The US has many educational institutions, including colleges, universities, private high schools and elementary schools as well as specialty and vocational schools. In fact, some of the schools in the US such as Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, Yale, and many others have an international reputation and attract some of the best students and academics from the world over. If you wish to study at a US school, however, you will need a student visa to have authorization to live and study in the US. There are different US visas for different study situations. For example, if you want to take a short recreational class or course while visiting the US and you will be in the classroom for less than 18 hours per week, you may not need a special visa from US immigration at all; a B visa is usually adequate. If you will be studying at a nonacademic or vocational school, you may need an M visa.
However, the most common type of student visa is the F1 visa. The F1 visa is for all language training as well as for any student who wishes to study at a US high school, university, college, elementary school, seminary, conservatory or other educational or academic facility.
To apply for an F1 visa, you must first be accepted into a US school. Therefore, the first step is often to contact a school and apply for admission. Some schools Ãš especially colleges and universities Ãš have special offices for international students. It is a good idea to contact the personnel in this office right away. They can often offer help with the application process, the F1 visa application process, student services, and even a student visa extension, if you eventually need one.
To apply for a student visa, you will need an I-20 form, which will be sent to you by your school. If you do not receive such a form, contact your US school to request one. Once you have this form, visit the US consulate in your home country with this form. You should do this as soon as you have the form to ensure that you give yourself plenty of time to apply for your student visa. You will only be issued a student visa 120 days before the start of your studies, but it still is a good idea to apply early to ensure that there will be no delays. However, keep this window of time open to ensure that you make travel plans accordingly.