Many students from around the world choose to come to the US to study. Indeed, the US has many internationally famous centers of learning, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and many Ivy League colleges. These schools attract some of the best scholars and students from around the world. The US also has some award-winning and internationally recognized private elementary and high schools.
If you wish to study at a US school and are not a US resident, you will need a visa in order to enter the US and study in the US. To apply for a student visa, you will generally first need to be accepted for enrollment. This means that you must apply at a US school and get an acceptance letter. The good news is that many US schools have international student offices or departments. These can be great resources when you start to apply to study in the US – they can help you apply for the correct visa and complete the correct paperwork. When applying for schooling in the US, it is important to apply with a SEVP certified school. Accredited schools in the US are usually SEVP certified. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) is a program that assists the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies to monitor students in the US on a non-immigrant basis. Schools that are part of the program update information about their non-US students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Once you have selected your school and have applied, you will want to determine what visa category you need to study in the US. In most cases, you will need an F visa to study at a US elementary school, high school, college, university, conservatory, or seminary. If you will need to work while studying in the US, you will also need to apply for employment authorization, as many F visas do not permit you to work in the US. If you will be studying at a nonacademic institution – such as a vocational school – you may need an M visa instead. If you want to take a short course, you may only need a B visa, or a visitor’s visa. However, this is only the case if the course of study is recreational and will take less than 18 hours per week. If your course is for academic credit, you will also need a student visa.