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Student Visas in the USA

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Visas for International Students in the United States

Depending on your nationality, visa requirements to study in the United States may vary from person to person. If you’ve been accepted to study abroad at a university in the United States, you should check well in advance what you will need to apply for a visa.

Visa Types

There are three difference visas to study in the United States:

  • F-1 Student Visas: for study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at an English language institute.

  • J-1 Exchange Visa: for participation in an exchange program, including high school and university study.

  • M-1 Student Visa: for non-academic or vocational study or training in the United States.

International students must work with two separate U.S. government agencies to obtain a student visa and be allowed entry into the country. The U.S. Department of State is in charge of the initial application process and issues visas. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, on the other hand, is responsible for granting students entry into the country after they have already received their visa.

Therefore, a valid student visa is required to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for admission into the United States. Once in the United States, the institution of higher education is responsible for providing the student with the appropriate official document (Form I-20 or DS-2019) which allows the student to maintain their student status in the United States, even if their visa expires during their studies.

All international students are required to obtain a student visa to study in the United States regardless of their country of origin. Due to time restrictions, you should apply for a study visa well in advance as the process can be lengthy. So, don’t leave it to the last minute!

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Last update: 07 Mar 2019

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