First thing comes first, besides everything else, a visa is the first thing that an international student needs to leave his country to go to another one. However, there are many types of visas, and an international student at the time of the process should be aware of the type that he will need to get to the country where he will study.
The United States of America through U.S. immigration law offers four types of visas to international/foreign students and exchange visitors. Though, a student needs to know the type of visa that he will need to come to the United States. Be sure to read carefully all the requirements and guidance of a scholarship before applying. Depending on the program that a scholarship is given for, a student is entitled to either one of the visas below.
F-1 visa for full-time students at an academic institution such as a college, university, or high school, or who are enrolled in a language training program.
M-1 visa for full-time students at a vocational or other nonacademic institution.
F-3 or M-3 visa for nationals of Canada and Mexico who commute to the United States for full- or part-time study at an academic (F-3) or vocational (M-3) institution.
J-1 visa for participants in an educational or cultural exchange program. This visa category includes college and university students as well as physicians, summer work-travel visitors, visiting professors, research and short-term scholars, teachers, and au pairs.
U.S. Student Visa Requirements & How to Apply
To get into the U.S. for studying, students should obtain either one of the above visas. However, it is important to know the requirements and how to apply for a student visa. Be aware of scams, always double-check if the scholarship comes from a school or university that is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). After the SEVP-approved school accepts your enrollment, you will be registered for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This program tracks and monitors schools, programs, students, exchange visitors, and their dependents throughout the duration of approved participation in the U.S. education system.
Thus, the first thing you need to do as a requirement is to apply or look for schools or universities that are certified by SEVIS. Once you get accepted, you will receive an individual Form I-20, in which all your information has been recorded in the database of SEVIS. You must present the Form I-20 to the consular officer when you attend your visa interview.
Please, visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) here to learn more about SEVIS and fees.
How To Apply
A student should gather all necessary documents in the process of applying for a visa. Please visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country for more information. Broadly, a student who applies for a visa will need the following:
A valid passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements).
Acceptance letter from a SEVP approved school and the Form I-20. See here how & when to get that form.
Application fee payment receipt for the SEVIS, if you are required to pay before your interview.
Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
A photo in the requested format.
Other additional documents may be required such as:
Academic preparation including transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates from schools attended;
Standardized test scores required by your U.S. school;
The English proficiency, most of the time, The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is the world’s most popular high-stakes English language proficiency test for study. (Colleges and universities here in the U.S. require a score of 6.5 in order to get acceptance).
Your ability to pay all educational, living, and travel costs. In this case, a student will need some of the following: bank statements, or proof of admittance to a full scholarship program, or financial proof of a sponsor who responded to pay all the costs on your behalf.
Your intent to depart the United States upon completion of the course of study. In most cases, a roundtrip ticket.
It is very important to review all the instructions about how to apply for a student visa through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website of the country that you are living in.
Do not hesitate to reach out to an EDScholarship advisor for a complete list of documents that you will need for visa processing.
F-1 ABC Steps
Below are some simple steps to be taken for a F-1 Student visa.
Nowadays, everything is done online, to apply for an F-1 student visa, please visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website in your country, then follow all required steps.
Always remember to pay the fee associated with your application, and keep in mind that your application date is the date on which the application fee has been paid. For your information, a new student visa can be issued about 120 days before the program starting date, and you can only enter the U.S. 30 days before your program starting date.
The fee for a visa type F is $160 in U.S. currency. Please review the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country for an update on the fees.
After paying all the fees towards your application, the next important step is to attend your VISA INTERVIEW.
A date has been scheduled after filling out the Form DS-160. A consular officer will interview you to determine whether you are qualified to receive a student visa. You must establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive a visa.
Keek in mind after getting approved for the visa, there are two possible scenarios:
You may need to pay a visa issuance fee (depends on your nationality).
It might take a few days before getting your passport and visa. Please visit the visa processing times to learn more about the waiting period.