USA Student Visa

28 July, 2016

USA Student Visa
A foreigner, who wants to come into the United States of America, should obtain a visa first. For a  temporary stay non immigrant visas and for permanent residence- an immigrant visa. To study in the US the candidate should have a student visa. 

The course of study and the type of school which candidate plans to attend will determine whether an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa is required for the candidate.

To Enter The United States To Attend

You Need The Following Visa Category



University or College


High School


Private Elementary School






Another Academic Institution, including a Language Training Program


Vocational or other Recognized Non Academic Institution, other than a Language Training Program


The Students who intend to study in the US cannot travel on Visa Waiver Program or with Visitor Visas Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or on visitor (B) visas. They can only travel if they have to undertake the frivolous study as a part of a tourist visit using a visitor visa (B). Enrollment for such short study programs credits towards a degree or an academic certificate. Any study (for a short duration) which leads to a U.S. conferred degree or certificate is not permitted on a visitor (B) visa.
Acceptance Of Students At SEVP Approved School:
Before a candidate applies for an F or M student visa to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, he/she should first apply for and get acknowledged by an SEVP approved school. 
When the U.S. school accepts the candidate that he/she  plans to attend, later get registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). An SEVIS I-901 Fee must be paid. The U.S. school shall provide the candidate with a Form I-20 to submit to the counselor officer when the candidate attends a visa interview.
If the applicant’s spouse and/or children wish to live in the United States along with the applicant, they must obtain individual Form I-20s. They do not require paying the SEVIS fee. 

Applying For The Visa:
Following are several steps to apply for a US Student visa:
  • Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160): Candidate must fill this form online and get a printed copy of the confirmation page.
  • Upload your photo while completing the online Form according to the mentioned format.
  • Schedule an Interview with the US embassy/consulate in the nearby area.

If Your Age Is

Then An Interview Is



13 and Younger

Generally not required


Required (some exceptions for renewals)

80 and Older

Generally not required

New Students: 

F-1 and M-1 student visas can be given in advance of 120 days of the applicant’s course start date. The candidate won’t be allowed to enter US in the status of F-1 or M-1 before 30 days before the course starts.

Continuing Students:

Students under this category can renew their visas any time, as long as their student status is maintained and SEVIS records are up to date. Continuing students are allowed to enter the country anytime before their course starts. 

Required Documents: 
  • A valid Passport (for more than one people separate applications are required.
  • DS-160 Confirmation Page.
  • Fee payment receipt for the application.
  • If upload of Photo fails, applicant must bring along his/her photo.
  • School’s confirmation form (Form I-20) of acceptance, for the applicant and spouse.
  • Transcripts, certificates, diplomas or degrees from schools applicant has attended. 
  • Standardized test scores mandatory by the applicant’s U.S. school.
  • Applicant’s intent to depart from the country after the completion of his/her course.
  • Proofs of funds to pay educational, living and travel expenditures.
Crossing the DHS and CBP to enter into the US:
Just an approved F-1 or M-1 visa alone will not permit the applicant to enter the country. Candidate should get clearance from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow the candidate to cross the port-of-entry. Once allowed to pass the port-of-entry CBP officials provide an admission stamp or Form I-94, Arrival/Departure record. 
After the end of applicant’s course, if the applicant fails to depart from the US on time it will result in making the applicant ineligible for any future visas.

Changing the status to another nonimmigrant category: 
An applicant can change his/her status from USCIS while living in the US. This change doesn’t require a new visa. If an applicant can’t stay in the US while USCIS processes the status change request, he/she must apply for a visa at US Consulate/Embassy.

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Tags: students, study

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