VISA & LOAN INFORMATION
In order to study as a full-time student in the United States, you will need a student visa. There are two nonimmigrant visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. These visas are commonly known as the F and M visas. You will be needing the F-1 Student Visa. To apply for an F-1 visa, you will need a Form I-20 from the medical school you will be attending. Once you have the I-20, upon entering the US you will be required to go to border customs to receive your F1-visa and I-94 card.
You may enter in the F-1 visa category provided you meet the following criteria:
You must be enrolled in an "academic" educational program;
Your school must be approved by USCIS;
You must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
You must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
You must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study*;
You must maintain a residence abroad which you have no intention of giving up.
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
*Having your funding in place before getting your F-1 visa is an important requirement, as your school will not issue you an I-20 until you can prove that all the funds for tuition and cost of living are available, usually through a bank statement. However, this requirement is school-specific, so we encourage you to contact your school admissions office for their latest requirements. Be sure you understand the requirements of your school, and that you can meet them, before rejecting other offers of acceptance.
Once your Financial Responsibility document is approved you will be issued an I-20 Document, which will allow you to file for the F-1.
o NOTE: An I-20 Document must be signed by an authorized school official (School
Registrar) once a year to keep the visa valid and to allow entry back into the US from
Canada after all school holidays/miscellaneous trips home.
o NOTE: An I-94 Card (Indicating your first arrival to the US with your F1 visa) will also be
included in your passport. You will be required to surrender this I-94 Card (usually at an
Airport check-in kiosk) if you are to leave North America for any circumstance; ie. Family
trip to India for Winter Break. You will be issued a new I-94 Card once you reenter the US
Visit the US Government ICE website to learn how to navigate the US Immigration System.
Osteopathic medical education, like most higher education in the US, is expensive. It is not uncommon for tuition alone to surpass $40,000 per year, and for students to take on $250,000 in debt over the course of the four-year program. The usual ways in which Canadian DO students pay for their education are through government loans and private loans. Government loans are need-based, while private loans typically require a co-signer. Read up on both to see which one is for you.
The "Big Five" banks in Canada are CIBC, Royal Bank, TD, Scotiabank, and Bank of Montreal (BMO). Each of these banks has a program to provide lines of credit for students undertaking higher education in Canada, and will usually approve Osteopathic education in the US on condition that the line of credit is co-signed by someone. These programs usually grant between $200K and $275K, with interest rates at or close to prime, so you aren't likely to find a much better deal. If you do not qualify for Canadian federal loans, make an appointment with the bank you or your family have a relationship with to discuss a Professional Education Line of Credit.
Below you will find the contact information regarding province-specific government loan requirements.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: www.aved.gov.bc.ca
NEW BRUNSWICK: www.gnb.ca
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: www.en.gov.nl.ca
NOVA SCOTIA: www.ednet.ns.ca
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: www.gov.pe.ca
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES: www.nwtsfa.gov.nt.ca
*If you need further assistance you may contact COMSA at firstname.lastname@example.org.