How to apply for US Student Visa
If you want to go to the USA for your studies, you must have a student visa. You cannot continue your study in the USA with a work visa or a visitor visa. In this article, we are going to help you to achieve your academic goals by explaining how to apply for US student visa. If you follow the following steps correctly, you’ll note that applying for US visa is not difficult at all.
Step 1: Apply and enroll in SEVP approved school
The first step in gaining US visa is applying for an SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program) approved school. To learn more about educational opportunities and application process visit this page. When you get accepted by SEVP School, you’ll be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System. You are then required to pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. The US school will also give you a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.
It is after this step that you really start the application process. There are few steps in this process, but the order of these steps may vary based on the country. So, it is also a safe option to check the embassy or consulate website of your country.
Step 2: Determine your Visa Type
After you are accepted by the US school, you can start your visa proceedings. Determining your visa category is the first thing you have to do. Although you already know that you are applying for student visa, there are two main categories of student visa: F and M. This category is based on the type of school you are going to attend. High schools, colleges, universities, private elementary schools, seminaries, conservatories and other academic institutes fall under category F whereas vocational, or other recognized nonacademic institutions fall into category M.
Step 3: Online Non-immigrant Visa Application
Next step is completing the online non-immigrant visa application, which is known as , Form DS-160. After you fill this form, you must take a print out of the confirmation page to take to your interview.
When filling this form, you are also required to upload a photo. This photo should meet the requirements explained here.
Step 4: Scheduling an Interview
After completing these steps, you have to schedule an appointment at the US embassy or the consulate in the country of your residence. The waiting period for the interview may vary by your location, season as well as your purpose of visit. You can get a general idea of the time period by looking at this page.
Sometimes you may also have to pay a visa fee before the interview. You can get this information from this page. The method of payment can vary according to different countries. Therefore, you should review the instructions available on the website of the embassy or consulate of your country.
Step 5: Gathering Required Documents
Next step is collecting and preparing necessary documents for the interview. The main documents you will need are,
Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
Application fee payment receipt (If payment was required before the interview)
Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students.
(This is the SEVIS-generated form you obtained in Step 1)
In addition to these documents, you may also need to provide documents that indicate your academic qualifications (diplomas, degrees, transcripts, etc.), your intention to leave the US after the completion of the course and how you are going to cover your expenses.
Step 6: Attend the Interview
Visiting the U.S. Consulate/Embassy on the scheduled date and time is the final step of the process. If the visa is approved, you might have to pay a visa issuance fee (if applicable to your nationality). The officers at the embassy/consulate will inform you how your passport with visa will be returned to you.