A foreign national who wants to enter the United States often must first get either an immigrant visa for long-term residency or a nonimmigrant visa for short-term travel. To study in the United States, you need a student visa. Whether you require an F visa or an M visa depends on your intended course of study and the kind of school you plan to attend. 

To enter the United States in order to go to


University or college


High School

Private elementary school



Another university with a language-learning program

Other than a language training program, a certified vocational school or other non-academic institution.


The Process to apply for a student visa to the US

Applying for a visa involves numerous processes. Depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, these processes may be done in a different order or in a different way. Please refer to the guidelines posted on the website of the embassy or consulate.

  1. Fill out the online form for a visa. Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application - Find out more about finishing the DS-160. You must adhere to these guidelines in order to attend your interview. Finish the online visa application, and print the confirmation page of the application form. 

  2. Photo - You must upload your photo to the online Form DS-160. The format of your photo must follow the guidelines in the photograph requirements. 

  3.  Interview: With a few listed exceptions, most visa applicants must attend interviews. Any applicant for a visa may be interviewed by consular officials. 



13 or younger

Generally not required

14 - 79

Required (some exceptions for renewals)

80 or older

Generally not required

An appointment should be made for your visa interview at the American embassy or consulate in the nation where you currently reside. You are welcome to plan your interview at a different U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but keep in mind that it can be more challenging to be granted a visa somewhere other than your country of residence. 

You should apply for your visa early because the wait times for interview appointments vary by location, season, and visa category. Review the length of the interview and wait at the place where you plan to apply.

  1. New Students: Up to 120 days prior to the commencement date of a course of study, student (F and M) visas may be given for new students. However, if it is more than 30 days before the start date, you will not be permitted to enter the country on your student visa.

  2. Students who are continuing their studies can apply for student (F and M) visas at any time as long as they are enrolled in a SEVP-approved institution and have registered in SEVIS. Continued students are allowed to enter the country at any time prior to the commencement of classes. 

  3. Assemble and prepare the necessary documents, such as a passport, a nonimmigrant visa application, a receipt for the application fee, and a certificate of nonimmigrant eligibility (F-1) Student Status: Form I-20 or the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Status for Vocational Students: Photo, Transcripts,  diplomas, degrees, or certificates from the institutions you attended before your visa interview.

If you want to study in the US but are not a US citizen, you must apply for a student visa. At least three to five months before the commencement of your studies, you should begin putting together your application for a US student visa. Follow the above-mentioned steps and procedures for a stress-free journey.

Rishika Jain 2 months ago
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