- New StudentsNew Students
- Class of 2018 and New Transfers
- New Student Guide
- Information for Parents
- Important Dates and Deadlines
- New International Students
- Helpful Tips for International Students
- F-1 International Students (Not Enrolled in Another U.S. School)
- F-1 International Students (Canadian Citizenship)
- F-1 International Students (Transferring to Amherst College from another U.S. School)
- Financial Documentation Requirements for Issuance of I-20AB Form
- Maintenance F-1 Student Visa: Staying Legal
- SEVIS Information Page
- International Students--Forms
- Travel & Arrival Information
- Travel Tips & Contact Information
- e-CHECKUP TO GO
2013-2014 New International Students
Introductory Letter to New International Students
Congratulations on your admission to Amherst College! Your acceptance is a fine achievement for which you have surely worked very hard. You and your family should be proud of your accomplishment. As the Advisor to International Students and one of the many people here at Amherst preparing for your arrival in the fall, I hope that you are looking forward to being with us as much as we are looking forward to having you here.
Carolyn Bassett is Associate Dean of Students & International Student Advisor.
Dean Bassett has responsibility for the personal and academic counseling of the Class of 2014. She is the advisor to international students and the College’s Primary Designated School Official for student visas. She is also Class Dean for the Class of 2014. Dean Bassett is a member of the Committee on Academic Standing and the Prize Committee.
The coming months will be a busy and exciting time as you make plans for your new academic adventure. One of your first and most important tasks will be completing the steps leading to issuance of the Form I-20AB, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status”, one of the documents needed for F-1 student status, the appropriate visa classification for the majority of our international students. Most of you will be applying for a new, initial F-1 student visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and must present the Form I-20AB as part of your visa application materials. Others of you may be transferring from another U.S. school (either a high school or college) and may need to apply for a renewal visa, if your previous F-1 visa is expired and you are planning to leave the U.S. over the summer. Still others may be citizens of Canada and exempt from the visa stamp requirement. In all cases, however, a new Form I-20AB, issued by Amherst College, is necessary for your legal entry to and continued presence in the U.S.
In order for Amherst College to issue your new I-20AB form, you must complete the following steps:
- Confirm your intention to attend Amherst College by submitting your enrollment form and deposit to our Office of Admissions. This form was included in your acceptance packet.
- Submit a completed on-line “Information Form for New International Students” to the Dean of Students Office. All new international students must complete this form. In addition, if you are currently attending a high school or college in the U.S., you must also submit a “SEVIS Transfer Release Form” completed by you and the appropriate official at your previous U.S. school
- Comply with the “Financial Documentation Requirements.” If you have been admitted as a recipient of financial aid from Amherst College, you need not submit additional financial documentation beyond that required by the Office of Financial Aid. If you are not a recipient of financial aid, however, you must submit the “International Student Certification of Finances Form, 2013-2014” with the required supporting documentation of your family’s ability to cover your expenses at Amherst College.
In order to issue I-20AB forms, Amherst College must create an electronic record for each of our new F-1 international students on a secure U.S. government website, referred to as “SEVIS: Student and Exchange Visitor Information System.” The College must enter into that SEVIS record certain information needed for creation of the student’s I-20AB form. The mandated data to be entered includes biographical and identifying information, passport information, permanent home address and U.S. campus address, academic program information (degree, start date, end date, major, etc.), and sources of financial support (family, scholarship, loan, etc.). The information in your SEVIS record will be available to agencies of the U.S. government, including personnel of U.S. embassies and consulates (who will access the information during the visa application process) and immigration inspection officers at U.S. ports of entry.
Once you have satisfactorily completed all steps in the above list, the College can proceed to create your SEVIS record and begin processing your new I-20AB form. To facilitate the process, you should complete all the above steps by June 15, 2013. We will begin mailing out I-20AB forms in early June, but not before. This schedule has been shown by experience to be sufficient for timely visa issuance. [Although I-20AB forms cannot be faxed or electronically transmitted, the on-line “Information Form for New International Students” permits you to request express mailing of your I-20AB form, at additional expense.]
Detailed information on the visa application and issuance process is posted on the above website and will also be sent along with your I-20AB form. Note that there are three different visa information sheets:
- F-1 international students who have not been attending another U.S. school
- F-1 international students coming to Amherst College from another U.S. school
- F-1 international students Canadian citizenship
Orientation (Sunday, August 25 – Monday, September 2) is required for all new students. Although U.S. students are expected to arrive on campus no earlier than the first day of Orientation, international students traveling from abroad may occupy their dormitory rooms as early as Thursday, August 22. In addition, members of the Amherst College International Students Association (ISA) will be available to meet new international students flying into Boston’s Logan Airport on Thursday, August 22, provide transportation to Amherst College, and assist with moving students into their dormitory rooms. [The ISA Airport Pickup Service is available only at the Boston’s Logan Airport, only on Thursday, August 22, and only to new, unaccompanied international students.] Detailed information on this and other methods of transportation to Amherst will be provided in the “Travel and Arrival Information for International Students”. In particular, when making travel plans, please note that U.S. government regulations do not permit you to enter the U.S. more than thirty days (30) before the “program start date” of August 25, 2013 listed on your I-20AB form. You should not try to enter the U.S. any earlier using a tourist visa or through a “visa waiver program,” as such an entry can jeopardize your legal enrollment at Amherst College. If you are expecting to enter the U.S. to attend a summer school program earlier than thirty days prior to August 25, you must contact me to discuss your situation and make the necessary arrangements, before Amherst College issues an I-20AB form to you.
You are about to embark upon an exciting new adventure with the potential for great intellectual and personal growth. I hope that you are looking forward with enthusiasm to joining the academic and campus life of Amherst College this fall. In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll look forward to communicating with you more over the summer and to meeting you at Orientation.
Carolyn S. Bassett
Associate Dean of Students
International Student Advisor