Student Visa USA Requirements
United States of America or USA has long been the country of dreams for many students not only because of the immense career opportunities that exist in this country. The country is also one of the favored countries by the students across the globe because of the highest quality of education that is provided across colleges and universities in this country.
Any individual from any foreign country who wishes to enter the borders of United States of America for any purpose needs to obtain a requisite visa. The visas can be non-immigrant visa if the visitors want to stay temporarily or else they can obtain immigrant visas if the visitors want to seek permanent residence in the country. Similarly, in case any student wishes to pursue the desired course of study in the USA, then the students need to obtain an appropriate student visa depending upon the course of study they wish to choose and the type of school they plan to attend. The various types of student visas include F visa and M Visa.
In case a student wishes to pursue a course at any university or college, any high school, any Seminary, any conservatory, any Private Elementary School, or any other academic institution which can include a course program on language training, the student needs to apply for an F Visa. In case the student wishes to pursue a vocational program at any other recognized non-academic institution, other than a course program on language training, then the student needs to obtain an M Visa.
How to Get Student Visa for USA?
A student visa is a mandatory requirement for any student willing to pursue studies in the USA. However, the procedure to get the student visa for USA needs to be followed stringently in order to obtain the visa. There are a number of steps which needs to be followed; however, the order of steps and the method of completing such a process might vary depending on the US Embassy or the Consulate. The steps in order to get a valid student visa or a non-immigrant visa include:
- The visa application form is available online. The applicant needs to complete the online visa application form.
- The applicant then needs to take a print out of the completed visa application form. The applicant needs to bring this print out of the application form confirmation page for the visa interview.
- The application form (DS-160) requires a photograph to be uploaded in the requisite format as explained on the official visa application page.
- The applicant then needs to schedule an interview. The visa interviews are usually conducted for most of the applicants barring a few exceptions such as
- Applicants below the age of 13 would not require to undergo a visa interview generally
- Applicants between the ages of 14 to 79 usually require undertaking the visa interview except in renewal cases.
- Applicants above the age of 80 generally do not require undergoing visa interviews.
- The visa interviews are usually conducted by consular officers. Applicants are advised to schedule a prior appointment for such visa interview with the US consulate or embassy in the country where the applicant stays. Such visa interviews can also be scheduled at any other US Embassy or Consulate but getting a visa outside the native country of the applicant might be a little difficult to qualify. The waiting schedule while setting up visa interview appointments vary depending on the season, category of visa, the location of the applicant and other reasons. In order to get the visa on time, the applicants require applying for the same well in advance after understanding the visa interview waiting time of that location.
When Should You Apply for Student Visa?
The students obviously need to apply for the student visa prior to planning the travel plans to the foreign country, in this case, USA, in order to undertake the course of study. The process of applying for a student visa until the time the visa is issued; the process is lengthy and involves multiple steps. Thus, the students are advised to start the entire process well in advance.
It is important for the students to understand that no student willing to pursue a course of study in the US can travel with a visitor visa. They require obtaining a valid student visa – either F or M Visa depending on the nature of the study, in order to pursue their desired course of study. The students, further, cannot travel on a Visa Waiver Program to the USA. Though the students cannot undertake a course of study on a visitor visa or a visa waiver program, they can undertake a recreational study or a study which would not be added towards any credit for any issue of academic certificate or degree, while visiting the country as a visitor.
USA Student Visa Application Checklist
Some of the checklists that the students applying for a student visa need to follow include:
- Filling up the Visa Application Form carefully especially while filling the personal details and the details of the course of study
- Paying the requisite Non-Refundable Visa Application Fee prior to the Visa Interview.
- Gather the requisite documents which include:
- Valid USA Passport which should remain valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay within the USA
- Separate Visa Application for any member of the family listed on the passport of the applicant
- Duly filled in Non-Immigrant Visa Application
- Application Fee Payment Receipt
- Uploading the photo in the format mentioned on the visa application page
- Certificate of Eligibility prior to applying for a Non-Immigrant (F-1) Student Status for the students applying for Academic and Language programs or Form I-20 which would be sent by the school where the student wishes to pursue the course they desire.
- Certificate of Eligibility prior to applying for a Non-Immigrant (M-1) Student Status for the students applying for Vocational programs or Form I-20 which would be sent by the school where the student wishes to pursue the course they desire.
Any Additional Documents such as
- Evidence of the student’s academic preparation, such as:
- Transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools you attended; and
- Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
- Evidence of the student’s intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study; and
- Evidence of how the student will pay all educational, living and travel costs
- Preparing well for the Visa Interview and attending the visa Interview at the scheduled time and venue
USA Student Visa Fees
USA has a stringent Visa Policy which needs to be followed and practiced as a mandatory requirement. The visa fees for students willing to pursue a course in USA are USD 160. The applicant further needs to pay a Visa Issuance Fee, in case such a fee is applicable to the nationals of such countries, once the visa application is approved.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Student Visa?
New Student Visas whether F Visa or M Visa can be issued 120 days prior to the start of such a course of study. Though such a visa is issued, the students are not allowed to enter USA more than 30 days prior to the start date of the course.
Student Visas for the continuing students may be issued at any time as long as the student is currently enrolled with a SEVP approved institution or school. Such students can enter US any time before the classes start.