How to apply for Student Visa in the US?

student visa in the US
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How to apply for Student Visa in the US?

With over 1,000,000 international students choosing to improve their academic and life experience in the United States, the United States has the world’s largest international student community. International students make up over 5% of all students enrolled in higher education in the United States, and the number is growing.

Actually, international education in the United States has gone a long way since the mid-1950s, when international student enrollment was barely around 35,000.

Most students pursue to get a student visa in the US, as it offers diverse a variety of programs and universities, top-ranked degrees, well-equipped laboratories, considerable Ph.D. financing, and the opportunity to learn about cultures from all around the world.

In this article, we’re excited to answer all the questions roaming in your mind to get a student visa in the US.

If you are not a US citizen and want to study in the US, you will need to apply for a student visa. Applying for a student visa in the US may take a long time, so we recommend you to start planning ahead of time — at least three to five months before your program begins.

Is it easy to get a Student Visa in the US?

The United States welcomes foreign students who wish to have a student visa in the US. Yet all candidates must be accepted and approved by their school or program before applying for a visa.

Educational institutions will provide each candidate with the relevant permission papers to be submitted when applying for a student visa in the US once they have been accepted.

When applying for a student visa in the US, there are some procedures you have to know. Since the procedures may vary at each US embassy or consulate, it’s recommended to check the guidelines on the embassy or consulate’s website before applying.

Five stages for applying for a student visa in the US

  1. Apply to and be accepted by a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-approved school in the United States (6 to 12 months prior to studying in the US)
  2. Pay the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) fee.
  3. Fill out a US student visa application and include recent photo(s).
  4. Pay the visa application fee.
  5. Schedule and attend a visa interview.


Types of student visas in the US

To legally attend school in the United States, all international applicants — who do not have US citizenship or permanent residency — must first obtain a US student visa. This international student visa allows you to stay in the United States temporarily in order to attend a recognized school, language program, or academic exchange program.

There are three types of student visas in the US:

  • F-1 visa: This visa allows students to study in the United States for high school, college/university (including language programs), and graduate school.
  • M-1 visa: This visa is intended for nonacademic or vocational study in the United States. These programs are typically short-term and career-focused. You could, for example, enroll in a culinary school or a medical training program.
  • J-1 visa is intended for exchange visitors such as study abroad students, scholars, interns, and au pairs.


Read more: Top 12 universities in the US to study psychology in 2023

When should I apply for a student visa in the US?

If you are not a US citizen and want to study in the US, you will need to apply for a student visa. Applying for a student visa in the US can take a long time, so you better start planning ahead of time — at least three to five months before your program begins.

Studying abroad requires a lot of planning. Students should prepare their admissions/application process backward, keeping in mind institution deadlines.

According to university rules, students must take English eligibility tests and have all the essential documentation in order to complete their application so smoothly. However, it is generally recommended that students apply 1-3 months in advance to avoid any last-minute rush.

Candidates who are applying for financial aid, scholarships, or student loans should add a few more months to their timeline because in these cases, the applications might take a longer time.

Worth to mention that student visas (F and M) for new students can be issued up to 120 days before the start date of their program.

How much time will I need to wait to get a visa appointment?

The expected wait time for an interview appointment at the US Embassy or the consulate varies weekly and it is also depending on the current workload and personnel.

The time it takes to get a visa appointment varies also between countries. Depending on the situation, you could get it in three days or three months., in some countries.

The COVID-19 situation has made waiting times more difficult. So, you only make sure to look up the average visa appointment wait times for the embassy or consulate in your area.

If you are seeking to study an online degree, it’s becoming so much more popular. Online degrees are now offered by a variety of universities across the United States, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world, and cover a wide range of educational subjects.

How much time will the whole visa process take?

Usually, a student visa in the US is one of the easiest visas to obtain. In fact, your study permit may be issued immediately following your immigration interview, which is the final step in the application process.

The consular official should notify you whether or not your application was accepted at the end of the interview. Hence, getting a student visa in the US might take an average of 3 days to a few weeks.

student visa in the US

Do I need to go in person to the embassy or consulate?

Well, you will be required to attend an interview at the US consulate or embassy in your country when applying for a student visa in the US.

However, you may be eligible to apply for a student visa in the US without an interview depending on your age or if you are renewing a prior US visa that is still valid or expired less than 12 months ago.

Whether you are willing to study a bachelor’s degree or study a master’s degree, you can find a wide range of online programs in uni-app.

Read more: How to get a bachelor’s degree in medicine?


Interview requirements for student visa in the US

The interview is the final big step in the visa application process. This interview will determine whether you will get a student visa to the US or not.

Make sure to have the following items and information before your interview:

  • Your Passport
  • One photocopy of your visa (this may be required by certain embassies, especially if you were unable to upload your visa photograph to your online visa application)
  • Your DS-160 confirmation page, printed
  • Your I-901 SEVIS fee confirmation page, printed
  • Your receipt for the visa application fee payment (this is only required if you paid the application fee before your interview)
  • Form I-20 for F/M/J students, or Form DS-2019 for J-1 students (You have to bring the original, not a copy!)


What is the visa approval rate?

A student visa in the US needs procedures that are somehow so different from any other visa.

Therefore, it’s difficult to compare the acceptance rate in different countries. The approval rate for a student visa in the US is 85%. According to several surveys, the USA visa is the most requested visa by students all around the world.

Is there a way to speed up the process?

Your school will most likely give you useful information and support during the visa application process, but it will ultimately be up to you to deal with the United States government and consider timing schedules and potential delays while applying for a student visa in the US.

In case you have an urgent travel necessity, you may be eligible for an expedited appointment at the US Embassy. Only after you’ve scheduled a regular appointment you may make an emergency appointment. You can request an expedited appointment by logging into your profile and choosing the “Emergency Appointment” request.

You will have the opportunity to justify the emergency appointment request while going through the request process. The decision of the Consulate will be sent to you through email.

However, applicants are only permitted to submit one expedited appointment request, it is recommended that you complete all of the requirements.

Read more: Is it really hard to study medicine?

The US has been known as the ideal location for higher education and has remained so for a long time. With their exceptional universities that are offering class-apart STEM courses, the American universities are the most desirable institutions for the students who are hoping to get an international degree.

However, in order to study in the US, you must submit a number of documents, including a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a visa.

Getting a student visa in the United States may appear to be a difficult and long process. But now you have a guide to start your first steps towards your path to high education in the United States!

Don’t miss the chance to study in the US, as you will be definitely a better student and better person by expanding your possibilities across continents.

Leaving home to study abroad can be a little bit intimidating in the first year. However, by studying abroad, you will get the chance to be more independent and learn how to do things on your own!

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone” – Wendell Berry


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