US Student Visa Process Explained

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If you want to study in the US and are neither a permanent resident or US citizen, you’ll need to apply for a student visa, generally an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa, in order to get the authorization to live and study in the United States. Even if you plan on taking short courses, you will need a student visa if your courses are for academic credit or will take more than 18 hours per week. The process for applying for a student visa is relatively simple:

1) Consider where you want to study and what you wish to study. Consider schools in the Unites States of America where you would like to attend school. You can find out about eligibility requirements for different programs as well as the application process for different programs by studying the web sites for various schools that interest you.

2) Consider what type of student visa you need to attend the school and program of your choice. Most colleges and universities as well as high schools and language schools require an F-1 visa, which is the student visa for academic study. If you are taking part in a student exchange program, however, you’ll need a student exchange visa. If you want to attend vocational school, you will need to apply for an M-1 visa.

3) Contact the school and begin the admission process. You will need to get an acceptance from the school before you start applying for your student visa. As well, contacting the school first allows you to get in touch with the school’s international student office or with the person who takes care of international students. This person can often help give you tips and can help make the process of applying for a student visa easier.

4) Once the school accepts you, the school will generally send you an I-20 form, which you will need to apply for an F-1 student visa.

5) Follow the instructions to apply for a student visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You will need to apply within the US if you are already in the country. In general, you will need to apply by filing Form I-20A-B (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students) or Form I-20M-N (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students) as well as your Form I-20. You will also need to file Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application) and show evidence of a passport and submit two photos. You must also submit an MRV fee and a SEVIS I-901 fee receipt.

6) Contact the school about applying for employment authorization if you need to work to study in the US. If you’re applying for an F-1 visa, you will generally be able to get authorization to work in the United States while you study. However, you also generally need to prove that you have the financial capabilities to study and live in the United States without becoming a burden on the US government. Your dependents will generally not be able to get authorization work in the United States

7) Make travel plans to the US to start your program. Keep in mind that you will generally be able to enter the US no more than 30 days before the start of your program.