Congratulations on your decision to study abroad in the United States! If you’re planning on studying for more than 18 hours a week, you will be required to apply for a student visa, a crucial step in your application for overseas education.
Types of student visas
- F-1: The most common student visa for students enrolled in courses totaling over 18 hours per week, the F-1 visa is for academic students who plan to study in an accredited institution and includes English language courses.
- M-1: The M-1 visa is appointed to students who will be joining a non-academic course or a vocational training course with an American institution.
- J-1: The J-1 visa is for students who will study in the United States temporarily on an exchange programme.
Applying for a student visa
Once you have been accepted into a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) at an accredited school in the United States, the school will send you the Study and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) document in order to begin your student visa application.
You will need to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee, which your institution may or may not cover, in order to complete your student visa application.
Complete the D-160 application online and pay the associated processing fee.
After completing the application, print the confirmation barcode page for your reference.
Arrange an interview with your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in order to review your student visa application and have fingerprints taken.
Once your application is processed, your passport will be returned with your newly approved student visa by secure post.
Although embassies are only allowed to issue student visas up to 120 days in advance of the course start date or registration date, it is important to apply for your student visa as early as possible. Typical processing times can vary between one week to 90 days, depending on application requirements and additional processing procedures. Embassies or consulates may hold your application until they can release your visa. Additionally, students may not enter the United States more than 30 days ahead of their course start date -- an important date to remember when making travel arrangements.
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