5 Things You Need to Know About Student Visas

The United States boasts some of the world’s most prestigious universities, so it’s no wonder that so many foreign students dream of coming to America to complete their studies. Though the last several years have seen significant challenges to foreign entry to the United States and to travel, the worst of those issues seem to be behind us. If you are a foreign student considering applying for a student visa, here are the five most important things that you need to know.

  1. There are three different types of U.S. student visas available and you need to apply for the one that is most appropriate to your situation. The three student visas are the F1 visa, which is the most common and requires fulfillment of a minimum course requirement to gain full-time student status; the J1 visa, which is for obtaining practical training not available in your home country; and the M1 visa, which is for attending non-academic or vocational program, and which specifically does not permit paid employment during study.
  2. Not every school in the United States is approved to participate in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). When considering where to apply, take the time to ensure that the school you wish to attend has been approved and is qualified to provide you with the documents that you need in order to apply for a student visa.
  3. You will need to pay fees prior to submitting your visa application as well as after. The first is the SEVIS fee, which must be submitted at least three days prior to submitting your application and which varies depending upon the type of visa being applied for. The second is the Machine-Readable Visa fee.
  4. Completing the U.S. student visa application requires coordination with the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country. You will need to complete the online form DS-160, which will include personal biographic details, passport details, travel plans, points of contact in the United States, and information about your family, security background, and medical health information.
  5. You will be required to attend a visa interview. Arrangements for this can be made online or by phone at the U.S. embassy or consulate. You will need to bring your passport, your signed SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019, photographs in the format requested, and more.

Gaining entry to the United States for your education is a complex process but it represents an investment in your future. For more information and guidance, contact our firm today.