All foreigners wanting to study in the United States need a visa. Student visas are a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows holders to stay temporarily and study in this country. B visa holders and people traveling to the United States under a US visa waiver program are not allowed to study in the United States.
Here we will discuss the US student visa types, their duration, restrictions, requirements, costs, the application process, and renewal.
The Application Process For US Student Visa
- You must first get admission from a SEVP Approved school. Then you have to pay for SEVIS I-901.
- At this stage, the institution issues Form I-20 to the applicant. Once you get the Form I-20, you must go to the US Embassy in your home country.
- Complete the Form DS-160. The confirmation page that you will receive at this stage should be brought with you on the day of the interview.
- Prepare the following documents
- Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months longer than the length of your stay in the United States.
- Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Visa payment receipt
- Your academic preparation
- After preparing the documents, you should schedule an interview at the embassy. On the interview day, the consular officer determines whether you are eligible for a US student visa.
Types of US student visa
- F1 Visa: This permit is issued to international students who intend to study at US educational institutions. To obtain this visa, you must first obtain admission from a valid SEVP-approved school. The Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has a complete list of institutions that accept international students. Applicants for the F1 visa must prove that they can afford their expenditure in the United States. Besides, their English proficiency must be acceptable. The validity of the F1 visa depends on the length of your program. In order to extend this visa, you must go to the embassy and follow exactly the process you went through to obtain the visa. Just note that there is no need for a re-interview when renewing your visa. Holders of these visas can work part-time on campus but must obtain a special permit to work outside the university.
- M1 Visa: Students who want to enroll in vocational courses must apply for this visa. That way, they can study full-time in the United States. Holders of M1 visas have limitations compared to F1 visa holders. For example, M-1 visa holders cannot enroll in language courses. While F1 visa holders can transfer at any time, M1 visa holders do not have this advantage. Besides, they can not study part-time. They also cannot work full-time outside of school. To obtain this visa, applicants must first obtain admission from the SEVP institution. On the other hand, they must understand and speak English well. Finally, they must prove that they do not intend to stay in the United States and will return home after completing their studies.
Fortunately, anyone applying for a student visa can bring their family members to the United States. The conditions and validity of these visas largely depend on the conditions of the principal visa holder. Family members include spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the primary visa holders. Dependent visas for student visas include:
- F2 visa: F2 visa applicants can accompany F1 visa holders. These people need to be able to prove that they can afford their expenses. To apply for this visa, an F1 visa applicant who has been admitted by a SEVP-approved university will receive a Form I-20. This form must also be issued to each F2 visa applicant. The cost of applying for this visa is $ 160. Note that the validity period of this visa depends on the validity of the F1 visa. In addition, you should know that visa holders are not allowed to work under any circumstances.
- M2 visa: People who have an M-1 visa can bring their family members to the United States under this visa. The application fee for this visa is also $160. Holders of these visas have some benefits. For example, children holding this visa can study in the United States. Holders of this visa can also enroll in recreational or vocational programs.
The application process for dependent visas
The application process for F2 and M1 visas is similar. Applicants for these visas must go through the following steps:
- The visa applicants must first complete the DS-160. After completing this form, a confirmation page will appear that you must save.
- The cost of applying for both of these visas is $ 160. You must keep the payment receipt and present it as part of your documents.
- Prepare and submit the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Receipts of payments
- Documents showing the F2 and M2 visa applicant’s relationship with the initial visa holder (materials such as birth certificate and marriage certificate)
- Copy of the principal visa
- The applicants must prove that they can cover their expenses while staying in the US.
- Once all the documentation is completed, you should schedule an interview at the embassy. On the interview day, the consular officer will ask you questions and make a final decision on whether to give you a visa based on your answers.
Let’s sum up…
We reviewed the US student visa types, the application process, requirements, fees, and other details. You can also learn about other types of US visas on the Visa Library website.
If you have experience in obtaining a US student visa, share it through the comments section. This way, you can help others make better decisions on applying for a visa.
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