USA: Uten utvekslingsorganisasjon

State Department regler for vertsfamilierDet går fint an å reise til USA uten å måtte bruke utvekslingsorganisasjonene som mellomledd, men det krever noe mer egeninnsats. I tillegg kan det bli vanskelig å få støtte fra Lånekassen.

For å komme seg avgårde må man (fra ambassadens egen side):

«The U.S. Embassy regularly receives inquiries from Norwegian families asking how their child may attend secondary (high) school in the United States without working through a formal exchange organization. In these cases, the family usually wants their child to stay with family or friends. These students have to make their own arrangements, consistent with U.S. law, and travel to the U.S. on F-1 (student) visas.

How to find a high school in the United States:
Any student wishing to study in the United States must be enrolled in a school which is authorized to accept international students. These schools, whether public or private, are approved through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Once approved, the schools are allowed to issue Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) numbers to prospective students and are able to issue an “I-20” form, which is required when applying for a student visa. You can find a list of approved schools through the following link to the DHS website. (Se f.eks. denne skolen som selv etterlyser vertsfamilier til utvekslingselevene sine.)

How to finance a high school year in the United States:
Please keep in mind that studying in the United States is not free of charge for international students, whether you are enrolled in a public or private high school. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover all expenses while in the United States, including tuition. Applicants attending a public high school must repay the school system for the full, unsubsidized, per capita cost of providing the education. Additionally, those attending a public high school may only do so for up to 12 months.

The Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen) only gives financial support if a Norwegian student goes on a high school exchange during the second year (Vg2) of Norwegian high school AND travels through one of Lånekassen’s 11 approved organizations.

How to get the year abroad approved by your Norwegian high school:
You should contact your Norwegian high school counselor for more information on getting your school year in the United States preapproved for academic credit.

The Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training (Utdanningsdirektoratet) has more information about high school exchange under point 3.2.2.9 “Godkjenning av opplæring i utlandet tilsvarende Vg1 og/eller Vg2 I Norge” (page 19).

How to apply for a student visa to the United States:

  • Once accepted, your school will send you an I-20 form. This original, signed I-20 form is required for your visa interview and when you enter the United States on a student visa. The I-20 form will have a SEVIS number in the top-right corner of the form which is your individual number in the student database.
  • Review the I-20 form and make sure your name has been spelled correctly. The Norwegian special characters are translated as follows: Æ=AE, Ø=OE and Å=AA. A spelling error in your form might delay your application by up to two weeks. Please contact your school immediately to have them update the SEVIS database if you find an error.
  • Pay the SEVIS fee online here.
  • Fill out the DS-160 application form found here. After you have completed the application, please be certain to electronically submit it to the Embassy in Oslo. Then print out the confirmation page with your picture and barcode on it.
  • Book your interview appointment with the Embassy. You will need the barcode from your DS-160 confirmation page to do it.
  • Remember to bring all required items as failure to do so may result in having to book a new appointment.
  • Please see our website for a current checklist of required documents and what to expect at the interview.

The F-1 academic student program is a non-immigrant visa category intended for use by nonresident aliens whose primary purpose for visiting the United States is to study full-time at an approved institution. Key features of the F-1 visa exchange are as follows: » The visa is regulated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). » The school is the responsible party in the United States, accountable to DHS. » The visa cannot be used for elementary (K-8) or adult training exchanges (see the discussion of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, below). » The student must pay tuition to the public host school.

Upon receiving approval from DHS, a school is authorized to issue certificates of eligibility to students for use in securing a visa and admission to the United States. Form I-20A-B is the certificate of eligibility for F-1 students. The Designated School Official, who is obliged to ensure that the school complies with DHS regulations, may issue it. Schools that are authorized to issue I-20 forms are required to register on the SEVIS system.

Congress enacted limitations on certain foreign students planning to study in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools. The «Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996,» which took effect on November 30, 1996, places the following restrictions on students seeking F-1 visas who wish to study at public secondary schools. The student (or his or her sponsor) is required to reimburse the public secondary school for the full, unsubsidized per capita cost of education for the intended period of study. Proof that such tuition has been paid must be evidenced on the I-20A-B application form for the visa. Waivers are not allowed. This law also limits school attendance to a maximum of twelve months for secondary students under F-1 visas. Overseas advisors should know that this law additionally prohibits attendance in public elementary schools, K-8, or publicly funded adult education programs by any individuals coming under F-1 status. These restrictions do not apply to students who come to the United States under a J-1 visa, nor do they apply to private schools. Violating the law or failure to reimburse the school district can lead to a student being barred from the United States for five years.

F-1 non-immigrant students must maintain a full course load while in the United States. They must follow a specific transfer procedure if they change schools. They are eligible for certain types of employment, provided the Designated School Official or DHS grants permission before the employment begins. The F-1 foreign student’s obligations under U.S. immigration regulations are to: » provide evidence that the unsubsidized cost of tuition for any academic study in the United States is paid in order to obtain their visa, » have sufficient financial resources for the anticipated stay in the United States, » have a residence abroad to return to upon completion of the program in the United States, and » always maintain lawful immigration status while in the United States by keeping a valid passport, not working without authorization, and leaving the United States upon expiration of the visit or securing an extension of permission to stay if needed.»

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