Obtaining a Student Visa in the US

There are many reasons that foreign individuals wish to travel to the United States. The country offers many different opportunities that others sometimes do not. Often times, students in countries around the world wish to seek a higher education within the United States. In order to legally enter the United States as a visitor, one must obtain a visa stating the purpose of their stay. Student visas are available to foreigners who wish to study in the country. This visa allows students to receive the education they want within the U.S. Like any other visa, there is a special process in order to be approved for a student visa.

Types of Student Visas

There are different circumstances in which a foreign student may wish to study in the United States. Because of this, there are two different student visa options. The type a student should apply for varies depending on the school they wish to attend as well as what they plan to study. The two types of student visas are:

  • F Visa: For students who wish to attend a university, college, high school, seminary, conservatory, or private elementary school
  • M Visa: For students who wish to attend a vocational or nonacademic institution

Am I Eligible for a Student Visa?

There is a process in order to apply for a student visa. The first step in doing so and becoming eligible for the visa is applying, and being accepted, to a school that is approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. After they are accepted, the student may apply for either the F or M visa. To do so, they must complete an “I-20” form. This application will go through an embassy or consulate to looked over for approval. An application may also be done online. Once it is submitted, the student must then schedule an interview.

Preparing for the Interview

There are different requirements for a visa interview. Depending on the applicant’s age, there is a chance they do not have to be interviewed. Typically, the consulate does not require interviews for applicants under the age of 13 or over the age of 80. A consular officer makes the decision on whether or not an individual needs to be interviewed for their visa application. If an applicant is interviewed, they must supply certain documents:

  • A passport (must be valid for at least 6 months after the period of stay is over)
  • A nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160)
  • An application fee receipt
  • A photo
  • The certificate of eligibility for an F or M visa
  • Form I-20

An applicant may also be asked to provide academic documents. This may include transcripts, diplomas, degrees, or certificates. Standardized test scores are sometimes also required by the school.

The Interview

During the interview, a consular officer will determine whether or not they believe the applicant should be issued a visa. This requires the applicant to meet certain requirements. An applicant may be asked how they plan to pay for the required expenses (travel, schooling, housing, etc.) as well as their intent to leave the country when their visa expires. If the applicant is approved, they must pay any visa fees and wait for it to arrive.

Contact our Firm

If you are looking to apply for a student visa and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact Sesini Law Group, S.C.today.

John Sesini is an experienced immigration attorney with offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee Wisconsin. If you have any questions regarding immigration law matters, please contact the Sesini Law Group, S.C. and schedule your initial consultation with our firm today.

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