may have to surrender your passport to consulate for processing, and you will need another acceptable form of ID in order to get back on the plane to Cleveland! There is a small fee for the State ID; in Ohio, it costs less than $10.00. The ID is issued on the spot, so you won’t need to return in order to retrieve it.