According to the U.S. government, you must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa. The following information is summarized from the official U.S. Department of State website and is intended for informational purposes only*. When you select an EnglishUSA member program, your program will guide you through the visa application process.
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. embassy or consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the embassy or consulate website where you intend to apply.
Apply to an SEVP approved school
Before you can apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an F or M student visa, you must first apply to, and be accepted by a SEVP approved school. Visit the Department of State EducationUSA website to learn about educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate study, opportunities for scholars, admissions, and more.
Complete the Online Visa Application
Learn more about completing the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, or Form DS-160. You must: 1) complete the online visa application, 2) print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview, and upload your photo. Your photo must be in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Schedule an Interview
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. The is a non-refundable visa application fee.
Gather Required Documents
According to the official U.S. State Department website on student visa applications as of May 2013, the following documents are required:
Passport valid for travel to the U. S. - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the U. S. (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.
Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (F-1) Student Status-For Academic and Language Students,
Form I-20A-B or Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant (M-1) Student Status for Vocational Students,
Form I-20M-N – Your school will send you a SEVIS-generated Form I-20 once they have entered your information in the SEVIS database. You and your school official must sign the Form I-20. All students, their spouse and minor children if they intend to reside in the United States with the student, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS). Each person receives an individual Form I-20.
Applicants are advised that additional documents may be required. EnglishUSA recommends that all students visit the U.S. Department of State for current and complete information about applying for a visa to study English in the United States.
*All information published in the EnglishUSA website regarding student visa information is intended for informational purposes only and is subject to change at any time. EnglishUSA is not responsible for changes in visa application policies or procedures, nor for any inaccuracies published on this website. Students are advised to contact the U.S. Department of State and the appropriate Consulate for current student visa application information.