Traveling and studying abroad is a big step—it takes moving out of your comfort zone which can be a challenge. Nonetheless, this huge step will definitely help you grow and widen your horizons especially if you are starting out in a new country, not to mention, one where there is a wealth of career opportunities through high quality international education.
In the USA, you can expect to not only gain new knowledge, but also learn a new set of skills, and even expand your connections. In fact, a large number of courses and universities are offered in top universities in the US so rest assured you have plenty of options to choose from.
If you are all set in traveling and studying in the United States, then it is time to secure a USA study visa or student visa so you can start your overseas adventure! Remember that this is an essential document to be an eligible student in the US. So, if you’re clueless about how to get one or where to start, Intake is here to help you on how to apply for a study visa in USA and guide all throughout the process.
THREE TYPES OF STUDENT VISAS
1. F-1 VISA: ACADEMIC STUDIES
- The most common type of student visa in the USA.
- Issued to full-time international students attending an academic program or English Language Program at an educational institution in the USA.
*F-1 students should be enrolled in an educational program that promises a degree, diploma, and certificate.
*Institutions approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) school and the US Government are eligible for F-1 visa international students.
- F-1 student visa holders should fulfill the minimum course load requirements to acquire a full-time student status.
- F-1 student visa holders are expected to complete their course of study by the end of the program date stated on their I-20 form or Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status.
*The form will be granted by the educational institution the student has been accepted and enrolled to.
*They are allowed to stay in the USA 60 days after completion of their academic program, unless they applied and are allowed to stay and work for a period of time.
- F-1 student visa holders are allowed to have part-time or on-campus work (less than 20 hours per week).
*Upon completion of the academic program, students are eligible to work on an optional practical training for a year.
2. J-1 VISA: PRACTICAL TRAINING
- A J-1 Visa is eligible for international students who want to be part of a work-and-study-based exchange and visitor program in the USA.
*Accreditation from the Exchange Visitor Program designated by the US State Department is required since programs are sponsored by non-profit and/or educational institutions.
- This type of visa is only issued to international students who need to acquire practical training for employment experience and/or academics not available in their home country to be able to complete their academic program.
*Do note: The training must be related to their program of study.
- There are 16 programs available for J-1 student visa holders.
- Employment provisions for J-1 student visa holders are similar to those of F-1 student visa holders, however, employment should be approved by the exchange visitor program sponsor.
3. M-1 VISA: NON-ACADEMIC/VOCATIONAL STUDIES
- This visa is offered and issued to international students who are aspiring to attend a non-academic or vocational education.
- The educational program for M-1 student visa holders should be at full load and should be specified in their course of study.
- M-1 student visa holders for technical and vocational programs are prohibited from working while studying.
- M-1 student visa holders are required to show evidence of sufficient funds—ensuring that the student is able to pay for their tuition fees and living expenses during their entire stay.
USA STUDY VISA REQUIREMENTS
Although there are different types of study visas with varying requirements in the USA, here are some of the general USA study visa requirements:
- Non-Refundable Application Fee
- Form DS-160 - an online application required for all non-immigrant visa applicants.
- Form DS-157 - only for males aged 16-45.
- Valid Passport - the validity date should be at least 6 months from the date of the applicant’s stay in the USA.
- Photos of the applicant - colored, from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head should be between 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches of the image’s height, taken within the last 6 months with plain white background, neutral expression, and casual clothes.
- I-20 form or Certificate of Eligibility (F-1, M-1, or J-1) - a document issued by the US government which is approved by the educational institution the student applicant has been admitted to.
USA STUDY VISA PROCESS
The application process on how to get a study visa for USA is actually quite simple! International students are only required to:
- Apply for an educational institution in the USA.
- Acquire an I-20 form or Certificate of Eligibility
- Fill out and pay for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) - a database that compile and track information of an international student entering the USA.
- Submit the Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application Form: DS-160 Form
- Schedule and attend the required visa interview to determine if the student is qualified for studying in the USA.
- The applicant must ensure that they have ties to home and intend to come home after completing their course of study in the US.
- The duration of the visa application may vary depending on the applicant’s situation. Nevertheless, most visa applications take only a few days to process and be approved.
- It is also advisable to apply for a student visa at least three months before the student’s intended study date so as to have ample time to process the visa.
USA STUDY VISA FEE
Listed below are the fees* for each requirement:
- Registration Fee for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System = $350
- Application Fee for the for an online non-immigrant visa application (DS-160) = $160
*Prices may change.
Want to know more about getting a student visa in the USA? We’ve got you covered! At Intake, we will answer all your questions to help you get your USA student visa in a jiffy!