Who requires a student visa?
Persons intending to take courses of study of less than 18 hours a week may do so with a tourist visa; otherwise a student (either an
"M-1" or "F-1" class) visa will be required

What documents will be required?
- A Form I-20 obtained from a U.S. college, school or university.
- You will have to pay a non-refundable application fee. This means that if your visa does not get approved, you will not get your money back.
- An application Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158. Both forms must be completed and signed. Some applicants will also be required to complete and sign Form DS-157.
- A passport valid for at least six months after your proposed date of entry into the United States
- One (1) 2x2 photograph.
- A receipt for visa processing fee.
- A receipt showing that you've paid the new $100 Sevis fee

All applicants should be prepared to provide:
- Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended.
- Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.
- Financial evidence that shows you or your parents who are sponsoring you have sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study.

Time required to issue visa:
Within 3 weeks is an average however this depends on your nationality. Please check the wait time calculator at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/tempvisitors_wait.php

What is the cost of a visa?
Each applicant for a student visa must pay a nonrefundable US$100 application fee. On top of this, there is now a $100 Servis fee required before you can apply for a visa.

How long is the visa valid for?
When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20, and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the U.S. before departure:

- F-1 student - An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
- M-1 student - An additional 30 days to depart the U.S. (Fixed time period, in total not to exceed one year). The 30 days to prepare for departure is permitted as long as the student maintained a full course of study and maintained status. An M student may receive extensions up to three years for the total program.

As an example regarding duration of status, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2005, and you are admitted into the U.S. for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as "D/S"), you may stay in the U.S. as long as you are a full time student. Even if January 1, 2005 passes and your visa expires while in America, you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the U.S. with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one before being able to return to America and resume your studies. A student visa cannot be renewed or re-issued in the United States; it must be done at an Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Other information: 
Under an F-1 student visa, work is generally not permitted

Embassy contact information:
Please contact the nearest embassy of the United States for information on what documentation you may require to enter the USA.

All information on this page has been carefully investigated. However the information is provided without any warranty.