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Student Visas to the USA

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Students who want to travel to the USA in order to study need to meet the following visa requirements. Other countries (UK, Canada, etc.) have different requirements which play an important role when deciding where to study English abroad. These student visa requirements can also change from year to year. Here is an overview of student visa requirements for the USA.

USA: Student Visa Requirements

Visa: F-1 (student visa). The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.

Who needs to apply: If your course of study is more than 18 hours a week, you will need a student visa. If you are going to the U.S. primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may be able to do so on a visitor visa.

Waiting time: Three stage process: 1) Obtain interview appointment 2) Take interview 3) Processing

Tip!: Allow six months for the entire process.

Cost: Currently a $100 Visa application processing fee (non-refundable if application turned down)

Extra considerations: Students are also expected to show financial means to support themselves during their stay in the USA. Students are sometimes allowed to work part-time at the school they are attending.

Student Visa Requirements:

  • Acceptance by university or learning institution
  • Knowledge of English language (usually established through TOEFL scores)
  • Proof of financial resources
  • Proof of non-immigrant intent

For more detailed information visit the US State Department's F-1 information page

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