Study Abroad in the U.S.
Are you thinking about getting a student visa to study in the United States? First of all, congratulations! This is a huge step in your academic journey. We understand that the process of getting a student visa can seem frightening at first, but we are here to guide you through it.
So, what are the requirements for a student visa? Primarily, you need to find out which kind of visa will best suit your needs. For students, there are two options: the F visa and the M visa, depending on your degree’s program. Here we will tell you more about the above-mentioned visas and help you decide which one is the best for you.
- F Visa: This type of visa allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student and is suitable for students who want to attend a university, high school, college, extensive language training program, seminary, conservatory, or another kind of academic institution. After making sure that the institution you choose is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitors Program, Immigration & Customs Enforcement and being accepted by said institution, you will be able to apply for a visa. It is important to start this process as soon as possible, in order to ensure that possible delays will not affect your deadlines.
- M visa: The M visa is recommended for students who want to attend vocational and technical schools, such as mechanical classes, flight school, cosmetology school, and cooking classes. To qualify for this type of visa you must be accepted to an institution, have high English proficiency, be able to finance your education in the United States and have strong ties to your home country, proving that you have a reason to leave the U.S. once your course has finished.
How to apply for a Student Visa?
After your formal approval, you will be required to fill and submit a few forms. First, you will receive an I-20 form, provided by your designated school official, so you can begin your application process. Along with that, you will need to complete a DS-160 form which is requested to be filed by anyone who wants to apply for a temporary U.S. visa, and can be submitted electronically. You will also need to pay for the visa fee, which costs $160, and pay the SEVIS I-901 fee, which costs $350. These will qualify you to schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Tips for the student visa interview:
The interview will take place at the location you selected on the DS-160 form, so make sure you choose the most convenient area for you. On the day of the interview, remember to arrive on time, dress well, be polite, and bring original documents that can confirm your plans to study in the United States.
You should also have evidence that you, or your family, have the means to support you financially during the period of your course, by providing bank statements and proof of income. It is recommended that you ask someone from the bank to write a letter explaining how long the account has been around and the average balance over that period, to give you stronger chances of getting the visa.
The consular agent needs to know about your goals in the United States, so you should be prepared to answer all questions in a calm and honest manner, since they can usually tell when someone is lying. You should also be able to explain in detail why you chose your course, why you chose your school and give specific information, such as the place where you will live, how long you intend to stay and your academic background from your home country. It is important to remain confident during your time with the consular agent, and there is no need to worry, as interviews are usually done quite quickly.
As we are living in a pandemic, the processing times to get a U.S. visa might take longer than usual. To get updates about your country, you should always consult the instructions provided on the embassy or consulate website.
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