The US Visa Process can be confusing and intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be! Once you have your college acceptance, here’s what you should know.
What is a VISA?
A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa, which is placed in the traveler’s passport, a travel document issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa. See: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html for more information.
Before you can apply for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. Visit the Department of State Education USA website to learn about educational opportunities. Additionally, you can visit the “Study in the States” school search page to search for SEVP-certified schools.
Once you’re accepted by the US school you plan to attend, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The US school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. Again, for a more detailed understanding, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html#overview
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of steps may vary so it is recommended you review the steps directly on the state department website. Generally, the process will include visiting the US Embassy or Consulate and scheduling an interview. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html#overview
Required Documents: For a full list, please visit the website following website. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html#overview
- Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application
- Nonimmigration Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Application fee payment receipt.
- Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students, Form 1-20 or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students, Form I-20.