I am doing an exchange semester at a US university this summer. I have a student visa for this however I was hoping to travel for longer than the 30 days allowed by this visa before commencing my studies. I have been told by both the university that I will be attending and by my local US Embassy that I can do this by entering the USA on a visa waiver and then before starting my study crossing into Canada and then returning on my student visa.
However I have been told by US Travel Docs the that this is incorrect and that the only way that I can switch from the visa waiver to the student visa is to return home (NZ) and then fly back which I cannot afford to do.
I've looked at changing my nonimmigrant status but the processing time is supposedly 3 months so that would not work.
I'm seeing a lot of conflicting information here so I'm not sure what to believe. The fact that I've heard one thing from my embassy and also the university (which must deal with this fairly often) but then the opposite from what seems to be the most official source makes me a bit worried.
Is it safe to assume that I'll be able to switch by travelling to Canada or is there way to be sure about this?
Edit: We managed to clarify with the people at US Travel Docs that it is in fact okay to leave on a B2 visa to Canada and then return on the student visa. The requirement to return home was only necessary if a person first enters on a visa waiver.