Procedures to obtain a United States student visa and a visitor visa; whether the US recognizes Somali passports from 1997; whether the visas are glued into the passports or issued on separate sheets of paper [USA35694.E]

According to information obtained from the United States Department of State Website, an individual, applying for a student visa, regardless of nationality, must provide:

A Form I-20 obtained from a U.S. college, school or university. Please be sure to give us all four pages of the I-20 form. The form must also be signed by you and by a school official in the appropriate places;
A completed nonimmigrant visa application form (OF-156) with photo for each person applying. A separate form is needed for children, even if they are included in a parent's passport. These forms are available at the Embassy at no charge.
A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States; A receipt for visa processing fee.
A receipt showing payment of the visa application fee for each applicant, including each child listed in a parent's passport who is also applying for a U.S. visa, is needed.

Also, the applicant can be expected to provide the following items:

Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended;
Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;
Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements (Feb. 1998).

If an individual is applying with dependants, the applicant must provide:

Proof of the student's relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g., marriage and birth certificates.)
It is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder's passport and visa, along with all other required documents (ibid.).

Information on how to obtain a US visitor visa can be found in USA30375.E of 16 December 1998.

The Department of State Website indicates that the Government of the United States does not recognize Somali passports and they "are no longer valid for visa-issuance purposes," although Somali citizens can obtain visas. In most cases, those requesting immigrant visas will not require a passport, however, those requesting non-immigrant visas (such as a visitor visa (B2) or a student visa (F1)) will require a passport waiver (16 Feb. 1996). This information was confirmed by the US Immigration Attaché in Ottawa on 10 October 2000.

According to the US Immigration Attaché, visas are normally glued directly into the applicant's passport; however, he indicated that, at times, visas are issued on a separate sheet of paper (10 Oct. 2000). He stated that those individuals granted a passport waiver would be provided with a visa on a separate sheet of paper (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Embassy of the United States, Ottawa. 10 October 2000. Telephone interview with Immigration Attaché.

United States Department of State. 16 February 1996. 9 FAM Part IV Appendix C, Somalia, Somali Democratic Republic. [Accessed 3 Oct. 2000].

_____. February 1998. Student Visas. [Accessed 3 Oct. 2000].

_____. February 1998. Tips For U.S. Visas: Visitor - Business and Pleasure.;visitors.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2000].