Student Visa Requirements in USA

Everything you need to know about visas in the U.S.

The US Government provides an opportunity to international students to study in the country but as a prerequisite, you’ll have to obtain a student visa first. The visa you need will depend on the type of study you want to pursue in the country.

The U.S. Government offers three different student visa types:

  • F Student Visa: used to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at an English language institute
  • J Exchange Visa: for participation in an exchange program, including high school and university study
  • M Student Visa: for non-academic or vocational study or training in the U.S.

You must first apply and be accepted by a U.S. school or university that is certified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Once accepted, you will receive a Form I-20 from the institution's international student office, which is a paper record of your information in the database called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

Documentation

You will need the following documentation for your visa application:

  • A valid passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U.S. (unless exempt by country specific agreements)
  • Acceptance at a SEVP approved school and your Form I-20
  • Application fee payment for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System
  • Non-immigrant visa application and the Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • One or two photographs in the requested format