USA Student Visas Explained

By StudyLink

USA Student Visa

As far as studying abroad goes, the United States of America is the most popular destination worldwide, each year attracting more and more foreign students. If you’re hoping to study abroad in the US and grab a slice of the American dream though, you’ll need a USA Student Visa. Whilst this is a vital step in the studying abroad application process, it needn’t be confusing. This article takes you through each step of applying and securing a Student Visa for studying in America.

Applying for a USA Student Visa

The requirements for a US student visa are very specific. In order to be considered for a student visa, you must have accepted a place at an American university, hold enough money to complete the proposed course, be sufficiently prepared for studying in America and intend to leave upon completion of the course. Most of this will be determined during an interview, but certain elements you should research prior to this. Make sure you have enough money in your bank account – find out how much it costs to study in America on StudyCostCompare. You should wait for your acceptance letter from your chosen university before applying for a visa.

Whilst your visa can’t be issued until 120 days or less, prior to your course, your application can begin to be processed before this, so it’s a great idea to apply for your student visa as soon you’ve got all the required documents. This extra-time will let you focus on more interesting parts of studying abroad, like what to pack when studying abroad, sorting out your accommodation and discovering the city you will be studying in.

Almost everybody is required to go for an interview at a US Embassy as part of the student visa application process. Waiting times for interviews can vary, so make sure you apply early to avoid unnecessary delays. The interviews will vary from student to student, so don’t expect to be asked the same questions as somebody else. Ensure you answer all the questions honestly, as failure to do so could result in you not being granted a visa.

To find out more about booking interviews, paying application fees and instructions that are specific to your embassy, visit the US Embassy website.

SEVP and SEVIS

The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is designed to aid the American securities. It’s vital to your application process and you’ll need to have a SEVIS generated I-20 form to apply for your student visa. Your university will enter your information for the I-20 form, which will then be checked by the embassy. You’ll need to pay an application fee, which can vary, although it is usually around $200.

Arriving in the USA with a Student Visa

Just because you hold an American student visa, it doesn’t automatically grant you entry to the country when you arrive. The Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection officials have the ability to stop you entering the country. This isn’t ideal, so make sure you understand what the entry requirements for the USA are and that you do not inadvertently pack restricted goods. The Customs and Border Protection official will need to see your passport and documents to ensure all the details are correct and to grant you access to the country. Providing there is nothing wrong, the officer will permit you to enter the country to start your studies in America. They will give you an Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94), which you’ll need to keep in your passport for the duration of your stay in America.

To get more information about getting a student visa, check out our dedicated advice pages and subscribe to our study abroad blog.

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