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How to apply for a student visa to study in the US

Posted on March 11, 2020
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F1 Visa USA

According to the purpose of your visit to the US, you can either apply for an immigrant visa or non-immigrant visa. Immigrant visa will let you have a permanent residence in the US. Non-immigrant visa will let you have a stay for a stipulated time in the US.

The non-immigrant visa is suited for those who want to study abroad in the US besides businessmen and specialty workers. Basically, this visa is meant to help you accomplish goals that are time-bound, or purpose bound. A student visa is hence essentially this type of visa, valid for the term of study in the US.

The US government offers basically 3 types of visas:

  • F Student Visa
    This is the type of visa that enables you to:
    • Study English at an English language institute
    • Study at an accredited U.S. college or university
  • J Exchange Visa
    If you are participating in an exchange program this visa is the one to go for. It covers study at high school and university.
  • M Student Visa
    If you have opted for a non-academic or vocational study or training in the US, this is the visa to choose.

The F1 visa is specifically for academic students. It is applicable to you in case you are going to the US to enroll in:

  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • Language training programs
  • High schools, or
  • Other academic institutions

How to enroll in a US university or college?

You must be accepted for enrollment in an established university/college. The institution you are joining should be Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certified. An F1 visa indicates that a US consular officer has approved your eligibility to apply for entry into the US. It, however, does not guarantee that you can enter the USA. This is because, you, the visa applicant, must show the consular officer that:

  • You have strong ties to your country of residence
  • You intend to leave the US after your purpose of stay is done

How to apply for F1 visa:

Before applying, you should have the following documents ready to submit.

  1. The I-20 form
    For non-immigrant students, this is the Certificate of Eligibility. Depending on your stream of study, you may be issued the Form I-20 of the following types:
  • F-1 Student Status – For Academic and Language Students
  • M-1 Student Status – For Vocational Students

Form I-20 should be submitted for yourself and your dependents to apply for a student visa. Only then you can enter the United States and apply for benefits.

  • Valid passport
  • SEVIS fee receipt
  • Birth certificate

Then, you must get a visa application. This can be procured from the US consulate office. You must create a profile and pay your application fee. You will need your receipt number to book an appointment for the visa interview.

Then, you need to fill the application form DS-160. This can be done online. Ensure that you provide correct and accurate information. This is essential because once submitted, you won’t be able to change any information. Keep your DS-160 number to book your appointment.

At this point, you must log in to your profile. The credentials will be the same as the ones you used to pay the visa fee. Choose “Schedule Appointment” from the dashboard to start the appointment scheduling process. You will need to schedule two appointments.

  • One for the Visa Application Center (VAC)
  • One for the visa interview at the Embassy or Consulate

After this, all you need to do is to prepare for the interview for the F1 visa and attend it. Do your best and fulfill your dream to study overseas in the US.

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