Interested in Studying in the United States?
 
Step-By-Step Guide to Applying for a Student Visa

 

STEP 1:

The first step in the process is to apply to and get accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified school/program in the United States! You can visit the website here to search for a SEVP-certified school.  As each educational program/school has its own admission requirements (TOEFL, SAT, ACT, etc.), make sure to take the required preliminary steps in getting accepted to the school of your choice.  Whether your educational goals involve completing an English language program, obtaining a bachelors or masters degree in mathematics, or any other field of study that aligns with your passion, there are plenty of educational programs in the U.S. that can help you accomplish your goals!

STEP 2:

Congratulations! Once accepted to your desired program, the Designated School Officer (DSO) from your particular SEVP-certified school will mail you a Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. The Form I-20 is a proof of record of your information in the SEVIS database. If your dependents (e.g. child, spouse, etc.) will be accompanying you to the United States, each dependent will also need his or her own Form I-20.

STEP 3:

 

After you receive the Form I-20, you will need to pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee online. All F-1 and M-1 students and most J-1 exchange visitors must pay this fee, which supports the administrative expenses of the SEVP and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. To view the payment tutorial and pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee online, you can visit the website www.fmjfee.com or remit payment by Western Union Quick Pay (https://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/wu-instructions).  The I-901 Fee must be paid prior to the visa appointment. If a dependent will be accompanying you, they do not have to pay the SEVIS Fee.

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STEP 4:

You are ready to apply for a student visa at a nearby U.S. Embassy or Consulate! While each Embassy or Consulate may have their own specific requirements, the general process is outlined below:

  • Complete and submit the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/). Print out the Application Form Confirmation Page.

  • Schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You might need to pay for the visa application fee prior to the interview.

  • Once the interview is scheduled, prepare all supporting documentation which will most likely include the DS-160 confirmation page, I-20 Form, application fee payment receipt, valid passport, and passport-style photograph.

  •  Attend your visa interview! The consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa. If your visa application is approved, you should receive your student visa through the mail.

STEP 5:

 

Finally received your student visa? Get your bags packed and your paperwork ready! It is finally time to travel to the United States! For new students, student visas (either F or M) can be issued up to 120 days in advance of the start date for a course of study. However, the student will not be allowed to enter the United States more than 30 days prior to the start date. Therefore, make sure to plan your travel plans accordingly so that you don't encounter any issues when entering the U.S.

*Please note that the information contained above is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult with an immigration attorney for advice specifically tailored to your case.*