Student Visas 

If you would like to study as a full-time student in the United States, you will generally need a student visa. There are two visa categories for persons wishing to study in the United States. These are known as the F and M visas.

 

F-1 Student Visa

The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited institution. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study at least at the level of a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.

 

M-1 Student Visa

The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs but not the language training.

Proof of Acceptance

Before applying for a visa, all student visa applicants are required to be accepted and approved by their school or program as a full time student. Once accepted, educational institution will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a student visa. Students can apply within 120 days from the start date of I-20 and can travel within 30 days from the start date of I-20.

Note that the school must be approved to accept international students.

English Language

You must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply. This is generally done by academic documents confirming your medium of English and English language tests such as SAT and TOEFL.

Financial Ability

You must provide evidence that you have enough money to pay for:

  • your tuition fees

  • living expenses

Genuine Intentions

You need to provide that you genuinely intend to meet the conditions of your visa and that you will return to your country after your program of study in the United States ends. To decide this, some of the information that the visa office uses include:

  • Your personal circumstance such as academic and employment background, gap years, etc.

  • Strong financial, social, and family ties to your home country

  • Financial and any other documents that can confirm that you have sufficient funds to meet all expenses while you remain in the United States

  • Past visa history

Dependent Visa

Spouses, including same-sex spouses, and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his or her stay require derivative F or M visas. There is no derivative visa for the parents of F or M holders.

Family members who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but wish to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas.