Student Acceptance at a SEVP Approved School (F-1) Visa Procedure:
Before you can apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to and be accepted by a SEVP approved school.
- When the U.S. school you plan to attend accepts you, you will be enrolled in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). You must pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee.
- The U.S. school will provide you with a Form I-20 to present to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview. Some countries do not require one (Canada).
New Students – F-1 and M-1 student visas can be issued up to 120 days in advance of your course of study start date but you will not be allowed to enter the United States in F-1 or M-1 status earlier than 30 days before your start date.
Continuing Students – May renew their visas at any time, as long as they have maintained student status and their SEVIS records are current. Continuing students may enter the United States at any time before their classes start.
How to Apply for Study Visa
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply.
- Complete the Online Visa Application online Nonimmigrant Visa Application,Form DS-160
- Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview (if you need one).
- Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Your photo must be in the proper format.
- Schedule an Interview (if you require one) at the USA Embassy/Consulate in the country of your residence.Bottom of Form
- Prepare for Your Interview.
- Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, $160, if you are required to pay it before your interview. When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality.
- Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview.
- Passportvalid 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).
- REQURED DOCUMENTS (depends on your program of study):
- Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1)
- Student Status-For Academic and Language Students,
- Form I-20A-B or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1)
- Student Status for Vocational Students,
- Form I-20M-N– Your school will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20.
- Additional Documentation May Be Required
- Academic preparation:
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
- Immigration: Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study
- Financials: How you will pay all educational, living and travel costs.
- Attend Your Visa Interview (if required):
- During your visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a Study visa.
- Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location.
- After your visa interview, your application may require further administrative processing.
- When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you.
- We cannot guarantee, that you will be issued a visa. It is better not to make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
- For information about employment read up on the USCIS website.
- Students who are outside the United States, and who have not been attending classes for five (5) months or more, should apply for a new student visa to reenter the United States.
- Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.